Yesterday morning, after sleeping in as usual, I pulled open the blinds to notice a wandering kitty on our patio. Then as I looked up into the trees, I commended to myself, oh that's a big bird. OH!!! that's a cooper's hawk!!!! It was sitting on the limb behind one of the bird feeders preening. I quickly ran for my camera.
After five minutes or so there, he hopped a couple of times and finally came to rest on a limb of a pine tree about 25 feet off the ground, and right next to the trunk. It was a sunny, cold day with considerable wind and I think he found the perfect place for a good rest in the sun. Much to my amazement, he stayed in the pine tree for over four hours!!!! My guess is that he had already had a meal when I first saw him, thus the preening, and then the long rest period. Needless to say, I had no other birds in the yard while he was here.
Finally, he left the yard and the other birds started returning and feeding. Today, they're back in full force. I'm hoping that this cold front is bringing all the winter visitors that normally show up. Thus far, there haven't been very many.
It is very apparent that there is plenty of natural food sources for birds and animals this year. We had a bumper crop of acorns, all the holly trees have tons of berries, the yaupon are covered as well as all the other shrubs that contribute as food sources.
I'm thinking that the abundance of natural foods is a primary factor in the lack of birds at the feeders.
Last week, I also went back up to Blackwater on one of our survey trips. We were joined by the biologist in charge of the red cockaded woodpecker project there. One of our cohorts, Larry, volunteers with her every week on the project also. At any rate, the six of us proceed to engage in a sparrow stomp, of sorts. I had never done such a thing, but was game. The idea is to form a circle around an area where a specific sparrow has been seen and then gradually close the circle. Ideally, you would have enough folks to create a human "wall" around the bird and thus cause it to simply hop up on a bush and survey the surroundings but not have an opening to fly away. Then everyone should have a chance to see the bird in question. Well, six people do not make a human wall!!
I had spotted a small bird near a hammock, and called everyone over. We proceeded to try the stomp and were able to get the bird up where all could see. It was a Sedge Wren which, although not unknown in the forest, is not common.
|Sedge Wren -- photo by Larry Goodman|
Next day, I paid for all the stomping and tromping around. My legs were so sore from all that unevenness! Even Birdlady suffered the same effects.
When we arrived at Hurricane Lake to check on the ducks and other waterfowl, we were treated to a major surprise. I spotted an eagle soaring overhead and shortly he was joined by two others. Then in a few minutes, four more came soaring by!! This is twice that Birdlady and I have seen seven eagles at Hurricane Lake. Believe me, that is not ordinary.
Adventures like these and the surprises are part of the reasons why birding is so enjoyable to me. Besides the fact that the birds themselves are so fascinating and beautiful. If you've never taken the time to look closely at the birds in your area, take a minute to really see them. They are truly marvels.
Y'all take care.