Friday, July 13, 2012

It's a bird eat bird world (groan).

breast feathers
We watched this morning, with the fascination only biologists have, as an adult Red-tailed Hawk devoured a freshly-caught medium-sized gray passerine.  High in the same tree an adult robin called continuously, with its strident warning note, and several goldfinches chittered nervously.  The hawk ignored these smaller birds but kept a wary eye on the humans watching from inside the building.

secondary feathers from the right wing

A few hours later we stepped outside to look for remains and found only those pictured here.  The pale rufous breast feathers tipped with black and the size of the secondaries are both definitive marks for a young American Robin.

So many hazards out there for a young and inexperienced bird... and an unlucky Friday the 13th it was.

Well, other than the drama we just witnessed this morning, it was rather a quiet week of birding at West Campus.  Earlier in the week I saw a duck fly overhead - which at first I tried to turn into a Black Duck (new for West Campus) - then thought better and called it a female Mallard.  Yesterday Lynn saw a pale bird with slender tapered wings soaring overhead which she narrowed down to possibly a tern.  Without binoculars, she just wasn't certain enough to name it and add it to the list.

What these sightings alert us to, is that - in birding terms - things are moving.  The earliest migratory shorebirds are already moving down the coast from Arctic breeding grounds.  We should keep an eye out for something really different, after all, we're only a mile from the coast as the sandpiper flies.

Birds at West Campus for the week of July 9 to 13, 2012:

Red-tailed Hawk and Turkey Vulture
Herring Gull and Killdeer
Mourning Dove and Rock Pigeon
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay and Fish Crow
American Robin
Gray Catbird and Northern Mockingbird
Song Sparrow and Chipping Sparrow
House Finch and American Goldfinch
European Starling and House Sparrow
Common Grackle and Brown-headed Cowbird
Yellow Warbler
Barn Swallow and House Wren
Cedar Waxwing and Northern Cardinal

twenty six species for this week

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