Friday, April 4, 2014

Early Spring Walk

**CAUTION** Content at end of blog may be disturbing for some readers.

Thursday looked to be a nice day starting off with a mild morning, so I planned on getting into work to take a quick walk around the new trails.   Robins were out in abundance, calm in the early morning before normal territorial disputes that would unveil themselves later in the day. 

American Robin
 Almost as soon as I entered the lower field area, I was treated to a great surprise.  Our first of the year Osprey showed itself on a fly over, probably wondering what I was doing.

Osprey- FOY
Birds were all chorusing their songs, practicing after getting rusty over the winter.  I love hearing Song Sparrows trying out their voices for the first time in spring.  It's usually only bits and pieces of their song before getting back into the swing.

Song Sparrow

Another sparrow, the White-throated Sparrow is only a winter resident in this part of Connecticut but they have also begun to practice their songs.  Once they make their way north to breeding territories they will be ready to go. 

White-throated Sparrow
Audio- White-throated Sparrow song
I was also treated to the early morning arising of a Red-tailed Hawk.  This one seemed ready to go and find itself some breakfast.   Red-tailed Hawks seem to be taking advantage of disturbed areas and human activity where rodents are easier to catch.  This is the number one 'huge hawk' seen sitting on light posts along highways. 

Red-tailed Hawk
And now the *CAUTION* part of the post.  Mourning Doves are one of those birds that we all like.  They aren't all that smart but they are really pretty .  They are also one of the birds that doesn't stand a chance with a window that is good for window strikes.  While sitting in my office yesterday, I heard the tell tale thud of a large bird flying into the window.  I went out to investigate and sure enough, there was a morning dove in the ground vegetation that had died.  I decided that I would go get it in a bit, after a quick break.  Shortly there after, I walked by again and saw something I hadn't seen before.  I was grossed out a bit but not really surprised to see a cute little fluffy squirrel eating the dove head off the body.

Gray Squirrel eating a Mourning Dove
I've found dead headless birds before and new something had eaten it off.  I know rodents are advantageous and will get a meal whenever.  A nice brain-packed high caloric skull is a treat that a rodent won't turn up.  I know that there are about 5 or 6 different squirrels that occasionally raid my bird feeders in the courtyard and I'm fairly certain this is a female with babies back at home in her nest.  One less dove for the Peabody collections. 

Close-up of nature