Thursday, February 4, 2010

Small and Simple Birding Discoveries

Some days a slow bird walk along the creek yields an abundance of enjoyable small and simple discoveries.  Today was one of those days. 

Red-winged Blackbirds, all males so far, returned to Avimor on January 26th this year.  Last year, it wasn't until mid-February.  Does that portend anything?

The American Goldfinches are getting more and more yellow each week. I've found a Pine Siskin or two hanging out with the goldfinches.  I wonder if they got left behind by the large Pine Siskin flocks or if they just like to pretend they are goldfinches. 
I am still conducting BirdJam experiments and tracking each species responses to calls.  I'll have a later post on that when I've collected more data, but today I discovered that Pine Siskins are very responsive to their own calls.  I saw them before I played their sound and I wondered what they would do when I played it.  They got quiet at first and then flew by steps directly to me and approached within two feet where they chirped and sang back to me.  Kind of cool to see them so up close without needing optics.  I also made a note today that several species will mob toward the sound of a Marsh Wren call.  The Juncos, Song Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and Black-capped Chickadees came toward me in droves. Interesting!

One of Avimor's Great Horned Owls was perched low in a tree and gave me a bit of of start when it flushed.  It flew to a nearby tree where I got great looks at it.  A pair of Red-tailed Hawks that had been perched on the power pole across the highway also saw the owl flush.  One of the Red-tails dove at the owl a couple of times to let it know it was staking its claim to the voles in the area.

Whenever I see Common Ravens here, they are always flying from the north toward the south.  Hmm...I don't really know why.  The dump is southeast of here.  They could be cruising from the Payette River toward the Boise River.

Conspicuously absent this winter at Avimor have been American Robins and the Cedar Waxwings.  I haven't had a Robin here since last October and I haven't had a Cedar Waxwing since last September.  Last year I had a couple of flocks through the winter.  I have seen both species in good numbers just a couple miles away at the Dry Creek Cemetery.  I'm sure they'll be back at Avimor in spring when the currant bushes are producing that yummy juicy fruit.  Both species have been documented nesting here.

As I write this a female American Kestrel is dive bombing a Cooper's Hawk in the big cottonwood down by the creek I can see out my office window.

How productive was your lunch hour bird walk?!


  1. Slowly the birds are trickling back. Each day we get a few more. I captured the best kestrel yesterday that I have ever photographed. Very lucky indeed.

  2. I don't do a lunch hour but it sounds like yours was great! Sometimes I forget to even eat lunch I am so busy blogging or watching birds!