Friday, April 17, 2009


Even though spring migration has not kicked into high gear yet up here on the "hill", there is still plenty of bird activity to observe. Here are some highlights of the past week.

I found a pair of Long-eared Owls not far from my home in early March. I was out one evening doing some owling when I stopped at an area that looked like it might have some potential. I was standing in the dark, in a very quiet and desolate area, imitating the call of a long-eared when suddenly there was a loud crack about 30 feet above my head. It scared the hell out of me at first and when I looked up into the starlit night I could make out the silhouette of an owl circling above me. It gave me another wing clap and then flew into some nearby conifers. The bird started calling and then some other vocalizations started. It became apparent that there was another bird in the trees. I remembered reading that long-eared owls only give wing claps when they are defending a territory. I stopped by again the next night a dusk and watched one of the owls come out and hunt over a nearby field. I've stopped back quite a few times since then and I took the above picture early in the week at dusk. Not the best shot of one of the owls going out to hunt. Hopefully some better ones are to come.

A Fox Sparrow showed up at the feeders on the 12th. Nice to see some kind of migration going on.

Down at the Ravens nest things are progressing nicely.

There are actually four nestlings now and man are they hungry. The one that is not visible is quite a bit smaller than the others as it was hatched last. I like rooting for the underdog so I hope it makes it. The above picture was taken on 4/11.

This picture was taken on 4/15. Incredible how fast they are increasing in size. The adult birds are constantly in motion as they are hustling to find food to feed them.

I spotted this Ruffed Grouse on the state land near my house. It was feeding near some garbage that some inconsiderate dirt bag had dumped on the side of the road (unfortunately this is an all too common occurrence). When I took a look at the grouse I noticed there was a thin metal wire sticking out from it's neck. Then I noticed the small transmitter around it's neck and realized it was one of the grouse involved in the NYSDEC research project.

I stopped down at the Raven nest on 4/16 and was actually able to get a picture of one of the adults at the nest with the young.

This nest has been a great opportunity to watch these birds develop. It is situated so that one can actually see down into the nest instead of having to look up from the ground and only imagine what is going on.

No comments: