The starling is a curious bird — in both senses of the word. It is an eager learner, especially of songs, and an energetic explorer of its surroundings. It is also a bit odd. They also evoke questions from human observers, and I’ve found them quite fascinating.
Last week brought the expected and the not so likely in the bird world.
The first snowy owls of the season showed up, right on time. Most years, these birds are here by mid-November. So far, reports are encouraging, and it could be a good year for snowy owls.
It’s uncanny how often a bird shows up soon after someone mentions it to me, and quite often when I simply think of the bird myself. Sometimes I think the birds are sending out brainwaves, subtly invading my consciousness.
Perhaps invasion is too strong a term, because it implies malevolent intent. Nevertheless, it is the word that scientists use to describe what’s going on. The species in question is the red crossbill. Its invasion may be abetted by its close relative, the white-winged crossbill.
Much of the summer, I’ve wondered how many swallows my buildings hosted. Swallows are hard to count, though. They rarely stay still. Instead, they’re aloft or in flight, resting (briefly) or chasing airborne insects.
A peculiar combination of conditions produced an opportunity to count the swallows last week.
The yellow-bellied sapsucker has probably had more influence on the natural world at our place west of Gilby, N.D., than any other bird species. The sapsucker is an unlikely candidate for such a role. It’s a generally inconspicuous bird that’s probably quite often overlooked.
View your ad here! Cost effective targeted advertising. Contextual advertising starting as low as $79/month. This includes targeted ad delivery and search results! Add your business to the Marketplace »