Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Friday, November 25, 2022

It's Dinner Time For The Merlin

I went for a walk down a country road over the weekend without much expectation of what birds I might see. I figured that I would see mostly sparrows this time of the year.
What I did not expect to see was a falcon standing on top of what looks like the remains of a sparrow! I believe there are 40 species of falcons in the world. Here in Connecticut we are fortunate to have 3: The peregrine Falcon which is the biggest one, the American Kestrel which is the smallest, and the Merlin which is similar in size to a kestrel but a little chunkier. 

The Merlin is a swift hunter that swoops down from their perch and grabs smaller birds in a hurry. They are probably the least colorful and have a weaker malar mark than a kestrel and smaller than the crow-sized Peregrine.

I feel sorry for the sparrow but it's a bird eat bird world we live in and if the Merlin had no food then it wouldn't survive!

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Benefits Of Birding In Your Own Neighborhood

One of the most underrated birding resources can be your very own neighborhood. Often, humans have a tendency to look at their surroundings in terms of borders. Birders may disregard trees or other habitat because it is in someone's yard or other private property. They may choose to do their birding only within the confines of a park or other designated area.

 Birds do not have to follow those rules. They can fly to wherever they choose. They have no concept of private versus public property and a trash filled stream might be just as appealing to them as a pristine nature preserve.

The top photo of the trees was taken during a recent walk around my block. They turned out to be a treasure trove of birds that included kinglets and sapsuckers along with several other species! I never would have known that if I hadn't decided to take an eight o'clock walk around the block.

You might have forgotten about that nice brook tucked away in a patch of woods just off the main road.
You may find that birds you tend to ignore because they are too common seem to take on a different light, giving you a new appreciation of them as you stroll along at a snails pace.
You can learn more about the habitat in your area and what type of birds are attracted to it. I found that there was a lot of ornamental fruit-bearing trees and shrubs that were particularly attractive to Northern Mockingbirds. I encountered 6 of them during my walk, which was a surprising number to me. 
It's also a nice way to monitor migrating birds that are coming and going in your area. Often when we talk of migrating birds, we think of species like warblers that head north in the spring. Juncos come from northern New England/Canada and make their way down to Connecticut in the fall.

Some other benefits include:-Saving money on gas, relaxing form of exercise, saving time of having to drive somewhere, takes away the stress of having to decide where to go, learning more about your community surroundings and history, more eco-friendly, and public areas can offer good bird-photo opportunities.  

I do not like the current crazy inflation and fuel prices that has led me to making some changes. Some of those changes  are undesirable and simply a matter of necessity. In other cases, it can lead to opening a new doors with unexpected prizes waiting to be discovered!