Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Open Water and Secret Lives

There is a dam with a spill that creates Trippe Lake. And though it is bitter cold, below that rushing water, and because of it, there is open water below the damn.

And the birds make use of it. It's not just the big geese that swim around like the three above in frigid water, but also the little birds work the area for sustenance.

See the very thin ice near the edges? When the birds first step up they crack through the ice and then their webbed feet so handy for swimming, enable them by their width, to walk on thinner ice than one would think.

The second goose reaches sturdy ice and postures while the first preens the ice crystals off his feathers.

The second approaches the first, head down and touches him with her head.

The head and neck go over her into a kind of warmth sharing goose hug. Look carefully and you'll see three pairs in variations of the goose hug. With the male intertwining his mate and sharing his warmth with her.
And to think that some people find them nothing but a nuisance. These are creatures who mate for life and sometimes fade and die for no other reason than their mate has died before them.

Look. Some of the other geese, in the case of each pair, turn and watch the couples embrace. I wonder why?

When I pulled up to the house, I noticed that someone, no make it two someones had been walking on my roof.

And look at that, there are TWO crows in the tree above the house. Imagine that.

After stowing the car and my things, I looked out the back. And there was a Crow who noticed me immediately but wait, look at the branch underneath him. See the legs. There is the second Crow eating something.

The top Crow is off, cawing. But the second, mostly obscured, continues his meal.
He then makes his way to his previous partner's perch and continues pulling at something he'd carried up with him.

Another bite,

and then he too looks my way and is gone.
Donegal Browne


Karen Anne said...

What's the mechanical item on the roof, or maybe past the roof?

Another swarm of birds used "my" (not mine, suddenly the idea of a human owning a tree seems repulsive) big dense evergreen this morning, but just to alight briefly and then leave, not the repeated loop of settling in, leaving seconds later, coming back, etc. This morning's birds were not the black-colored birds of looping renown, rather smaller birds. I think maybe it is an appealing sheltering tree, being right at the
often windy water's edge.

Donegal Browne said...

That mechanical thing, is an old fashioned television antenna that no one ever took off the roof when cable was put in.

You're right. It sounds to me that the little birds bolted into the evergreen as they had become frightened of something. They then decided the environment was okay, flew out and went about their business. Here when startled the little birds used to take off for species specific refuges when they felt in danger at the feeders. The Juncos zipped to the three back Spruces, the House Finches to the tip tops of trees or the front Spruces, the Mourning Doves to wires or selected crisscrossy branches in the Maples, and the various Sparrow species to the brush pile I created next to the house. But I've begun to notice that since the Cooper's, adult and immature, appeared with their penchent for smashing into the Spruces to attempt to nab them that some of the Juncos have now decided to hang out in the brush pile with the Sparrows.

Karen Anne said...

Ah, one of my guesses was a tv antenna, but it didn't look like anyone I've seen. I lament the antenna on my former house (no cable bills!) now that I'm in an area too windy for one.

Things were relatively harmonious on my deck, where I put bird seed out a week or so ago when it got below freezing, until yesterday when the weather moderated. Then one squirrel decided it was His, All His. Maybe when they were more focused on survival, there wasn't time for that territorial stuff.

The birds did get in there later in the day when the squirrels had left. They've discovered the niger seed, which was ignored for the first few days it was there.

The territorial stuff made me think of the theory about red tailed hawks in Central Park, that they coexist more easily with possibly smaller territories because there is a lot of food. Here the coexistence went with a need to survive by getting food in the cold. In the less driven environment, even with food available in several places, no more Mr Nice Guy on the squirrel's part...