Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Divine Update and One Day of Spring

Photographs: Donegal Browne

James O'Brien, of The Origin of the Species Blog, reports that the Divines have not yet begun to brood eggs but they are very very close to doing so.

One concern, James mentioned, is that as we know Eastern Red-tails are very unlikely to actually make contact with the workman in a defensive move, but they may swoop near by and possibly startle the worker and cause a mishap. Something everyone would like to avoid I'm sure. I hope to have a chance to speak with them soon.

Blue skies and temperatures near the 50's. The birds have vocally gone quite mad and there is an influx of species that haven't been seen for awhile.

In fact I've never sighted a Hairy Woodpecker at the feeders here, but there he was. A little Downy sidled up, thought better of it, and waited her turn. But then the thuggie birds showed up. Here came the Starlings and the Grackles strutting their stuff. Gobbling Suet and intimidating the Sparrows.

The Robins have been singing for some days now and there has been a certain amount of jockeying for territory. Therefore when I saw the second Robin landing near the first I figured the guys were going to go into their "guy stuff" over territory.
Notice the higher Robin looking in the opposite direction. Then on a cue I don't know, but lower Robin does, both males began scolding at a high level. I looked in the direction they were scolding and they were a group of foraging Grackles. The Robins were going into guy stuff, but a different kind of guy stuff than I'd originally thought. It's fine to pick on each other but another species doesn't get to do it. Those Grackles were infringing on their turf. Or that's what I was thinking but never assume.

The boys went at it with a vengeance.
Lower Robin takes a closer position to the feeding Grackles.
One Grackle takes off and flies across the street and begins to scold back in the direction he'd just came from. Complaining at the Robins?
Robin keeps going.
First Grackle is joined by another.
Then another, and another, until it 's a flock. I'm very suspicious that that many Grackles are being intimidated by a couple of Robins. I'm betting there is a Cooper's hiding somewhere which they can see and I can't. The scenario is probably nearer to protective grouping of individuals by species for flock protection from a predator rather than turf.
House Finch who is also new to the neighborhood, has an eye peeled but it isn't keeping him from inhaling sunflower seeds at a great rate. Either he's very hungry from traveling and can't help himself, or he's figuring he can out fly whatever it is that's out there. Ah, Spring, can give that little spark of invulnerability.
But it's not really Spring, I just looked outside and huge inch and a half snowflakes have begun to fall.
Donegal Browne

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