Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Mysterious Massacre at Woodman's or Where Did All Those Feathers Come From?

This Week's Red-tailed Hawk Mystery-- I'd gone to a grocery store named Woodman's, a box store, flat roof, in Janesville, a nearby reasonably sized town, a few days ago.

When going round the back to get to my car, having come out the wrong door, I discovered hundreds of feathers lying on the ground. Pigeon? The light was bad, so trust me, there were far more feathers than one can see from the photograph.

It looked to me that the roof had to be a long term favorite Red-tail dining area and the feathers just wafted off in the breeze...

and collected in the grass, in the lee of the wall,

under the bushes, behind the gas meter...I mean everywhere.

This feather looks like one from a Blue Bar Pigeon,

but some of these might possibly be from a gull.

This is the view on the other side of the building from the parking lot area where I found the feathers. A view from height with open green space could be had from the roof. And if you look far back to the left of the STOP sign there is a tall antenna of some description.

The issues.

1. Where did all the pigeons (possibly also gulls?) come from? There are very very few pigeons in this area of Wisconsin. Though gulls do frequent parking lots at certain times of year.

2. Where's the Red-tail?

Well today, while going down the main drag into Janesville, (About a quarter mile from Woodman's Grocery) suddenly three cars ahead of me, a mature Red-tail came across the six lanes of traffic, just barely above their roofs and then curved up steeply to perch on a traffic light. (And NO, I didn't get a photo. I had to keep driving or get run over. Drat!) That low flight with the last minute ascension is just the kind of move an RTH will make when hoping that prey in a spot that’s been hunted before, won't notice that they've arrived.

Well I madly went up to the next turn, the Red-tail's road being One Way, and of course the wrong way that I needed it to be, zoomed through the Kmart parking lot and got back to the intersection-- no Red-tail. Sigh. And as it was almost dark, little hope of finding her today. But this coming week? I'm hoping not only to find her but also where ever it is that the mysterious Flight of pigeons or Colony of gulls are hiding out.

(Note the terms of venery, I haven't forgotten.)

Come to think of it, I’ve seen diddly for Red-tails for a couple of weeks now. I wonder why? Another question that’s answer needs to me looked into.

Donegal Browne

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