Thursday, January 02, 2014


 12:34:03 pm
One might think upon viewing this photograph that Squirrel the Cat might just be the aggressor in the situation.  

To the contrary...

Silver the African Grey Parrot has just bombed in from the other side of the house, flew into the laundry room, landed a couple of inches from Squirrel with his feathers at an aggressive angle, and yodeled like a Basinji dog. 

 Squirrel who had been intermittently napping, minding his own business, and waiting for some birds to appear at the feeder, jerks awake, glares and realizing he's been "had", but also realizing that I'm there, touches his nose to the parrot's beak in a cat greeting...

12:34:12 pm  ...and settles back down to watch for birds. Note Silver's feathers have now begun to lay down again.  He finds that ruffed feathers and an open beak  tend to be  a very effective kitty deterrent.
Silver gives me the "What?  I-have-everything-under-control look."  A couple of House Sparrows make a quick trip to the feeder and then blaze back to the sparrow pile.

Ah yes, a Raptor Culprit is very likely out there again and has been for some days.

Some of the signs...

Lately the number of sparrows on a non-raptor day range from 50 to 100. (Remember these are the Mean Sparrows, who have run everyone else off at the feeders on this particular side of the house....well, except the Culprit.) This day there is around 25, all glued to their twigs.  Also note the sparrow on the apex of the pile, looking away.

Unfortunately I missed the shot but previous to leaping from the Sparrow Pile to the birdbath this squirrel had been keeping the sparrows company in the Sparrow Pile.  I've never seen a squirrel in there before.  
After a few moments Squirrel then leapt  off the bowl and bolted for the pine tree which he climbed in a nano-second.  At first I thought it was a sure sign of a Red-tail being the current culprit, but then realized this might be a semi-clueless squirrel who didn't realize that a Sharpie or Cooper's is unlikely to actually nab him.

In the meantime, Silver decided on a bath.  Never having bathed in a glass vessel before he seemed fascinated by getting low in the water and peering through the glass at the same time.  Bath finished I took the hair dryer to him so he wouldn't catch pneumonia, put him on his perch and went upstairs for a few minutes to scan the trees for our raptor friend.   

When I came down he wasn't where I had left him.

My my, where is he now?

Let's talk parrot expressions.  This is the expression where Silver realizes he's been busted.  But in a matter of seconds....he decides to go on the offensive.

(Sorry folks blogger is acting up again...I'll be back when it clears up!  DRAT!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I don’t know the details of the eagle-watching restrictions; but they seem to derive from an antiquated last-century misunderstanding of the social behaviors bald eagles.

We had the same problem here, where in the 1980s the Ohio Division of Wildlife, in concurrence with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, made pronouncements that no one would be allowed to hike within a quarter-mile (or some such giant distance) of an active BE nest. Farmers would be allowed to plow or harvest, but not stop or get off the tractor.

This was from some earlier “study,” as I understand it, where some biologist investigated the distance at which nesting BEs became disturbed when humans approached a nest from a great distance. This work, as I understand it, was done in very remote norther forests, in wild Minnesota or Canad, some time ago, when eagles were still being shot and poisoned.

That perspective takes into account nothing of authentic, easily-seen Bald Eagle behaviors in the 21st century, as at the site you’ve tried observe.

Contrary to the antiquated and no longer applicable BE literature, modern Bald Eagles are extremely social (congregating in winter in massive, localize aggregations), and moreover, simply pay little or no attention now to nearby humans, whether in cars, or walking around.

Last spring, during Fellowship Hour after church, one of the kids in my congregation (of humans, not Bald Eagles) rather incongruously said that there was a big eagle sitting in a tree next to the church parking lot. Every one heed and hawed at the imperious kid’s pronouncement, until someone looked. Sure enough, a big white-headed Bald Eagle was sitting out there.

A number of people said we needed to stay indoors, and just carefully “peak” at the bird through the windows, so as to not alarm it. I, being the raptor expert, said, “No, let’s get all the kids and walk out there and see this great bird. She’ll just sit up there and watch us in all our Sunday finery.”

And that’s exactly what happened. Twenty-five people stood under the tree and took pictures for 10 or 15 minutes, before the eagle decided, on her own, to fly a few blocks north back to Lake Erie, here in Huron, Ohio.

Let everyone get as close the eagles as they can. Encourage them to take pictures, and marvel at our National Symbol. Nothing finer (nor safer, for people or eagles). These are not your grandfather’s Bald Eagles.

–John Blakeman,
Raptor Biologist