Just some commentary, photos and video on avian encounters (real and virtual) over the last week. In addition to the increasing occurrence of bird song and intra-species aggressiveness among males, Spring’s arrival was heralded with my witnessing that lovely Northern Cardinal mating ritual of the male feeding the female. Rumors also abound of Eastern Bluebird and American Robin sightings but I’ve not yet had an opportunity to see if either has returned to “The Acre.” Perhaps this weekend will offer up some time, despite the still Arctic cold that continues to pour into Western New York.
As for more direct encounters, I helped arrange a Birds of Prey program presented by the Physics Department’s Environmental Studies Program last week at Erie Community College (South Campus). Wildlife rehabilitator, naturalist and friend Paul Fehringer, who runs Wild Spirit Education, came by with his volunteers and educational birds to share some wonderful lessons on the Raptors of Western New York. Accompanying the crew were Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks plus Barred and Great Horned Owls who wowed the over 60 students, staff, faculty and community members in attendance. Below are some photos and video from the event.
Last weekend, I stopped by Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna, NY to visit my dear departed Mother (see my avian tribute to her from last year). Upon leaving the Cemetery, I drove by a large flock of American Crows gathered on the lawn, which brought a great deal of personal excitement due to my very high regard for these super-intelligent birds. Smart phones are a god-send when stumbling across our wild friends so I grabbed mine quickly to snap a couple of photos. However, upon lowering the car window, the flock dispersed (they have excellent hearing along with an excellent brain!). So I had to settle for a couple of shots of them in the trees to which they took flight. Afraid they would disperse again, these images were taken through the windshield so are a touch grainy.
Speaking of Corvids, lastly I have to share the video below which has gone viral on the internet of late. Just some additional evidence that we have long under-estimated the intelligence (and wisdom) of our wild relatives. Enjoy your avian encounters and appreciate the wonder of these feathered “dinosaurs.”