Bird behavior

by John Briggs on August 4, 2007

in Blog, Weekend Birding

Another week of hazy, hot and humid weather in [tag]Maine[/tag]. The only relief from the heat was a line of severe thunderstorms in the northern part of the state which produced very heavy rain, golfball sized hail and a report of a funnel cloud. Here in [tag]Biddeford[/tag], not a drop of rain fell.

The [tag]birding[/tag] however, was fantastic this morning. Once again, we took an early morning jaunt to Goose Rocks Beach near [tag]Kennebunkport[/tag]. It was a morning to witness the behavior of many types of [tag]birds[/tag].

[tag]Shorebird[/tag] peeps were displaying at each other, at times leading to an all out fight. As they fed on the mud flats, one peep would get a little too close to another. Displaying and being very vocal, it usually ended with one bowing to the dominance of the other. At other times, mid-air fights would break out, the loser being chased out of the area.

Fledged Least Terns dove for fish in the pools of water surrounding the mud flats. An adult Least Tern did not like the idea of a beach walker near his territory and gave him a good dose of guano, in which case the beach walker used a hand full of sand to remove the foul droppings from his leg. To make a long story short, the [tag]bird[/tag] regained his territory very quickly.

There is always some excitement when you go birding, but for my wife and I, it was not a bird that caused a ruckus, it was a dog. A pair of tourists from New York were walking their two very big dogs on the beach and came near Sharon and I as we were sitting in the shade on some rocks. One of the dogs growled, then lunged and bit at me, all the while not being controlled by their owners. Believe me, if I would have not pulled my leg back in time, that dogs teeth would have been deep in my flesh. The dogs owner claimed that the canine was afraid of my camera. Give me a break!

I love dogs, but I will tell you what I think. If you cannot control your dog, leave it at home. What happened this morning could have been serious if I would not have moved so quickly. No thanks to the dogs owner who did nothing to control his pet. I also believe that a dog has no place in the middle of a shorebird habitat. That’s all I have to say, I’m going to bite my tongue before I make all those dog owners out there mad.

Backs to the birds, I have included several [tag]photos[/tag] in this article of some of the bird behavior we seen this morning at GRB. Enjoy!

Backstroke - Semipalmated Plover - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Its Mine - Semipalmated Plover with worm - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Semipalmated Plover with worm - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Semipalmated Plover with worm - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Lesser Yellowlegs in flight - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Peeps fighting and displaying - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Peeps fighting and displaying - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Peeps fighting and displaying - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Peeps fighting and displaying - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Eastern Willet - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Eastern Willet - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Eastern Willet - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Eastern Willet - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Eastern Willet preening - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Eastern Willet preening - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.

Happy birding!

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