Snowy Day Birds

by John Briggs on February 20, 2009

in Bird Photographs, Birding Videos, Blog

Snowy Pines | Click for larger view

Snowy Pines | Click for larger view

We awoke to another snowfall this morning, bringing our season total to just shy of 70″. Running a little behind compared to this time last year, I am sure we will make it up with a snowstorm predicted for this Sunday.

I bundled up and went out just after daybreak to clean snow from our feeders and fill them with fresh bird seed.

While walking under our maple tree, the birds that were present were spooked by what I thought was my movement. Most of the birds visiting our yard mostly tolerate me as I putter around the yard. Chickadees and Nuthatches usually land in the feeder while I am filling it.

Shrugging it off, I continued to fill the feeders. As I walked back up the hill toward the house, I saw movement in the maple tree. Not 10 feet above where I stood, sat a Red-tailed Hawk. It had no concern what-so-ever with me standing almost directly beneath it. I had no camera, and I thought if I tried to go toward the house I might spook it.

Mourning Dove | Click for larger view

Mourning Dove | Click for larger view

As I hoped that my wife might be looking out the window, I talked to the Hawk. “Mr. Hawk”, I said, “why do you have to come here and scare off the birds on such a cold morning?” The Hawk turned its head and looked at me.

“I know that you are probably hungry, but I love the birds that visit this yard. Maybe you can go on down the road and find a Starling.” The Hawk does a wing stretch, turns for a look towards the cove and flew off, all the while I can hear its mighty wings carrying  it off.

WOW! What a treat to be so close to a Raptor. And what was really exciting was that it did not seem disturbed by my presence. Being that close and hearing those wings as it took off will be a sound that I won’t soon forget.

When I returned back inside to the warmth of our home, Sharon was in the basement tending to the dryer and had no idea what had happened outside. I told her of my encounter and we came back upstairs so I could show her where the Hawk had been. Looking out the picture window, I pointed to where a Mourning Dove was perched… the exact same spot where the Hawk had been not five minutes before.

Red-breasted Nuthatch | Click for larger view

Red-breasted Nuthatch | Click for larger view

Interacting with nature is such a treat for me. When birds do not flee because of my presence, or land so close that I could touch them, it brings a smile to my face. It’s like a mutual trust between me and the birds.

I once had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird land on the rim of my glasses while I was filling a feeder with nectar. I immediately froze, thinking that I might spook the little bird. The Hummingbird then flew to the cover of the feeder and then back to my glasses. He was wanting me to get the feeder filled, which I did while he sat there. I moved ever so slowly, replaced the top and hung the feeder back up. It then flew to the feeder and had a long drink.

There are so many stories to tell, but I would like to hear from you. What is your most memorable moment with a bird or birds? You can either post about it on your site and leave a link in our comments, or drop us a comment about your experience.

As promised yesterday, I have another video. This clip shows a White-breasted Nuthatch working its way up a tree.

 

Dimension: 520×420 | Video bit rate: 1000Kbps | File Size: 16.1mb
Playback: Click Play Button | Broadband Connection Recommended
Streaming Video of White-breasted Nuthatch | ©2009 birdingmaine.com

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Today, I joined the North American Bird Phenology Program (NABPP). You can read more about it over at John Trapps’ site Birds Etcetera. Thanks for the info John!

 Happy birding!

 

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