Saturday, January 22, 2011

Post-flu Car Birding

I'm getting over Round 5 of the 2010-2011 Winter of Nasty Colds. I'm sick of being sick... really. After three days of home-bound fever aches, I had to get out and see what was stirring in the 7 degree air. Brrr. I could've caught a cold if I wasn't careful. Who am I kidding? I've welcomed into my life every strain of virus known to planet earth lately.So here is a quick update. My back yard feeders have been empty of birds. Why you ask? This SHARP-SHINNED HAWK spends nearly every day perched in my backyard, awaiting his next meal.On the plus side, my seed has lasted a very long time! No House Sparrows anywhere. The down side? I was worried about my white-headed WHITE-THROATED SPARROW. I figure that bright head might be like a bullseye for an accipiter. Alas, look who showed up late this afternoon (when there was no sign of the hawk!). Smart sparrow. I'll keep an eye out for him.Anyway, back to the mini-trip. I ventured to Bay Ridge where I was able to literally open my car door and snap a few photos of a BONAPARTE'S GULL. There were two present at the point during my brief visit.From Bay Ridge, I made my way North to Sandy Point State Park, picking up some breakfast along the way. One sad discovery I made was this male CANVASBACK. It had a broken wing, likely the result of an unsuccessful shot from a hunter.I got in contact with the local wildlife rescue, but as of 5pm, the bird was not relocated. Don't get me wrong, hunters as a group do more than most any other outfit, to help these waterfowl. By helping to protect habitat, hunters actually help these ducks maintain healthy populations. But please don't get me started on fishermen and their old line (I know, sometimes line breaks)... I found three dead ducks today as well: a RUDDY and two SCAUP, all with fishing line attached to their beaks. Seriously? Snapped fishing line to the mouth must be a really awful way to die.

If you'd like to do something really simple that will help these birds, just BUY A DUCK STAMP!But I'll finish this post on a high note; with the continuing ICELAND GULL at the Northeastern-most tip of Sandy Point State Park.What a beautiful gull.

Good Birding,
Dan

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