Monday, January 25, 2010

Wet, wet, wet, wet

This morning it is wet.  The road is wet, the field is wet, the birds are wet and my feet are wet.  While it is a minor annoyance, the water has made for an interesting morning of birds.  First, two mourning doves (Zenaida macroura named for the wife of French Prince and ornithologist Charles Lucien Jules Laurent Bonaparte, Princess Zanaide as well as their uncommonly long "macro" tail  "oura") found themselves trapped in the weathering area (an area enclosed by a mesh net meant to keep birds out where we tether our trained birds during the day).  Not a good place for "raptor food" to be trapped.  Before I could get the doors open, they found their way to freedom.  I suppose they were looking for seeds flushed out by the rain.  Or they were really depressed and contemplating ending it all.  The former is much more likely.

I also saw one of my favorite bird phenomena.  A large flock of red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius = belonging to a flock phoenicus = dull scarlet color) and boat-tailed grackles (Quiscalis major) were feeding in the pond that was once our flying field.  Perhaps pond is the wrong word as the deepest spot is probably 3 inches deep, but puddle doesn't have the same impact.  As the flock moved across the field in search of food, it folded over itself from back to front.  It looked like a wave breaking in the surf.  Birds in the rear flew over the rest of the flock to land in the front.  Such a fluid motion from hundreds of individual birds was incredible.  Now I need a video camera as well.  


  1. That is a fantastic phenomena.

    Avian equivalent of lateral lines on a fish - seems like I should know if there is an official name for that in ornithology.

  2. By the way, MODO's make for very very cute squishy babies, one of the squishiest baby birds I've encountered.