Some of our high-flyers!

Baldwin's Birds


Well, our birds all seem to be on the move, or in the process of doing so, as they either return to our part of the world, or are just using it as a transit stop, utilizing whatever Mother Nature cares to provide for them. Such an example is just along the road from us, where a significant dip in a field fills up with water to form quite a deep pond at this time of the year, and the Canada geese take full advantage of it. Being still quite grassy, they have lots of space to just squat, stand – many on just one leg – and preen, and those that prefer the water can just indulge themselves too.

There gets to be quite a gathering of them, with opportunities to watch them approach in their small flights, and then position themselves for landings into wind for maximum lift, as they let-down onto the water or the grass. Watching that final flair of their wings, as they actually touch-down, is quite fascinating and a real joy to see, especially the water landings when their feet are extended in a forward position and contact the water first, giving them maximum braking and creating quite a “bow-wave” as they finally settle on the water.

Canada Geese concentrating

The other morning, when returning from a weekly breakfast meeting, I had to pass by  this particular resting spot, but, not having my camera with me, had to pass them by and fetch my camera from home. On my return, I was able to watch all their activity for a while. I also got to watch a Turkey Vulture as it glided past the ridge of trees, just beyond where the geese  were turning and coming in to land. A Turkey Vulture, of course, isn’t a threat to the geese as it only seeks dead “carion” for its sustenance, not “live” food.

Turkey Vulture in flight

Talking of which, on returning home, and just having finished stocking my feeders, a hawk, probably a Coopers Hawk, made a low slow pass over our front yard. No doubt he was looking for some of my “live” bird visitors, such as  Rock Pigeons or Mourning Doves and the like! I noticed that, as it flew across the road, the Crows were making quite a noisy racket, warning everyone of their presence! What else are they useful for!? Unfortunately, these selfsame birds will raid the nests of other birds at this time of the year, so are not entirely innocent in their own activities when in the neighborhood.

On a brighter note, my wife and I had a Bluebird pay a very brief visit to our backyard on the 22nd of March, which was a real surprise. We haven’t seen any others yet. Maybe you too are seeing different birds show up unexpectedly. Keep your eyes peeled and you might be surprised at what you see. Stay safe and well.

Cheers, John Baldwin


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