Blog Birding #78
by Nate Swick
Julie Zickefoose kicks off Bird Love week at 10,000 Birds. Go check it out!:
It’s clear that birds copulate, procreate, and promote their genes with alacrity. But love? Do birds feel love? Can they? To explore this question, it’s probably best to first define love. Love includes elements of need, but primarily those of affection. It’s an attachment to another being that inspires deep longing and desire to be together. It’s easy to observe this attachment behavior in parrots, especially pets. A succession of budgies and one venerable Chestnut-fronted Macaw (Charlie) have sought me out for caresses, allopreening and kisses over the years.
Laura Erickson offers some thoughts on the personalization of herons:
One of the fascinating things about the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s heron nest chat room has been seeing people’s tendency to look at individuals--human and animal--and jump to conclusions about what is going on in their minds and hearts. This is more focused than simple anthropomorphism. Just as we identify with characters in movies and on TV, and with people we encounter in real life, we can’t help but identify with these birds as we watch their every move up close and personal, and we can’t help but assume that we share some of their motivations.
Don Freiday muses on the games naturalists play, such as crab-flipping:
Yesterday at low tide we walked from Norbury's Landing about a mile north along the bay, finding many upside down but still alive crabs. Many of these had broken or injured tails, as you might expect, since the tail is key in helping them right themselves after being tumbled. Gulls preyed on some, and we found a few with their blue blood pooling in the shell, while others lay dead and surrounded by pieces of gills and other innards picked away by the scavengers.
Leading up to the Biggest Week in American Birding, Kenn Kaufman has been updating readers with regular migration forecasts at Birding the Crane Creek:
As predicted earlier, winds were out of the south from Wednesday morning through Friday afternoon, with a stronger flow developing by Thursday night, and these conditions brought in many migrants, especially on Thursday and Friday. The most conspicuous arrivals were Yellow-rumped Warblers, now present by the dozens in every woodlot close to Lake Erie, but many White-throated Sparrows came in also, and lesser numbers of Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Palm Warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, House Wrens, and others.
Dave Dolan at North American Birding reports from the front lines of one of the hottest birds in North America right now, a potential first Tropical Mockingbird:
At about 6:50 this morning I got a text saying that it was in fact two hours drive. I then got a text saying that he saw the mockingbird easily but that he had not seen the vireo despite it being seen by others. I wanted verification that it was the Tropical Mockingbird, and should I make the effort to go. He said yes on both counts and I took off as soon as I was finished with my last client. My phone said it would take over two and a half hours, but I made it in one hour and forty five minutes! I got to Sabine Woods, which is right on the Texas Louisiana border, and there must have been 40 cars lined up and down the street. I walked into the sanctuary and got on the bird in about 5 minutes and then it took off.