Saturday, May 29, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Crows are extremely social birds, and can often be seen in large groups, most of which are family, as the young often will not breed until they are 3 or 4 years old, and help in raising their younger siblings.
With their intelligence, American Crows are adept at solving problems, and with such can often obtain food from the most unlikely sources, even being so astute as to reportedly following other adult species of birds to find their nests in order to raid the nest for eggs or babies, which shows that they are able to rise above simple problem solving skills, and to be able to plan. It has also been said that crows are able to use everyday objects as crude tools, for example if they happen to come across a shellfish such as a muscle they will fly up in the air with it, and drop it onto roadways to crack open the shell. They are also team players and will work together to solve problems, such as working in teams to chase of potential predators such as raptors that may pose a threat to them or their families.
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) feeding on a dead fish
American Crows live plenty long enough to learn these skills of survival as they can live for as long as 16 years in the wild, some reports of these birds living twice as long in captivity have been recorded. Some crows have displayed behaviors such as "collecting", where they will decorate their nests, which both the male and female will build and maintain, with shiny objects that they find.
A definate master at survival, whether is calls home open fields, woodlands, wetlands, or urban environments, this loud mouth of the bird world deserves some respect for its intelligence, its dedication to its family, and its ability to readily adapt and overcome. The American Crow, definately one of my favorite birds, which around my house we refer to them as CAW CAW birds!
Friday, March 5, 2010
That afternoon, I decided the lightign was fairly decent, so I would stop by the beaver pond on the way home to try and get some more shot of the beaver, or perhaps the bald eagle that I had spotted around there recently, if not the eagles, certainly the chances were good to get a shot or two of the Northern Harriers, or one of the three species of Herons that have come to frequent the beaver pond.
Much to my amazement, the pond was pretty much gone. A couple of utility truck and an older green dodge intrepid were parked in the area, being a good boy I went about my business.
the next morning I drove past the pond (or what was a pond 24 hours earlier), and it was bone dry with the exception of a little water running through the natural creek channel. Sitting high and dry was the beaver lodge, and surprisingly enough, there were no herons, no raptors, no deer, fox, beaver, to be seen.
All that was there was teh white box truck with the picture of a backhoe on the side and the green intrepid.
Days later, I learned through a nature photography contact that potentially the city of Clarkville was concerned about flooding, and hired a crew to destroy the beaver dam, and had asked the DNR to trap and move the beaver.
This pond is on the route of the emerging "greenway" path that connects the three cities riverfronts together, and to create a mixed use trail for users to experience the nature, and scenery of the Ohio River Shoreline. What a way to celebrate nature than to tear out one of natures most crucial habitats.
Interestingly enough, if the reports I heard are true and it was done out of flooding concerns, I find that strange, as the pond is located on the river side of a flood wall, in a natural floodplain of the Ohio River, in a very sparsely populated area.
Besides, is it not true that wetlands can absorb and dispense of excess water much faster than regular land?
Of course it is too late to fight the change, after the DNR built an overlook deck, installed a grill and picnic table, and had become a quite busy destination for nature photographers, and bird watchers from all across our area.
Of course we wont stop to mention the increase in species in the area since the beaver pond came about;
Blue Wing Teal
Great Blue Heron
Black-Crowned Night Heron
Eastern Box Turtle
Grey Tree Frog
Northern Water Snake
Common Snapping Turtles
Red-winged Black Birds
Just to start of what has been seen around that pond, but hey, those are just animals after all right?
As true to form for most bird species the males are much more colorful than the females. And in my humble opinion is only seconded by the mandarin duck for its beauty and grace.
But the females, what they lack in style can make up for that in craftiness. If there are no suitable nesting cavities in their area, a female wood duck is not to shy to lay her eggs in the nest of another wood duck, leaving the young to be hatched and raised by another. which is why at places like Muscatatuck it is nothing to see a mother wood duck with as many as 25 ducklings trailing along behind her.
Most of the time, the nest cavities are very close to water, but sometimes they can also be very far away from water as well. And upon hatching, when its time for the young to venture forth into the world, they start their lives by diving out of the nests (which are often high up in the tree) and falling to the ground or water below. ( NAT GEO VIDEO ON YOUTUBE )
When most people think of ducks calling out, they think of the harsh QUACK usually associated with a mallard, but wood ducks have a soft whistle.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
A Male American Kestrel Showing his best colors