Thursday, March 13, 2008

Signs of Spring: Bird Citing Summary

We’ve had interesting bird citings in the last week so I feel like blogging them.

I believe it was Tuesday March 4th that we were doing our homeschooling at the kitchen table. Whilst I was reading from the teacher’s manual of our language arts program my ten year old excitedly told me to look up. A Robin and an Eastern Bluebird were perched on the top of the swing set. It was the first time this year we’ve seen either bird.

Sunday March 9th the kids and I were driving home. We pulled off a busy main road onto a wooded road. A fresh and gory road kill opossum was in the road in front of me. When I got very close, a Red-tailed Hawk landed on it. I jammed on my brakes and stopped. I nearly hit the thing. I put my hazard lights on and we watched it. The opossum was too heavy for the hawk to lift up. Then a car came down the road (speeding and never slowing down for the hawk), and then hawk flew to a nearby tree. Just then a second hawk came to watch over the road kill from the tree. Then cars started coming up behind us and coming down the other side of the road. We gave up our watching and went home.

Tuesday March 11th we were driving past that spot again. I spotted a Turkey Vulture sitting about fifteen feet in from the road, in a field. It was eating the last remains of a bloody road kill. This must be the last of the carcass of the opossum. On the next swing by the spot, I told the kids about it and slowed down and they saw it. The feathers were very black. I hoped it would fly so the kids could see the large wingspan but it did not.

Today while out and about we drove down some highways. Numerous times we saw large flocks of American Robins searching for worms in on the wet, grassy ground next to the highway. These robins must be migrating north and stopped along the way to fill their tanks.

It was 44 degrees today. The tons of rain we have received melted nearly all the snow. The wetness has melted the upper parts of the ground, so it is soggy and muddy if you walk on the grass. It is still frozen underneath. I am hoping winter is nearly over, meaning not just the date but I hope no more snow will come.

It is still pretty quiet; there is not much birdsong around here yet. Still not a peep from the peepers that live across the street. Our peepers are gray tree frogs. I know this for sure as my neighbor had one living in their gas grill (!) so she saw it up close and personal frequently and she identified it using a nature guide.

I love the sound of the peepers at night. I wish I could record that sound and listen to it all year long. I heard a commercial on the radio last week for the tourism department of Barbados. They used the sounds of the tree frogs to tempt we consumers into booking a trip to Barbados so we could fall asleep to the sound of the tree frogs. I don’t need to go there or pay money to enjoy the lovely sounds right here in our neighborhood. I am grateful for those peepers, can you tell?

The peepers are at the pond next to my mother-in-law’s vacation home in Cape Cod. One night lots of them covered the sliding glass door. It was surreal. Instead of seeing the tree frog exhibit at the museum, they were right there on the slider. They are so tiny, about a half an inch at most.

Anyhow, I know when I hear the peepers that spring is really here. So I am waiting for the news of spring’s arrival from the peepers. I’ll let you know when they give me the good news.

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