Birdwatchers like to keep lists! Please enjoy Ken Witkowski’s 2018 Fall sightings.
Ken lives on the westside watershed forest.
Valerie Josephson lives on the east side and sees fewer species but offers some “Observations”.
My backyard has a stream and small wetland and four bird houses. Three years ago a pair of Carolina Wrens nested in the bird house over the stream. About 5” long, they have a loud, melodic call (cheery-cherry-cheery. For weeks there was little activity and then the feeding began. Dad would zoom up to the bird house, hand a morsel off to Mom and tear away to look for more. There was a problem, however, in the person of my cat, Rocket. A gentle soul, he specializes in rodents but Dad didn’t know that. He would spend too much time dive bombing the cat and running it out of the yard. That wasn’t good as it was taking away time that he could be searching for bugs. I soon learned to let Rocket out the front door as he would then follow his morning route south. One day as a friend and I were sitting by the stream, I heard Mom and Dad shrieking, and was privileged to see a very small bird leap from the bird box and flap his wings with frantic energy. He headed into the wetland, made a brief stop on my shed and flew into the woods, Mom and Dad in pursuit. That was a moment! V.J.
Two years later, a pair of House Wrens nested in the box over the stream. Dad didn’t seem to be bothered by Rocket. He just went about his business of raising the young. I missed the first flight but perhaps next year? V.J.
Our biggest woodpecker is 16” tall with a black body and bright red patch on its head. Each spring one appears in my backyard for a day or two and starts hammering away at a huge, old, hollow tree. This “drumming” lasts about 3 seconds and is an announcement that he is looking for a mate. All woodpeckers use trees as their “sounding board”. V.J.
Eastern King Bird vs. the Crows
This summer while walking my dog, I saw a crow harassing a small black bird around the second rock island on Beach 1. Moving closer, it became clear that the Eastern King Bird (7”) was giving his all to drive away a crow (17”). In fact, there were two crows trying to get at the nest. King Birds are feisty little guys, and he kept attacking the crow after it had set down on a rock. Eventually, the crow took off and left the scene. V.J.
Teaching Junior How to Peck!
A red bellied woodpecker has a swath of bright red on its head and a blush of pink on the breast. They are very common on the lake in summer. From my deck, I could see that a Mom was trying to teach her young one how to look for hide seeds. She picked out seeds from my feeder, flew to a nearby tree in the yard that has wide spaces in the bark. She slowly put the seeds into a crevice and stepped back so Junior could peck it out himself. Junior clearly wasn’t getting it and stood there shrieking at her, as if to say, “FEED ME”. Despite several attempts to teach, she flew off, followed closely by her young ‘un, still shrieking. V.J.
While walking the dog up Lake Shore North in late summer, there was a noisy squabble in the trees above. Two Northern Flickers were chasing each other around, darting in and out of the branches and yelling at each other. Flickers are a beginning birders joy, as they bear a very visible white patch on their rump, a large black patch and vivid brown spots on its breast. Given the time of year, I think they were teenagers enjoying their carefree days before the long haul south for winter.
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