When I was at the grocery store the other day, I was watching a small group of starlings sitting on a tower in the distance. I decided to get some pictures. While I was getting my camera out, they all scattered. When I zoomed in, they were in a murmuration and a falcon was chasing them. The murmation is designed to confuse raptors. They move in this tight formation, moving in synch in all these different ways like a cloud, confusing the raptor who cannot lock on to one single bird. This went on for a while. The raptor gave up and the starlings went back to their perch on the tower. It was something to watch! Click on pictures to enlarge.
Hummingbirds seem to be everywhere right now, buzzing around the yard, jostling for nectar. Each year, the amount we see during migration grows. I think this is not only because we just keep planting stuff, but we are seeing the children of birds who have visited in previous years. It’s very exciting! Click on pictures to enlarge.
Yes, they are kind of noisy, but this is one of the things I love about them. They constantly let everyone know what is going on and when the Cooper’s hawk shows up, they bravely taunt him/her giving everyone a chance to dive for cover. They love it when I throw peanuts to them and have recently started bringing the young to the patio to indulge. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Every visit to the Wakarusa Wetlands brought with it a gasp of surprise, a moment of total joy, and a peaceful sigh. On this day, I clearly remember watching a group of Kingbirds chasing a Cooper’s hawk. The Cooper’s was carrying a Kingbird, his little lifeless leg hanging from a talon. I remember being disappointed that I could not focus fast enough to record this, but I also remember feeling empathy for both the Kingbirds chasing the hawk who had killed one of their family and the hawk desperately trying to get away with his food. I am often astonished by the life and death struggles that go on right outside we humans’ doors that so many of us never notice. I also remember this frog and his expression; he seemed curious about me, but like he might be trying to decide if he should jump away. The place at the Wetlands where I took this picture no longer exists.