In the press release, you can find a link to the Excel file noting the species in trouble, and it is staggering. Think of the species in your part of the world that are regular visitors to your yard, the birds you see at area lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands. Imagine them gone. Birds we regularly see in Kansas on this list include the American white pelican, red-headed woodpecker, common nighthawk, chimney swift, rufous hummingbird, American coot, American avocet, lesser yellowlegs, Franklin’s and Ross’s gulls, common tern, little blue heron, northern harrier, belted kingfisher, orchard oriole, scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak, painted bunting, dickcissel, and the list goes on. The last four years did so much damage. Please support conservation in any way you can.
It makes me sad that every morning for the past couple of weeks I have been reading about more sightings of snowy owls in the lower 48. I am afraid we are going to have another irruption year. The frequency of this is all about climate change, though I have not seen many writing about this, particularly in birding discussions (of course!). I so loved getting to see them when they were in Lawrence in 2012. However, I also learned a great deal about them and what I learned was heartbreaking. They are here because they are starving. They have little experience with humans and are vulnerable to attack, cars, planes, buildings, etc. Because they have so little experience with humans, people are often able to get pretty close to them before they fly away. This adds another layer of stress to a hungry bird who is trying to conserve energy. Please, if you see them, act responsibly. Observe these beautiful birds from a distance. Show some respect. If you see a snowy owl in distress, contact a rehabber who can help and while you are at it, make a donation.
Birding in the National Parks: Snowy Owl Invasion, Round Two
I heard some crows giving someone a hard time on my walk this morning, so I zoomed in with the camera. I was very far away, and there was no accessible way to get a bit closer, but at the bottom of these pictures, there is a long-eared owl. How exciting! The crows gave up and left, but he continued sitting there. Click on pictures to enlarge.
It was wild to see this beauty sitting in a tree in the sun. He didn’t stay long. I think he just wanted to get a little warmth. I think, from the markings, he is a young one. Click on pictures to enlarge.
We have been checking on this nest a few times a week since January. I am very happy to report that it looks like there are two owlets up there. It’s always a bit difficult to tell and it is important not to get too close. I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to be a respectful watcher. Last week, we had an incredibly windy day. When I drove by, the mother was having difficulty staying on the nest and was blown off at one point. Fortunately, the youngsters are old enough to hang on pretty well. I was still really nervous when I went back to check on them several days later. I was afraid the nest would be empty or gone after those winds from hell. I was overjoyed to find the nest intact. There just isn’t much room for mom to stay on the nest right now. 🙂 Click on pictures to enlarge.
We’ve been keeping an eye on this great horned owl nest out west of town. We think she nested here last year, but something happened and the nest was abandoned. We saw her early in the season, but then saw a red-tailed hawk in the nest a bit later in the spring. Hopefully, they will be successful this year. We’ll keep checking in. Click on picture to enlarge.
The pictures are not great, but it was sunrise and the light was not too good. She blended in with the trees so well! Every time she moved, I lost track of her and it took a while to find her again. It was amazing to stand there and watch her moving around in the trees. Click on pictures to enlarge.