Friday

[vermont] Birds, birds, birds

I have to get some bird books and start practicing backyard ornithology. We have so many birds. I was considering making some bluebird houses, to attract bluebirds. The bluebird population in America is declining due to House Sparrows (non-native and invasive; also murderous). This isn't a dire situation in Vermont (yet) because we have a lot of open land cultivated for agriculture, which they like. At our house, we have a lot of land and Dollar regularly mows a huge area of it. I was walking around the front yard with a friend, discussing building houses/attracting bluebirds, when a bluebird flew by right in front of our faces. So... nevermind. I'd still like to build houses but apparently there's no rush.

We have a Phoebe that built a nest under our deck as soon as we moved in and has used it to brood every year. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hummingbird use the feeder all the time.

Hummingbirds

A goldfinch has been trying to get into the house for the past two mornings. It tap-tap-taps on the kitchen window. I wave my hands inside, saying, "Stop! You're going to hurt yourself!" Then it sits on the bird feeder bar:

Goldfinch

Sometimes even when Mr. Hummingbird stops by for a drink:

Goldfinch and Hummingbird

I saw this dude strolling through the backyard:

Turkey in the back yard

When we were putting in the garden a couple weeks ago we saw a couple turkeys flying! I think they were gliding by from a higher elevation but it was crazy to see their huge wingspan.

We have a couple hawks that I've consistently seen since this spring. Mostly they slowly circle overhead, in a spiral manner. Occasionally I see a large shadow move across the ground and when I look up, I see a hawk flying kind of low. I don't really know how to identify it but based on it's shape/color, my guess is Red-Shouldered Hawk. Which would be pretty cool, since I don't think there are that many around.

And then this morning, I had to be a little late to work because this was at the base of our our driveway:

Ruffed grouse?

Terrible picture, I know, but I think it's a ruffed grouse. She was squatting down and I couldn't pass. I got out of the car. As soon as I did that, she stood up and a dozen chicks scattered out from underneath. It was akin to when you pick up a rock and bugs scatter in every direction. These tiny, yellow chicks went running into the tall grass on either side of the road. The female ran into the trees. I got back into my car and tried to crawl past. The female came running out of the woods and charged my car like, "COME AT ME, BRO! I'M NOT SCARED OF YOU!" I stopped and turned off the car. 

Here's a video of her before she went back into the woods and called all her chicks. You can see one in the video but eventually they all came out and went to her call.


Dollar was staying home for the day and I heard something behind me at this point, back up at the house. I turned around and saw him on the porch, looking like "What are you doing down there?" I walked back up to tell him and by the time I made it back to the car (and inspected the tall grass around the dirt road), I assumed all the chicks were reunited with their mother. Whew. 

I definitely need to get some birds books. 

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