Sunday, January 16, 2011


Note: Scroll down the right margin to CODE (A-36) Winter Birds" for free videos and free articles on this topic.

I received a call from my daughter in Oregon. She had drove south on I-5 to northern California and explored the Klamath Basin NWR and Tule Lake NWR. Excitedly, she recapped the story of seeing a dozen Bald Eagles in a single tree and several Golden Eagles soaring overhead. In December, the open water freezes and the waterfowl are forced to amass in shrinking water ways. A Pintail Duck flew overhead and a Bald Eagle attacked, knocked the bird into the water and almost nailed it. But the Pintail barely escaped the talons by darting to one side at the last moment. The event occurred directly overhead the birding group.

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The group leader pointed out Tundra Swans, Harrier hawks and took them to a place where over a dozen Great Horned Owls sought cover in nearby cliffs.

Here in NW Ohio, I didn’t have quite the eventful birding adventure as my daughter, but it was peaceful and reassuring. I drove to Wolf Creek County Park in Sandusky County and hiked along its trails which hug the Sandusky River. The deep snow-ski tracks made my hike easier. Two adult Bald Eagles greeted me from a tall Cottonwood tree. Black-capped Chickadees, Blue Jays, Cardinals, White-breasted Nuthatches, a few Robins, Tree Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Juncos inspected me curiously inside the Walnut, Oak, Black Locust, and Maple woods.

Along the Wolf Creek footpaths, deer hoof prints were embedded in the packed snow-ski tracks (SCPD photo right). Two piles of feathers from what seemed to be a blackbird or crow lay in the snow along the path. No fox, coyote, cat, or dog tracks led to or from the kill site. Maybe a Great Horned Owl or hawk swooped down from above upon the unsuspecting bird.

As a boy, I was told that Great Horned Owls seek revenge at night upon crow roosts for the hazing the crows give them during the daylight hours. No, in nature no such intent exists...excuse the anthropomorphism. Human intent or cause and effect doesn't matter much in least one of her creatures earned a warm meal in the cold, frosty night.

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Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. writes about the natural world and promotes converting America's 25,000,000 lawns into wildlife-friendly lawn at a time! Do you have a Website, WebBlog, personal story or project, photos or articles to share on this site about how you created or protected a wildlife-friendly space? Please contact us at the secure Bpath Mail Form. We'd enjoy hearing from you!