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Our Bird Sanctuary
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March 2018
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Calzephyr [userpic]

I got these up on Flickr pretty fast! They took a long time to edit. I took 305 photos and pared them down to the best 34. The flat lighting made it easy to be a little artistic :-) Click the birdie for the full album.

x-posted to birdlovers

Black-capped chickadee

Calzephyr [userpic]

x-posted to birdlovers

It started to snow on Friday. And snow. And snow. And snow. And snow some more. It figured that the weather would turn so severely after some lovely, melty, blue sky days just when I planned to go birdwatching with my friend. She's been enjoying weekend birdwatching trips and I have been so envious of her photographs! With a winter storm warning covering the Southern half of Alberta, it would be too easy to bail, but I felt determined. I spent my youth living farther North than here. Somehow I managed to live, work and play for many years without calling in a snow day or hiding beneath the covers. Adventure doesn't come knocking on your front door, hoping that you will answer, after all!

I went out of my comfort zone this morning and got up at crazy o'clock to go birdwatching in the Weaselhead. Saw lots of birds!

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55nika [userpic]

Изображение 527 мал.jpg
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Calzephyr [userpic]

We have had lots of crows and magpies in our neighbourhood for years, but I swear today was the first time that I actually saw a raven. I was out walking with my friends when we saw some birds dive bombing in the distance. As we walked along and came closer, the birds turned out to be crows and magpies trying to chase off a raven. It was huge, easily about the size of a hawk and it was very non-chalant about being swooped at. I thought the team effort by the crows and magpies was interesting - it was like everyone and their cousin were invited to brawl. There was something on the roof of a nearby building that held the raven's interest and after some back and forth, it disappeared onto the building followed by two magpies.

There is an empty lot full of ground squirrels across from the mall and you can bet they were just as interested in the bird battle as we were. I have not heard so much squeaking before in my life from them! I took a photo, but I was too far away for it to be any good.

Calzephyr [userpic]

So, fortunately, my next update is positive. I spotted a pair of Hungarian or grey partridges under our front window yesterday. I had noticed this pair the other week as they ran across someone else's lawn. As I got off the bus stop I thought there was some garbage or something on the lawn. Nope! It was Mr. and Mrs. Hungarian Patridge. They stayed stone still as I took a crappy cell phone picture. At that moment, my husband pulled up and we went to dinner - when we came back, they were still there, but we scared them going into the house. They ran across the lawn and once inside, my cockatiel had a "What the heck was that?" look on his face. I hope to see them again and get better pictures!

Calzephyr [userpic]

I was going to make a post about all the birds that have returned to the neighbourhood since mid-March but I was so busy with this and that.

Several pairs of crows are back, along with the sparrows and magpies. Last week I saw a tree with easily a dozen magpies. And maybe it was the same week but I saw either a pair of quail or Hungarian partridges run across the neighbour's lawn. They were pretty quick!

I haven't seen a magpie since Thursday though. When I came home from work on Thursday there was a freshly killed one on the front lawn, right by the sidewalk. I had hoped my husband would take care of the little body, but tomorrow I'll probably throw some dirt on him as it's rained and other critters have been at it. Crows were all about our yard on Friday morning.

I happened to look out the window later and for lack of a better word, about seven or eight magpies paid their respects to their fallen comrade. Then they flew across the road to the playing field and jumped and pecked at a lingering pile of snow. I don't know what they expected to find, but it seemed like grief or confusion to me.

I felt rather badly for the magpie. Sometimes magpies and crows get hit by cars while eating roadkill. However it happened didn't seem to leave my birds upset. We do have small raptors in the neighbourhood. Last month I saw a small raptor up by the rec centre. It was too dark to see what kind but he was sitting like a statue on top of a lamppost until a crow started harassing him.

Hopefully my next bird update will be far more positive!

ericrovve [userpic]

Most of the local robins go down to nearer the coast in winter and set up a territory there - as I know from only having a robin in my garden at this time when I lived down there. This one seems to want to keep me company this January and hangs around the feeder on my terrace, picking up what the tits have dropped.

ericrovve [userpic]

Feeders are getting raided and snow is on its way, they warn.

Calzephyr [userpic]

We have some new neighbourhood residents - blue jays! I saw four of them flying overhead last week and prior to that heard their amazing screeching. Usually a blue jay has been a here or there sighting, but it looks like this bunch is sticking around.

One of them was eating something on the deck railing this morning. I don't know what it was - I assume some crud it picked out of the eavestrough. It startled my own bird and he was quite intrigued as it hopped all over the railing and eventually flew away. I have no idea why my pet birds think of the outside birds, but it's pretty exciting to see them :-)

Calzephyr [userpic]

Hi bird friends, I don't have any lovely photos of birds to share, but I do have cool stories to share.

Regretfully our neighbourhood has all the regular birds you would expect in a North American city - sparrows, robins, house finches, magpies and crows. Ducks and Canada geese fly overhead. Occasionally I spot a small hawk or merlin.

I live next to a big playing field and I love looking out the back window and watching the lives of our everyday birds. There is at least one big crow family and two magpie families - maybe they're related because I see them in the field together. A week or so ago a parent crow was in the field with the babies who were foraging and learning to fly. It was precious to watch! Meanwhile the other parent crow was like a gargoyle on the neighbour's rooftop.

The magpie family was farther down the field, but one took flight - and the rooftop crow laid the smackdown on it, eek! It was something to watch. The magpies seem to like our rooftop because I always see them swoop and can hear them rattling in the gutters. I was outside and one of them dropped something - which was thankfully a harmless pine cone stripped of its side :S

Now, we also have a storm pond nearby and I didn't realize until recently that it was a great birding spot. I don't have a great lens for my camera - I wish I had a 200mm to call my own. The storm pond is dressed up as a water feature with a multituse pathway around it. It's popular with cyclists and joggers, but make no mistake, if the wind is blowing the wrong way, it gets pretty smelly!

Anyway, I was up early one Sunday morning and joined the seniors power walking around the storm pond and I was in bird heaven! It was so peaceful and noisy at the same time. There were shrill red winged blackbirds - and their babies. Ducks - and ducklings still! I was really enjoying it all. Then - a heron took off from the middle of the storm pond. Somehow I didn't notice it before until it flew away - and it was so freaking majestic! I was absolutely in awe :)

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