Before I get into the bird watching story, I want to share our weather report with you. The Weather Wizards are predicting 4-12” of snow for us over night!!!! And it is to remain cold for the next several days! Where was it when we needed it, huh??
OK, about bird watching. Dan and I feed the birds and enjoy watching the birds. In our lobby, I have a list of all the birds that we have seen and identified since we moved here. It is quite a long list. The distressing thing is that we are not seeing nearly as many birds as we use to. I’ve talked with other local bird watchers, and they say the same thing. The wildlife biologist says it is due to declining habitat in our area. I’m sure that has something to do with it, however, we haven’t decreased any habitat on OUR property. If anything, we do our best to plant more trees to entice birds. We have quite a few bird houses out as well.
We saw two birds yesterday that we haven’t seen in a while. First of all, the blue birds are back! We haven’t seen them since the fall. They actually arrived before the tree swallows this year! Must be they want to get the jump on the housing market.
The 2nd bird is one that I haven’t seen since we have lived here! And I am going to be watching for him/her VERY closely. It was just about dark when I noticed this very large bird land in a cherry tree behind our house (in the campground). I knew it wasn’t a raven because it wasn’t the correct shape and it appeared to be even larger than a raven. Since it was about dark, all I could make out was the silhouette. Dan said he thought it was a great horned owl and went to get the binoculars. The bird was still sitting there when he was able to find it (difficult to do with cheap bino’s and being the time of day that it was) and it WAS a great horned owl! He sat there for quite a while and then flew off over the top of our house. We didn’t see him fly over the other side, so Dan went out in the dogs yard to see if he HAD landed on top of the house. While Dan is looking westward at the top of the house, the owl takes flight from behind Dan. I couldn’t tell if he took flight from the one of the 3 large spruce trees that is just outside the fenced in dog yard or if he was sitting on our business sign. The noise startled Dan because it WAS so close.
While it is very exciting to see a bird of prey this close, it is also disturbing because of my little dog. For years, I have been fearful of some large bird trying to take off with her when she is in the dog yard (they have quite a large fenced in area). One summer there was a large hawk that would “follow us” when I was walking Chewy (on a leash), so I can only imagine what she would look like to this big owl. She’d look like a large rabbit.
When it came time to let the dogs out last night, Dan went out with Chewy to protect her and then this morning at 5:30 when she wanted out, I stood out on the frosted deck in my slippers and robe to protect her. I just hope she doesn’t decide she needs out in the middle of the night! It was cold out there!
3 weeks ago