Oh Deer!

Oh dear, distractions abound.  First there’s the kitten-cam which my sister sent me last week that has been running on my computer for the last 4 days. Be warned, it’s addictive. Then there’s the bird feeder, not to mention the paper I’m supposed to be writing for class.

One evening last week, I filled the feeder which I do regularly because it empties within two days.  So it was very much to my surprise when it was empty the next morning.  As far as I am aware, feeder birds and squirrels are diurnal.  So while things are occasionally squirrelly here, I can’t hold the squirrels responsible. However as I was diligently typing away on my paper, I caught sight of something moving the feeder.  Running to the window, I discovered a new suspect!


Three deer stopped in for a bit of a snack.  They were more off-put by my sudden appearance at the window than the thumping on the glass or Rumpelstiltskin behavior that followed.

Sis has taken to calling the feeder “the water cooler”.  I think it’s been christened.  Can’t wait to see who shows up next?  Raccoons?  Bears?  Oh my!

One by Land, Two by Sea?

How many lists should one make?  I  enjoy making lists in general.  I like their ability to track progress. They keep me focused.  So of course, I adore ebird.

My parents have a really lovely set up for backyard birding.    The feeder sits at the edge of the middle garden bed.  Just in the next bed there’s plenty of cover from a small tree and wild rose bush.  The birds frequently sit in both the tree and the rose bramble.  Outlining both beds are rows of large rocks that the Dark-eyed Juncos are especially fond of scrambling around.  Moving away there are trees dotting the landscape in all directions of varying ages most upward of 30 years.  The property line to the west is also provides good cover and to the south we have edge.  So that’s a convoluted way to say there is lots of good cover.

However on the north side of the house it’s quite a different habitat.   Just across the street is both a stream and a pond which compromise a County Park / Wilderness Refuge.  We tend to get mallards, a domestic duck unit, in recent years we’ve had Red-winged Blackbirds, in addition to the anticipated forest birds.  We also see Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets.  About a decade ago, I saw my only true rail, the Virginia Rail creeping along. All visible from the house!

So the question is this:  as I am birding the backyard, do I list species I see/hear concurrently in the stream/pond on the same list or should I create a second list?

Reasons for 2 Lists:

  • Two different habitats
  • Can bird each separately
  • One is public land, the other is private
Reasons to Make 1 List:

  • 2 habitats are separated by 100? feet
  • Can be birding from the same location (within the house)

De-lek-table Turkeys

Today was apparently the day for Turkey.

  • When I arrived at work, there were 8 or 9 turkeys wandering down toward the aviary.
  • At Rockland Lake, there were 14 turkeys (at least!) prowling at the edge of one of the seasonally closed parking lots.

Wild Turkey

Turkey displaying at the Tenafly Nature Center in Tenafly, NJ.

In both cases, they were a collection of males and females.  From what reading I’ve done during the winter males and females don’t flock together…. so seeing them together makes me wonder if turkey breeding season is approaching.  There were definitely males displaying this morning.   Unfortunately I can’t find any information on the Internet regarding when turkeys form leks.  Leks are the breeding system choice for turkeys.  In a lek, males gather together and compete for females.  Imagine a boxing ring of turkeys where they rush at each other and bump chests – that is at least what grouse do and I imagine that turkeys do something similar.  The females select the most fit males from the center.  The favored male entertains all the females.

Lots of birding today!  4 lists for the e-bird today!

Bird Feeder:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Black-capped Chickadee
5 Tufted Titmouse
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Song Sparrow
2 American Goldfinch
9 House Sparrow

1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Red-tailed Hawk
8 Wild Turkey
2 White-breasted Nuthatches

Rockland Lake:
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Gadwall (5)
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Red-tailed Hawk
Turkey Vulture
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Blackback Gull
Downy Woodpecker
American Crow
Tufted Titmouse
Winter Wren
Carolina Wren
Marsh Wren – new!
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow

Congers Lake Memorial Park:
1 Ring-billed Gull
7 Mallard
6 Common Mergansers
1 Red-tailed Hawk
1 Song Sparrow