I’m Not Much of a Birdwatcher

I’m not much of a birdwatcher, I mean I do it, and I enjoy it, but I don’t know much of what I am looking at. But I have noticed with winter time the influx of new birds. Some birds are easier to spot than others.

For instance, I saw my first bald eagle of the winter the other day. I was told years ago that the bald eagles arrive from the north just as our turkey buzzards go south, so I always wondered if the two events were linked. Turkey buzzards are large birds, with wing spans of six feet. I read once of a turkey buzzard eating carrion and a bald eagle took an interest. It swooped down several times, telling the buzzard to move along. When it didn’t the eagle became impatient and grabbed it and killed it.

The last few years there seems to be several buzzards that stay near the hollow year round. Of course, these may be black buzzards that I am seeing, a bird we didn’t formerly have around here much. Though not as big as the turkey buzzard, I’ve read that the black buzzard is much more aggressive, even killing new born calves on occasion. As far as I can determine, the turkey buzzard doesn’t kill.

And geese have been flying overhead for quite some time. I heard some just yesterday, though there were more a month ago passing than now. I know the geese are headed south, but that is not the direction I see them going overhead. They more often than not are flying from west to east or east to west. I’m sure they know what they are doing.

Speaking of birds, a couple of days ago I heard our rooster, Russell Crowe, making a racket, so I watched and he gathered up the hens and took them all inside the chicken coop. It was only with all the chickens out of sight did I notice a big hawk with a white chest up in a tree. It swooped down out of the tree, over the chicken yard, passed the barn and into the top of a big tree. A red-tailed hawk, I assume.

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