The 440yard Bird Walk
The month of May has been filled with the sounds of nestling and fledgling birds. Listening for the hungry begging of these young birds helps me locate their nest trees, snag hollows or spots of cover on the ground. I find using my ears as important as my eyes in locating birds and nestlings on birding trips. The act of listening, separating out all the sounds you hear and learning to locate birds by sound even before sight adds so much to the experience of birding.
My birding friend, Anthony Morton, and I went for a birding walk through the oak woods on Sauvie Island. "Listen", Anthony said,"I can hear two baby birds begging" Scanning an oak snag I spotted a house wren on a branch, a bright green caterpiller dangling from its beak. A moment later we both saw the wren fly into a hole in the top of the tree. Flying out with a fecal sack it disappeared. Soon another wren arrive with the next green wiggling course for lunch. After several trips back and forth
the male and the female wrens became easily recognizable. I set my spotting scope on the nest hole, hoping for a glimpse of the nestling wrens. The glass of the Swarovski scope is really outstanding for when two nestling wrens poked their heads out of the hole in the oak I felt like I was right there perched in front of them as they looked around mouths agape.
Leaving the wren nest tree I said to Anthony,"Those wrens really made my day". Then two Bullocks Orioles flew over head. Bullocks Orioles, are so brightly colored that no drawing nor photograph in any birding book I have does justice to their intense and thrilling colors. "This is really getting good."
Adding to the show of color we spotted Western Tanagers and many lovely yellow bodied, black capped American Goldfinches.
An Osprey flew by, landed on the rivers edge and walked into the water, A much undersized by comparison Bullocks Oriole landed on a tree branch and then began buzzing the Osprey repeatedly. Obviouly its nest was nearby but we could not spot the nest. Flying back and forth around the Osprey's head the oriole even hit its tail several times. Only when the Oriole began splashing the water with its wings did the Osprey leave.
Time for us to leave as well. Four hours had passed. Walking back I reflected on the many special moments and sights of this birding trip and realized we had not gone more than 440 yards round trip from our vehicle.