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« January 2006 | | June 2006 »

February 27, 2006

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill cranes can be seen in large numbers here in the fields and marshes along the Columbia River this winter. Soon, however, they will be leaving as spring approaches. The honking sounds of a flock of Canada Geese flying overhead is a sound that many people typically associate with the mystery and magic of wild nature. The indescribable bugling, croaking sound of a flock of Sandhill Cranes reverburates even deeper for me. Their passage overhead always causes every activity to stop as we hurry outside to catch a glimpse. Their dancing displays amongst each other are graceful and inspiring. Oh, to be able to leap into the air with so little effort! The most I can accomplish is a gravity bound hopping twirl while waving my outstreched arms. Let me fly, just one time, with you neck outstreched, red headed, black billed following the curve of the evening sky.

Speaking of spring, the Red Breasted Sapsuckers have returned. The satellite television dish on our roof is their favorite drum in the early hours. Hammering stoutly on the metal dish the sapsucker's announces his availabilty to every dog, cat, late sleeping human and potential sapsucker mates in the area. Rufus hummingbirds are due to arrive on March 14-15th. Time to clean the feeders and have them ready for their hungry arrival from their warmer wintering grounds

February 13, 2006

The Northern Flickers Are Announcing Spring

The nighttime temperatures are in the low 20's F. and daytime in the 40's F. Still cold for the Northwest, but combined with the lengthening days, the early flowers of Spring have begun blooming.
The loud Kekeke calls and short bursts of drumming of the Northern Flickers are reverberating through the forest around our house. Their breeding season has begun as they establish territory and announce themselves. They can be found in nearly any area with trees but require open areas as well. Eating insects and some fruits and berries they are commonly seen in city yards poking in the lawn. They nest in old trees with cavities for their nest site. My best photographs of flickers have been taken in a tree growing in a curb strip in the heart of Portland. Young flickers poking their heads out of a hole in a tree and begging for food is a sight to be seen. Flickers are one of my favorite birds for watching courtship displays and territorial defense behaviors. The next time you see a flicker pause and watch. You may see interesting displays like head swinging, wings being flicked open and birds charging one another. If you are lucky enough to find a nest site return periodically throughout the coming Spring to watch the young develop and fledge.

February 01, 2006

Klamath Basin Winter Wings Festival

The premier winter birding event here in the Northwest is the Klamath Basin Oregon Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls, Oregon Feb 16 to 19th. The Klamath Basin lies on the Pacific Flyway and is the winter home for over 100 species of birds. You can see migrating flocks of 1000's of birds and many wintering raptors. For 25 years the festival was known as the Bald Eagle Conference, just lately being renamed the winter Wings festival. There are more wintering Bald Eagles here than any where else in the United States outside of Alaska! In addition to winter birding opportunities the festival includes a Volcanic Legacy Scenic tour, the Klamath Tribes Culture and Heritage Department storytelling and a wildlife art show. More information at www.winterwingsfest.org 1-800-445-6728. If you can not attend that weekend anytime of the month is a wonderfultime for an amazing winter birding experience at the Klamath Basin area.


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