Tuesday, November 29

Birds of a Feather

Birds have been on my mind recently. I have been noticing more and more around the yard and while driving - not that they haven't always been there but for some reason I have been hyper aware of them lately.

The starling population has seemingly exploded and there are huge flocks of them everywhere. They go from grass to tree to antenna tower in a huge wave of flight - a solid moving wall of formation, expanding and contracting and changing shape. Hundred and hundreds of them.

In total, there is said to be over 200 million of them in North America, first being introduced by Eugene Schieffelin, who tried to introduce every bird species mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare to North America in 1890. It is also said that Starlings are among the worst nuisance species in North America due to their over population, but i can not help but stare at those waves.

Another bird that seems to be popping up in my field of vision is some sort of heron. I want to say that it is a blue heron, but I mostly see them while driving so a prolonged look is not possible. They seem to love the side of the road where water collects after a storm and I love how they just stand and observe, so stately and regal.

A new visitor to my backyard feeder had me breaking out the bird identification book the other day. A Northern Mockingbird was hanging out on the evergreen bushes under my kitchen window. I have never seen one before, but according to Cornell, they are a year round resident in most of the 50 states.

We are still having some hawk sightings but i know the chickens are safe under the poultry netting. And I doubt that any hawk could carry away one of my robust ladies. They are all packing on the winter weight. I recently purchased them a 'flock block' at Tractor Supply - a nice treat to keep them occupied since they are spending more time inside the coop. Advertised as a 'Whole Grain Enrichment Supplement', it is designed to encourage natural pecking instincts to help reduce cannibalism. Well, we all want to avoid cannibalism, so, indoor activity or cannibal reducing device, I think I made a good purchase. They love it and have managed to peck away half of it so far. I think I will be purchasing a few more to get us through the winter months.

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