Dec 11 2007

Rush Hour

Published by at 2:47 pm under Bird Behavior,Migration

Rush hour (photo by Kate)I am not a morning person, but I want to be, so I get up an hour before I need to, drink a mug of coffee, and I wait to wake up. 

Sometimes - even in cold weather - I sit on the front porch and watch the birds go by.  Their rush hour happens overhead.

In winter the first to fly over are the crows, northeast to southwest.  This morning the first flock numbered more than 300 and passed by before dawn.  Crow flocks continue at mid-altitude throughout bird rush hour.

The cardinals and song sparrows wake up next and exchange a few contact calls.  No flocking for them.  They just want to make sure their friends made it through the night.

Then mourning doves wake up and zoom by in small, fast groups. 

Next come the starlings and robins.  The starlings roost at the Birmingham Bridge and fan out in all directions at dawn, moving fast just above the rooftops.   The robins roost near the Bloomfield Bridge and fly in loose flocks at high altitude. 

Normally the birds manage to avoid congestion by picking different altitudes but this morning it was foggy.  A couple of starling flocks and robins had to divert to avoid the crows.  I could hear the robins commenting about it.  "Watch out there," they seemed to be saying. 

And by then I was awake.  Time to join the human rush hour.  (That's the Parkway East pictured above via my cell phone.)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Rush Hour”

  1. Daveon 16 Dec 2007 at 9:53 pm

    No matter what time I get up, and regardless of the weather, I find I just can’t start my day without at least half an hour out on the porch. It’s fascinating to watch and listen to the changes in bird activity not only by the minute but day by day throughout the year.

  2. Mark Bowerson 19 Dec 2007 at 8:01 am

    I usually am up earlier than I have to be too. Maybe because our house is in a valley, I don’t notice fly overs that much. My porch birding usually is limited to warmer weather.

    Often in the winter, there is a Mockingbird hanging out in the vicinity of our yard. At this time of year they seem to have a special call – it is kind of a harsh chip.

    Glad you have this blog site – another opportunity to read your great writing.

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