We spotted this youngster outside the office. There was an adult with it but it flew and was circling. Is it one of the youngsters from our falcon pair who have been nesting elsewhere in town? It’s definitely a young one.
Yes! This is one of the Downtown youngsters. Too bad the adult flew away before Ann could get a picture.
Last Sunday two crows saved a toddler in Vancouver, BC from running into traffic.
Two crows just saved my toddler. The toddler has always loved crows. She’ll talk to them, watch them out the window etc. She is also a runner. She’ll get an idea into her head and just start running towards traffic. Which is what she did today. pic.twitter.com/djXfCEl8kZ
I usually am in peak helicopter mom mode but today she went from “trying to turn on a water fountain while I sat on a bench” to “running towards traffic” in 1 second flat.
I am not fast so I was chasing after her as she ran towards the road. Suddenly two crows swooped down to the fence and started yelling at her. She stopped, went over to the fence and talked to them. The crows kept up yelling at her and she just stood there, chatting with them.
I caught up, and stood between her and the road, and watched their interaction. After a few minutes, the crows gave me a sharp caw and flew away. Everyone in the playground was like “those crows came over to save your kid.” I made sure to thank them!
It’s almost mid-July yet two peregrine falcons, Ecco and Morela, are pair bonding at the Pitt peregrine nest in a very serious way. On Saturday 11 July they courted twice and touched beaks in a close bond before dawn.
I should have seen him coming. My first hint was when Morela spent five hours roosting at the nest rail on the night of 8-9 July from 9p to 2a. Female peregrines usually don’t roost at the nest outside the breeding season. Here she is on the 8 July 2020 “Night in a Minute” video.
The next morning, Morela and Ecco courted for almost four minutes.
The 10th of July was quiet but they returned before dawn on 11 July, courting for three minutes and touching beaks. Beak-touching is more intimate than merely bowing. These two are hitting it off as a couple.
Less than three hours later, at 8:27a, Morela returned with a full crop and courted with Ecco for another three minutes.
I don’t put a lot of stock in the permanence of Morela’s bond with Ecco since he and Terzo trade places so often. However, it’s intriguing to see that she’s so close to Ecco.
Meanwhile, here’s something to ponder …
Why does Morela have a flipped primary feather?
Female peregrines usually molt their primaries during incubation (April/May) so I was surprised to see one of Morela’s primaries is flipped on her right wing. The feather was normal until the morning of 27 June when Morela returned to the nest rail. She preened and stayed there for five hours as shown in the Day in a Minute video .
So far the flipped feather has stayed in that position for 16 days. If it had flipped due to molting, the new feather would have pushed it out by now. So I wonder, was Morela in an aerial battle on 27 June? Even if we knew the answer, we’ll never know who her adversary was.
(photos and video from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
This week I found two bottlebrushes in Schenley Park.
Eastern bottlebrush grass (Elymus hystrix) is a native perennial bunchgrass that grows in partial shade, often at the edge of forests. This one was exactly where we should expect it, glowing in the sun by the Bridle Trail.
Meanwhile the bottlebrush buckeyes (Aesculus parviflora) by Panther Hollow Lake showed off in a last hurrah. They were spectacular from a distance on 9 July but up close the lowest flowers on each spike were faded and brown. Their show is about to end.
Are you frustrated with squirrels at your bird feeder? Are they getting into squirrel-proof locations?
You’re not alone.
This spring Mark Rober was frustrated that squirrels were getting into his new bird feeder so he bought a better one, and then an even better one, and they still got in. So he decided to build a squirrel obstacle course to see just how agile these critters are. In the process he actually got to know each squirrel. And he made a video.
Watch as the squirrels are foiled and challenged and then …. well, you’ll just have to watch. The video lasts 20 minutes. If you don’t have that much time watch the first 3 minutes. I bet you’ll be hooked. 😉
(photos from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals. Embedded video by Mark Rober)
With COVID-19 raging around the world, we humans feel a little less invincible that we did a few months ago. Despite our own fragility there’s a tiny creature, less than 1mm long, that has survived all five mass extinctions. The tardigrade or water bear is practically indestructible.
Tardigrades have a second nickname — moss piglets — because moss and lichen are their favored habitat. Tardigrades don’t care how cold it is. They live in glacier mice and …
… a lot of harsh locations as shown in the video below.
For such a tiny shorebird, male piping plovers (Charadrius melodus) have an elaborate courtship dance. The best part of it — the “tattoo” — was tweeted last Friday by the Ontario Piping Plover Conservation Program.
You might hear about fancy mating dances done by birds in the tropics. Piping Plovers have one too! Goose stepping (tattooing) is a courtship dance done by the male right before copulation. The female rejects or accepts this dance! ? Video by Plover Lovers pic.twitter.com/0zyKH54fgW
— Ontario Piping Plover Conservation Program (@ontarioplovers) July 3, 2020