Bluebirds, Harriers, and Pantries: Mid November Birding


Several Western Bluebirds are here in the Big Country for the winter. Found the first flock in Buffalo Gap and another at Cedar Gap Farm. For an explanation on the finer points of IDing Western vs. Eastern, visit the Mid-November Gallery.


Lorie captured a couple of action shots of a Northern Harrier hunting for its food at Lake Kirby. How did it know to hunt in the tall reeds? Hawks see the ultraviolet spectrum of light. Rodents leave urine trails as they scamper from one weedy area to another. Urine trails apparently glow like neon lights in the ultraviolet range. Therefore, all a hawk has to do is find the urine trails and wait patiently for the next full-bladdered rodent to hurry down the path.


Other birds stash their food in pantries to be consumed later. I found several impaled insects (like the one above) indicating the Butcher Bird (Loggerhead Shrike) is stocking his pantry for the winter. Fifty-two impaled grasshoppers were discovered in S.E. Callahan County last week. Oh yummy; someone’s having a Thanksgiving feast soon.

We at BCAS hope you have a delicious Thanksgiving, full of family, happy gatherings, and thankful reflections.

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