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Bird Langauge, Aug 4

posted Aug 6, 2018, 10:40 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Aug 6, 2018, 11:38 AM ]
Here are some notes from our bird language sit on Saturday, Aug. 4, at the Minnesota River Valley Wildlife Refuge. You may remember from last month that while we didn’t see or hear a Cooper's Hawk in the sit area, there were indications one may have been hanging around. Today a begging juvenile Cooper's Hawk was at the center of songbird drama. Our sit area included the upper part of the hillside trail, close to the Visitor's Center. The begging Cooper’s Hawk was audible from many parts of the sit area. Indigo Buntings were sounding alarm calls near the Cooper's Hawk. To the north and northeast song birds were actively singing along a perimeter some distance from the accipiter.

At the beginning of period 3, the Cooper's Hawk moved its position closer to the trail, which may have set off a cascading series of motion. First, the sit area became very quiet. Then we observed a Red-eyed Vireo and Gray Catbird move north away from the accipiter.

In regards to the Cooper's Hawk sighting, Donnie noted that she may have moved closer to our group to help shield or put some distance between her and the mobbing songbirds. (We think she's a she because she was quite large; raptor females tend to be larger than males.) Whatever the reason, several of our group were able to see her thanks to Gabby who was the first to spot the bird.

In the 4th period, a second Cooper's Hawk moved into the area and also sounded its begging call. Outside of the forest area to the north and west American goldfinches were active. In case you’re wondering what the code NORA stands for (find it on the second map!) it refers to two juvenile northern raccoons that climbed up a tree as Bob arrived at his sit spot. Thanks to all who came today and shared observations. We will meet again on September 8--note that is the second Saturday of the month instead of the first Saturday due to the Labor Day weekend.