We are now in the fourth month of A Birding Year at Allerton. Anyone can join at anytime by ‘buying’ a free ticket through Event Brite. Allerton paid events and entries are now done through this on line app. The Event Brite app navigates easily to purchase tickets and make paid reservations to special events. The site also serves as a bulletin board to announce upcoming events.The app allows updates to those who purchased tickets. In this case the free ticket to A Birding Year at Allerton also provides a kind of subscription for information about current bird sightings and recommended places within the Park where one has the best opportunity to observe these birds. The Spring birds began to arrive early this year. Nuthatches and chickadees arrive at the tale end of winter. Bluebirds and cardinals arrive north about the same time. This year they were plentiful in thickets along the roadways.
Last week’s cover photo on the April 6, 2017, edition of the local newspaper featured a mature bald eagle. Great shot! The sheer size of a bald eagle never ceases to amaze and awe. The commentary quoted Allerton Natural Areas Director that bald eagle sightings at the Park are becoming increasingly common.
A benefit of participating in the Birding Year is the reporting database sponsored by Cornell University. The site eBird.org requires subscription (free) and participants are asked to report bird sightings. Allerton Park is one of the listed locations, so reporting bird sightings as participants in the Birding Year is a relatively easy process on on line. If the birders reporting sightings are correct, the database will statistically demonstrate migration patterns. While walking or driving through the Park many birds can be identified with regularity. Participants are asked to report these birds repeatedly – every time. Not just the first time a bird is observed. The information is useful in determining territory. Consistency of reporting is a real problem. When Bird Sightings are secondary to the primary purpose for being in the Park is exercise and meditation, consistency of reporting become a problem. Although a bald eagle sighting will definitely bring one out of the ‘zone.’
During the winter barrenness the Pileated Woodpecker is a striking figure in flight and when on the tree. Tufted Titmouse can be confused for a duller female cardinal.
The Tufted Titmouse is smaller, the front torso is off white that becomes salmon under the wings. The tuft is less obvious than a cardinal’s. Event Bright news reports the arrival of Spring Warblers and kinglets. The now flooded floodplains offer many kinds of migrating ducks – wood ducks. Even pelicans have been sighted near Lodge Park.
Last week, however, came the ultimate bird disrespect! On the walk home a vulture shrouded his roadkill protectively to prevent the intruder’s theft. Eventually the vulture yielded to the intruders path and perched in the tree above. But, before he could retrieve his squirrel, a park worker came along, stopped and scooped up the vulture’s prize for disposal.
What are the possible morals to this event: ‘You get what you get.’ ‘What goes around, comes around.’ You snooze you lose, Too Bad for the Vulture.’ Hmmmm. That will be a good thought rat hole to pursue on this morning’s walk.