June 19, 2013
Written by Jack Sanders
Monday, 02 May 2011 13:56
You never know what you’ll see hanging around the back yard — and sometimes, that can be literally.
“Yesterday evening I was out walking in my back yard with my wife Lisa when we heard a squawk and some flapping in a tree above us,” writes Ed Wickersham of South Salem, N.Y.
“Looking up we saw it was a Great Blue Heron — hanging upside down about 30 feet in the air!
“Evidently the air traffic control was asleep and the bird made an unsuccessful emergency landing on a rain-slick branch. Its leg was pinned between two branches in a position where there was no way out.“I made phone calls to friends and neighbors for help, then started up a ladder with my flashlight, finally climbing to where the bird helplessly hung. After carefully removing its leg from the pinned position, the heron fell to the ground.
“While I think the leg was a casualty, the heron was last seen 12 hours later flying without difficulty into the wetlands.”
The bird spent another day or so in the neighborhood, and then took off and hasn’t been seen since, Ed said. “No sign of struggle overnight so have to assume she flew out. Probably the end of the story as I’ll know it.”
On a recent weekend, Janet Swift of Ridgefield reported, “Saturday morning dawned like an eerie Hallowe’en scene with fog and mist rising from the lake and what one could imagine were giant bat-like objects in the trees. Turkey Vultures were in the trees with their wings spread and nine gathered in my yard after the sun rose.
“On Sunday I was excited to see, not Turkey Vultures, but two Black Vultures sitting practically just outside the window for an hour before flying off to circle the lake. A yard list first.
“When the Turkey Vultures arrived, they scared off the Wood Ducks that have been hanging out in my yard this spring. They are certainly beautiful and I’m fascinated by their behavior. One pair arrived early when the lake was still completely frozen over and began checking out nesting cavities. After the lake thawed, I saw the same behavior again.
“Then I saw four ducks fly down the road together and realized it was probably a different pair that arrived the second time.
“I’m lucky to see a pair searching my trees every year but they’ve only nested in my yard once. Usually they’re in the open space across the road. I’ve startled them twice when I’ve walked out my front door but if they have a nest, I haven’t figured out where.
“Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I had a Fox Sparrow one day about two weeks ago scratching for seed — hadn’t seen one for a few years. Its hopping-back-and-forth motion like a towhee caught my attention.”
Birding By Ear, indoor and outdoor workshop on bird sounds, Saturday, May 7, 9:30 to noon, $12 adults, children free, Greenwich Audubon, 613 Riversville Road, RSVP 203-869-5272 x230, greenwich.audubon.org
“First Sundays,” bird walks open to all ages and skills, at Greenwich Point, with Meredith Sampson, first Sunday of the month, through May, 9 a.m. sponsored by Wild Wings, Inc., Bruce Museum and Audubon Greenwich, 203-637-9822.
Copyright 2011 by Jack Sanders. Send sightings or comments to: jackfsanders [at sign] yahoo.com, or to Bird Notes, Box 1019, Ridgefield, CT 06877; or call 203-438-1183, extension BIRD (2473), and leave a message with your report, spelling your first and last names and telling us your town. If you need help identifying a bird, try your local nature center. If you find an injured bird, call wildlife rehabilitator Darlene Wimbrow of Redding, 203-438-0618, Wildlife in Crisis of Weston, 203-544-9913, or Wild Wings of Greenwich, 203-637-9822. The columnist’s website is www. sandersbooks. com.
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