Sunday, January 20, 2008

At the feeders, and Winged Migration

While doing my weekly Project Feederwatch counts this morning, I got some decent photos at the feeders--typical visitors, but I had at least 30 birds out there at one point, which is a lot for my feeders.

As predicted, the American goldfinches are loving the new nyjer sock. Still no siskins yet, though, at least not that I've seen.
Note that I caught two of them in flight; I had put the setting on that little running man, "Sport," or whatever it's called. But the wings are still a little blurred. Maybe it was the low light. Still, that's better than I usually get!

Here's a beautiful White-crowned sparrow:
You can see some of the mealworms I got from NC Mealworms there in the tray. I haven't seen any bluebirds eating them but the worms always disappear, so someone's loving them!

Guess this cold snap and the snow have made life difficult for the little guys. Today the high was only supposed to be about 20 degrees, so I didn't take my walk. I'm hoping tomorrow might be a little more bearable, because I'd like to get out on the marsh and see what's happening out there. A couple of evenings this past week, I saw some ducks landing on the ponds. Maybe there will be more than just the usual mallards.

Speaking of which, we finally watched Winged Migration today--wow. It was really a beautiful movie, though I kept wishing they'd ID more of the birds they showed. That first bird they show--it's this beautiful songbird. It reminds me of a variegated thrush, but I don't even know where the bird was from. Anyone remember that bird? He had those big thrush eyes and a thrush-like body.

I also wished they'd showed some of our warblers, but when I mentioned that aloud--and you're not gonna believe this--Bird-Creeped-Out-Kat (oy--but I didn't want to steal Non-Birding from Sharon and Non-Birding Bill!)--anyway, BCOK said, "honey, do you really think they'd be able to find and follow a bunch of tiny warblers?"

OH.
MY.
GOD.

A totally logical birdy point from The Kat! My jaw about dropped to the floor. That Kat--she's a keeper.

There was one horrifying scene in which they were showing these beautiful Canada geese in flight, with this nice music playing, and then BLAMMO! BLAMMO! hunters are shooting the geese out of the sky! Kat started screaming, and I just buried my face in my pillow. That was rough. The Kat said, "March of the Penguins was really sad, but at least no one was shooting at the penguins!"

So--I then watched the "Making of" portion, and I realized why they didn't follow any smaller birds: they actually raised all the birds they followed. Canada geese, Grey-lag geese, Bar-Nosed (or Bar-Headed? can't remember) Geese, African white pelicans, some different kinds of cranes--birds they figured would imprint on the people who raised them, and thus be easier to follow and film. I was a little disappointed, but then I guess they did do what they set out to do, which was film them migrating in the fall and the spring. I just wonder what they did with them when they were done filming. Were the birds released into the wild? They were with these birds 24/7, hugging them, feeding them, nurturing them--those birds wouldn't survive in the wild. Maybe they gave them to a zoo or something. Anyway, I envied their closeness to the birds (one pelican really loved being hugged), but I also felt sorry that the birds didn't really have normal lives. Still--they were pretty spoiled--well, except for those poor Canada geese that got shot! *sniffle*

24 comments:

elizabird said...

Hey D-
I think your photo is pretty good!
The running man...good idea.

In Winged Migration I believe the first bird is a European Robin it is after a pet trade cricket. The Clark's Grebes they show...are all Western! The eagle in the desert drinking truck water...Ugh. Artistic license.

It does have its beautiful moments. I was hoping for more passerines also. Next time.

Dr. Zaius said...

Now I want to birdwatch. We are still covered with snow, though.

dguzman said...

Lizard-I may keep it set on that running man all the time and just adjust the other things manually, though that will involve actually LEARNING about the other settings....

Dr. Z-you could always just go looking anyway; I'm sure it would do your ape heart good to get out into the jungles!

Mary said...

Good photos, Delia! You might have pine siskins and don't know it. They blend in easily with goldfinches. I've seen them here just a few times - not daily. But I'm not home enough to really notice.

I haven't seen that movie. And, don't let Kat fool you. Yes, she rolls her eyes but I think she cares more than you think. My daughter is showing signs of interest in our avaian friends but won't admit it :o)

Susan Gets Native said...

I was so floored by Winged Migration, I could hardly stand it. Then I learned all the crap they pulled to make the movie. All the magic just flubbed right out of me. Dammit.

I thought of you today... check out my post. Kat, NBB and Geoff seem to have something in common.

pissed off patricia said...

Oh no, can't watch it if the geese get shot. I cry at such things and then I can't stop.

There was a time when we would get dozens and dozens of the gold finches but for the past few years they have been a rare sight down here in the winter.

dguzman said...

Mary--Nope, she's still creeped out by birds.

Susan--I'll check it out. The magic kinda went out of it for me too; I mean, it was cool to see those people loving on those birds, but still.... Couldn't they just have flown around near Cape May and just tagged along with some of the flocks?

PoP--yeah, it's bad when the gunshots ring out. I think maybe the goldfinches are staying farther north? That's happening with lots of birds. We still have robins up here, for pete's sake.

Matty Boy said...

I loved Winged Migration. My favorite scene is the two cranes flying south over the Sahara, the only two living things in a wide panoramic shot, one lands on top of a sand dune and the other slows down and lands intentionally on top of the other's head.

I turned to the person I was watching it with and said. "Those are brothers. Only a brother would screw with somebody like that."

dguzman said...

That was wild, Matty Boy--I wondered if it was a juvenile crane landing on its mother. That would also be a typical family dynamic, no?

Larry said...

White-crowned Sparrow at the feeders-nice! I've never heard of that film you're talking about-sounds interesting though.

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