South Dennis, MA
We set out on our bird walk today, hopeful to not get caught in the rain... somehow, we made it through, just barely! It's not that I mind rainy walks terribly, but binoculars & cameras do not do well in those conditions and I always like to be able to use those.
We had some nice views of some songbirds ground feeding in the field. We even caught glimpse for a few moments of a Northern Harrier gliding over the field...
I was asking the students what their favorite bird was & why. I got some great choices and fantastic reasons why! A Sun Conure was one of the student's favorite birds, why? Because of the rainbow colors of their feathers (AKA - "plumage": the color of the feathers). Another favorite: Turkey Vulture, because it's a predator and eats dead things. Excellent. That's showing not only identification of that species but also what it eats. Not everyone thinks eating a carcass is cool... most birds are omnivorous though. A Song Sparrow was also discussed as one of the favorite species specifically due to its gorgeous song. I couldn't agree more. There is a rare bird walk that I don't hear a Song Sparrow here on Cape Cod throughout every season.
Some of the other favorite species mentioned: Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, Northern Cardinal, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Flamingo, California Condor. All informed choices. It is so often the case we get a great last minute bird sighting... a finale if you will. Not to disappoint today, there was a Killdeer on the field as we were heading back for bus time. Pretty cool. Of course the students wanted to know why the name "Killdeer" and does it kill deer? Nope. The name of this particular plover comes from its voice, which sounds sort of like, "kill...deer, kill...deer..." if you like pneumonic devices to help pin point different species' calls & songs. (double click photos to enlarge)
Northern Harrier (!!!)
|Checking out raptors in a field guide|
|Distracted by an inchworm|
|Pointing out an American Crow|
|Looking at Scarlet Tanager in a field guide|