Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Not all great bird watching experiences are high octane. Some special locations regularly offer a serene opportunity to watch familiar birds who are tolerant of on-lookers. Such is the case of this tree trunk at Kent's Pond. Walkers regularly drop a supply of seed in the natural hollow of this landmark, and the birds love it.
It is impossible to walk the Kent's Pond trail without stopping for a few moments to enjoy the comings and goings of a mix of birds enjoying the smorgasbord dropped into the bin.
I have never seen any rare birds in this spot, but I can't help but stop to watch the jays, chickadees, nuthatches, juncos, pigeons and crows who stop by for a meal. Often, routine walkers will join me to admire the simplicity of the moment. The experience always brings a smile. Oh, yes. It is also common to find a squirrel or two here as well.
The Blue Jay is a beautiful bird that many deem to be a nuisance. As soon as a jay arrives at a feeder, the small birds scatter. Nevertheless, the jay is a friend to the small birds and will sound a loud alarm squawk to warn nearby small birds of an approaching predator. There really is a natural scheme of things, and it is remarkable to observe. The Blue Jay has a similar mentality as the squirrel. They cache their food supply.
The jay will swoop in, sit long enough to fill the gullet full of seeds, then, they fly off,  crack them open, and bury them for future retrieval. In some habitats, this practice contributes greatly to reforestation where the jay can collect tree nuts such as acorns and plant them. Left uneaten, a new tree is born. However, I don't think this is true of the sunflower seeds. If so, we would be seeing fields and fields of sunflowers all around.
Blue Jays don't always dominate this natural feeder. It is very common to see Red-breasted Nuthatches and Black-capped Chickadees fly in, take a seed and disappear into the woods again. Over and over, this occurs. Both the nuthatch and the chickadee  go away to crack open the seed to eat or will horde seeds in the crevasses of trees for leaner times. This accounts for their multiple, rapid returns to the feeder.
From the smallest to the largest of birds, this tree trunk is a favorite haunt. It is common to encounter crows, and while the crows seem a little overpowering, they too are friends to the little birds. The crow will warn the small birds and aggressively fend off any hawks that might invade the space.

Interesting info - Life expectancy:

Blue Jay - 17 Years
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 7 Years
Black-capped Chickadee - 1.5 to 1.8 Years
Dark-eyed Junco - 11.4 years (oldest recorded)
American Crow - Info varies indicating the average life of a crow is 15 months, but some have been recorded to live as long as 30 years.

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