Monday, February 21, 2011

The Great Backyard Bird Count and Romantic Vultures

I just submitted my final count to the Audubon Society's Great Backyard Bird Count. I participated all four days and was surprised by the results! For instance, I didn't realize we have a small flock of Juncos mixing in with the sparrows. I also didn't realize we have a lovely mated pair of house finches, American Goldfinches, and tiny brown birds the size of my finger that I cannot for the life of me identify. They are as small as hummingbirds. Today, as I stood in the yard watching the cardinals, an American Crow flew overhead calling loudly, circled around and came back to check me out. That was fun!

Another interesting experience: Every night, as I stand on the roof photographing the sunset, a pair of black vultures flies out of the forest and so close to my head I can feel the beat of their wings. I think it surprises them to find me on the roof! They fly off to one of three huge electrical towers, face the sunset, and snuggle! Seriously, they generally stand very close to each other and nuzzle each other on the neck.

I've photographed them often and watched them very closely. I do not believe they are looking for food. I think they're watching the sunset! As soon as the sun goes down, they fly back into the forest behind our house. Black vultures generally lay two eggs on the ground or in dead trees. I suspect they will do so soon in the forest behind our home and are simply taking advantage of some free time to snuggle!

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