Thursday, January 6, 2011
Tiny and a peregrine falcon
I guess there's a time in all young killdeer lives where they have to deal with falcons. Falcons are, afterall, a killdeer's #1 enemy. Falcons seem to prefer killdeer over many other birds and will actively seek them out if they think they're around. So, while I was glad that I saw Tiny today, in his dad's feeding area, I am concerned that he may not be able to meet this challenge.
Tiny was all alone, no sign of his mom and girlfriend. It's possible that his girlfriend is hanging out in their selected breeding area, perhaps getting ready for their new brood. Or, perhaps Martha, Tiny's mom, was right about the female and she never had her eye on Tiny as a mate, but George instead. We shall see. In the meantime, Bob1, the sandpiper, was keeping Tiny company, though she left him when too many people began hanging around.
Poor Tiny, I don't know if he was scared of the egret, who started stalking/shoving him away, or was lonely. When I left, he because to do "deet" calls. Tiny hides really well, so I'm sure he'll be OK.
Here's a photo of the falcon. I almost missed him because a few minutes before, I was looking at a male cooper's hawk and thought this was him. I went to feed the ducks and sat down and decided to look at him through some binoculars. This guy was watching me, then quietly snuck away. Unfortunately, a branch was in the way and the camera focused on the branch. Also, I had to use a fill-flash/brightness adjusted because he was back-lit by the sun.
This explains the pile of coot feathers I have been seeing lately in that area. I hope that Flycatcher, Caramel, Cinnamon and the chocolate ducks will be OK as they're all under his nose. The falcon doesn't seem to be hanging out in George and Tiny's area, but that doesn't mean he won't or can't.
All the other killdeer, the M6 family and the ballfield killdeer, doves, starlings, quail, and blackbirds have all disappeared within a 2 or 3 mile radius.
Some gadwalls (I know the date says 2010, but old habits die hard):
A gold-crowned sparrow:
Curly, whom I fed today. He's having a conference with the coots:
Some vultures hanging out. There's been a lot of casualties, probably due to the weather. This has included a few ducks, but none of the lake "favorites".
And, finally, an osprey with a fish (which a seagull tried to steal later):