Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Hungry Birds

With migration on the minds of many birds and water creeping back into the swamp, we at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest have noticed an exceptional amount of feeding activity.  Out our office window, the Horse Sugar (Symplocos tinctoria) fruit hangs as dark purple drupes attracting the attention of several species of birds.  Red-eyed Vireos (Vireo olivaceus) are the most frequent visitors, but White-eyed Vireos (Vireo griseus) and Summer Tanagers also partake of the fruit.  A few minutes ago, a Veery (Catharus fuscescens) landed on a branch just outside the window, observed the office life and then began swallowing whole Horse Sugar fruits.

Yesterday, along the boardwalk we heard the chatter of a Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon) hunting at Goodson Lake and we walked up on a Barred Owl (Strix varia) perched on a cypress knee watching intently for a crayfish to betray its position in the water below.  We did not see the owl until we were within ten feet of its position.  It flew to a new perch ahead of us, but still within a few feet of the boardwalk.  As you can see in the video below, we were able to walk slowly as the owl preened and get to within a few feet of its position.

Video by Mark Musselman

No comments: