August 1, 2021

vgn365

We know our pets

Reader queries aim on spot birds and waterfowl

I incredibly much take pleasure in acquiring letters from some of my 99 semi-standard viewers.  Most of them are atta-boy notes when I touch on a subject matter pricey to their hearts. 



a flock of seagulls flying in the sky: A flock of Canada geese take flight in late January at Twin Lakes Recreation Area after lounging on the grass and partially frozen lake. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory through noon Wednesday with a chance of up to two inches of snow.


© Don Shrubshell
A flock of Canada geese just take flight in late January at Twin Lakes Recreation Location following lounging on the grass and partially frozen lake. The Nationwide Weather conditions Company has issued a wintertime temperature advisory as a result of noon Wednesday with a likelihood of up to two inches of snow.

And, sometimes, I am taken to activity by another person who disagrees with me. But in the end, it’s all aspect of the career.

This earlier week I obtained no a lot less than 10 inquiries about all of the robins flocking up in some yards, fields and other open spots. People needed to know why this was occurring. Immediately after all, the winter is challenging upon us. Those people birds should have been flocking up in Alabama, not upstate New York.

Really robins (and lots of other species of birds) have uncovered to “follow the snow line.” That is, they frequently hold out just “south” of the place the sun and hotter winds have melted the snow. They have very long ago acquired that earthworms and other small insect-like critters that are great for a foraged meal exhibit up.



a man wearing glasses: Len Lisenbee


© Len Lisenbee
Len Lisenbee

Why do worms, etcetera. arrive to the floor? The floor results in being saturated as the snow melts and the water trickles down into the soil. Worms hunting for air to breath come to the surface. And the robins and other birds are there to greet them.

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By the way, I experienced a “mega-flock” appropriate close to my residence a couple of times ago. I noticed numerous robins, very a several starlings, some grackles and quite a few other species of birds blended in at their feeding frenzy. It was very a sight.

A further reader has a “strange searching bird” he wished to find out much more about. His description was excellent: the hen was a massive hawk that sported a white head, an all white human body and a reddish tail. He and his wife experienced observed it in the course of the winter for two several years, and it generally appeared the identical.

Nicely, simply because of his description, and with out a image of the chicken, I had to make an educated guess. Nonetheless, I feel the description was extra than sufficient. The chicken in concern pretty much experienced to be a partly albanistic redtail hawk. Following all, a massive hawk with a reddish tail rather nicely boundaries the attainable selections.

Albanism, both as a partial or full “color” covering, is not all that uncommon amongst almost all species in nature. I can keep in mind snorkeling in a shallow creek in North Carolina. We ended up there seeking for endangered mussels when I spied some thing white swimming just a handful of toes in entrance of me. It was a hellbender, an amphibian that is also endangered in some spots. This 1 was a complete grownup, sporting an all white overall body and pink eyes (marking it as a real albino) so the predators should have left it by itself.

In my travels I have spotted sparrows, starlings, grackles, and in all probability a dozen or extra other chicken species, and 50 percent a dozen mammal species, along with other a variety of lesser species that were either partially or wholly white. They are out there, individuals.

You might not have read but there was yet another anti-team of vandals that brought on the launch of several dozen mink from a fur farm in a close by condition. And one particular reader asked if these various animals may be improved off in the wild somewhat than to be held in a pen.

Domestically elevated mink generally can not survive in the wild and are in fact greater off getting still left in their pens. The lady questioned why that was so, stating that at minimum some of the vandal-released mink would survive to are living a regular lifestyle in the wild condition, and that they would definitely die if remaining in captivity.

Her concern evidently exhibits a deficiency of awareness shared by quite a few animal legal rights activists, so I will try to demonstrate the fact of this scenario. Those mink are someplace involving 20 to 50 generations removed from their wild cousins. They have no authentic survival instincts remaining in their very small brains. If they are introduced to the wild they will almost certainly suffer one particular of two fates, and both of those can be explained as downright gruesome.

Most very likely they will be killed by some roving predator. Oh, they can chunk, and probably protect them selves for a limited whilst, but they will be killed and eaten (really usually alive) in the close. They no longer have the intuition to steer clear of detection, and that makes them an easy target for coyotes, fox, owls, and even other (wild) mink.

If they are not killed, they will no doubt starve to death within a 7 days or two. They have never experienced to destroy anything at all, receiving rather a every day ration of specially formulated feed cake and perhaps some meat scraps from road killed animals. And they have been hand fed for their full lives.

The reality of their situation is that they are small unique than a beef cow in a feedlot.  Oh, the beef cow may endure if launched into suitable habitat since its ancestors ended up also grazers and it still has the intuition to discover suited meals. 

The mink, on the other hand, will not endure if unveiled in the most perfect habitat since its ancestors ended up hunters and it no for a longer time has the eager edge essential for that fundamental instinct.

An additional high faculty aged reader a short while ago asked why we have so quite a few Canada geese living in our area now when, just a couple of decades back, a individual would be really hard pressed to obtain additional than a compact flock or two of these magnificent birds?

We at this time have a quite substantial quantity of geese wintering in our space, and these “local” geese have been on the population improve for very well over 15 seasons. For several several years the DEC ran a trap and transfer method for excess wild geese. 

They reside-trapped 8 7 days old goslings and then released them to other community (best) habitat. The hope was that, when these youngsters matured, they would return to the spot exactly where they were being released to increase their have broods. Eventually greater flocks would be produced by this process.

The software labored. It may well be that the software labored as well well. Many of the geese observed flying all-around this location have been elevated in 50 miles of Canandaigua. They are now residing in massive flocks around the lake and bordering harvested farm fields for the winter season. 

When spring returns they will as soon as once more crack up into pairs and obtain a position to increase their broods. The immature birds within just the flock are not able to breed, but will discover silent marsh or pond regions to spend their summer days in relative protection.

We also have a couple migrating flocks of geese becoming a member of with our regional flocks. They, far too, will shell out the winter season in this location. After all, there is continue to some quantity of squander grain and eco-friendly forage for them to feed on. 

And when spring arrives they will probably head again to the much north to increase their individual broods.

At the exact time, all of the Atlantic Coastline states will have a superior goose time later on in 2021. It appears that no significantly less than 135,000 pairs of breeding Canada geese will return to the Ungava Peninsula in arctic Quebec this spring, up from a reduced of 29,000 breeding pairs just 16 or 17 yrs in the past. 

If the breeding results this spring is “typical” there will be a normal or enhanced regular time goose hunt this tumble in all states along the Atlantic coast. And of study course there will be a “special” September goose time with another 25 bird for each person restrict and no possession limit. All of the special polices at present staying allowed will keep on being in spot.

Len Lisenbee is the Day by day Messenger’s Out of doors Columnist

This posting initially appeared on MPNnow: Lisenbee: Reader thoughts concentrate on location birds and waterfowl

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