Slice of Life #1- It’s Raining Birds!

I’ve been feeding the neighborhood birds since the New Year started and it’s been fabulous. My e-bird tells me I’ve identified 25 different species at my feeders! (I love citizen science!)

But today I had my coolest sighting.

I was watching my feeders for a few minutes when something suddenly dropped from the sky into the snow, landing with a thump. At first I thought it was one of resident hawks landing with an early dinner. Then I saw what looked like a mohawk on its head.

I was on the phone at the time and I threw the phone down, yelling to my mother “I have to call you back! A weird bird just fell out of the sky!”

The bird was clearly a duck, but not a duck that belonged in my yard. I belong to a few birding groups on Facebook and knew that there had been a spate of sea birds getting lost inland recently. The snow and frozen waterways make it hard to find food. I also knew some of those ducks and birds can’t take off unless they are in water. So I went outside to check on the duck ( after snapping a few photos from the window).

Thankfully, the duck flew off when I got within about 25 feet. I ran back in and uploaded my photos to Facebook. As I waited I used my Merlin bird app to try and identify the species but seeing as the duck was very out of place in my yard it didn’t work. Thank goodness for birding groups on Facebook!

 

Meet the common merganser duck. She’s female and was definitely lost. Even though she flew off I did walk the block to make sure she was safe. No sign of her so I’m hoping she made it to the creek down the street; it eventually feeds into the lake in the county park across the street.

Definitely an awesome yard bird but a bit sad, too. It turns out lots of sea birds and ducks are literally falling out of the sky in the midAtlantic. Their rivers and lakes are frozen and they are looking for food. So keep your eyes open and look a little closer at the world around you. The birds that surround us might need help this winter.

 

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13 Responses

  1. Wow. We’re not the only ones stressed out this winter.

  2. Last summer we had our cool bird sighting; the bird, a pileated woodpecker, wasn’t new, but it’s nest in a dead tree just down the hill from our driveway was. We noticed the babies just a couple times before they left the best; we’re hoping that they are a species that returns to the same nest the next year.

    • Oh wow! I am dying to see a pileated woodpecker. Apparently they are around here so I’m crossing my fingers.

  3. I’ve wanted for a while to learn to identify birds. I can’t name much beyond the cardinals and robins I see in my yard and the ever-present Canadian geese that seem to be EVERYWHERE in my town. Good for you!

  4. What an amazing sighting. I guess those sightings we get excited about might not be best for the birds. It’s sad to think of birds just falling lost from the sky. I have always said I would like to get more purposeful in my bird watching habits. I would love to know more about the apps you use.

    Cathy

  5. How awesome is that for you to find a passion in watching so many species of birds, and there’s an app for that plus a FB group. I mean I’ve heard of raining men, but raining birds is a lot cooler. Love the pics and the story–I hope your bird finds a habitat that works. Thanks for sharing with words and pics–what a great start to this month’s slicing. I’m sure one day this month I’ll be hoping for a writing idea to fall from the sky…

  6. This whole post made me smile because I can hear your voice as I read it.🙂 and it is just a cute story, while still being informative…the best kind. And I love that you describe the duck with a Mohawk.
    I’m slicing for the first time this year, android post reminds me to find the stories that surround me throughout my day.

  7. an irresistible title — so I didn’t even try. The title made smile but the story is a tugger that made me feel for the birds. When I lived in south Louisiana, we had a pond that was a pit stop, Our Welsh ponies did not allow dogs or other predators hang out there. It was a safe zone, well stocked with frogs. Most visitors were egrets but we got an occasional crane. More came when there was a hurricane watch…

  8. So awesome! I’m with Mindi, I can spot a cardinal, a sparrow, doves and grackles, and that’s it. My roommate is a “bird major” and was so excited when I came home with a feeder the other day. We have had so much fun watching all the local birds hang out in our back yard. The cats like it too. They chirp at the birds from the window. (They’re indoor, no hunting for them!)

  9. You always have the most interesting posts!! Thanks you for sharing this story with us and also for mentioning the app and Facebook groups. I am certain that I wouldn’t survive the winter (emotionally, that is) without the daily variety of color, sound and movement at our backyard birdfeeders. We keep three as full as we can: suet for the woodpeckers, of which we have four species who visit regularly; mixed sunflower & other seeds for the perching songbirds; thistle seed for the finches. I believe one can learn so much about ALL areas of science–while developing empathy & sharpening one’s observational powers–simply by maintaining bird feeders. My friend & illustrator extraordinaire Melissa Sweet shares my passion for bird feeding/ watching. They have tough winters where she lives in Maine, and last year she sent me a birdbath warmer, which has been in constant use this winter as well. I’m revisiting Annette Leblanc Cate’s marvelous & whimsical picture book “LOOK UP!” in preparation for the return of the migrants this month.

    • Ooooh! A bird bath warmer is on my wishlist!! Apparently it attracts a variety of birds.

      I love that I have a love of birds and birdfeeding in common with you and Melissa Sweet! 🙂

  10. What a great shot you got, Sarah!

    We have wetlands in our backyard. While I’m not a bird-watcher per se, I do like going in the back with Isabelle to take watch for unique birds. We’ve been known to have egrets, which are always wonderful to watch.

    Glad you’re Slicing with us again this year! Year 8… wow!

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