Whirlwinds of feathered bodies, iridescent beetle-blue on top and snowy below, are touching down all along the eastern seaboard. Flocks move in a loose collection of tumbles and dives, sweeping across fields and swamps. They pepper the sky, often collecting over bodies of water to skim for insects and catch a drink. As the sun sets, the scattered birds pull together, gathering like a slow-building storm.
At the peak of migration, flocks of tree swallows can contain hundreds of thousands of birds. Doppler weather radar – yes, weather radar – has revealed that staging points are relatively evenly spaced, almost always 62 to 93 miles apart. Migration flows down the eastern seaboard in a multi-month game of hopscotch as the birds make (comparatively) leisurely stopovers one roost after another. » Continue Reading.
I’m sitting at the table on Saturday morning, looking out the big window at the layer of frost covering everything. The car has a white windshield and the chicken coop has a good layer of frozen dew on it as well. I guess now that it’s September, there are going to be more and more days like this.
Now that fall is almost here, I’ve been thinking back on the summer. At the beginning, I was worried that this would be the summer that never was, what with snow until early June and then nothing but rain for quite a while too. Then there was the heat wave, followed by more rain. August was nice though. It was hot but not crazy hot, with some rain here and there. Of course, it rained almost exclusively on my days off each week, but what can you do? » Continue Reading.
As many birds prepare to abandon their summer ranges during the coming weeks and months, others are altering their routine to allow them to better survive winter in the Adirondacks. The regular appearance of numerous, year-round avian residents around homes and camps suggests that the behaviors of these hardy species do not change from one season to another.
However, following the end of the nesting season, many of these permanent members of our wildlife community subtly change their routine to improve their chances of finding food and avoiding danger. Among the birds that experiences a shift in behavior from their nesting season to this non-breeding period is the black-capped chickadee, a friendly and perky bird that almost everyone recognizes in appearance and song. » Continue Reading.
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