Bird Stuff that happens while we sleep

I really don’t know where and when I got interested in birds. I don’t consider myself a “birder” who has a list to check off of birds I’ve seen, though I do sometimes write down if I see a new one. And I try to identify the songs for as many as I can, with the help of the internet, and a book that contains a tiny tape recorder:  The Backyard Birdsong Guide.

I also like reading about birds – What the Robin Knows, H is for Hawk; Suburban Safari; One Wild Bird at a Time… (OK, I haven’t finished them all, but they’re under my roof.)

A friend has alerted me that end of September is an extremely good time to hear migrating birds flying (way) overhead at night:

Migration alert: high intensity migration predicted for the night of 28-29 September 2020

To quote from this 9/28 article by Andrew Farnsworth:

“We estimate that 594 million birds will take flight tonight across the contiguous. And there will be additional, similarly large flights, in the coming nights! This will likely represent one of the largest series of migration nights of the year for this contiguous US.

For those in areas under heavy migration advisories, this will be a great opportunity to experience nocturnal migration by listening at night to vocal birds in flight, or by observing the following morning for new arrival and departures. In the highly urbanized areas, especially cities in the central and southern US, it is also particularly important to turn off lights at night to avoid attracting birds into hazardous conditions in which they can collide with buildings and other structures.”

And here, in 24 seconds, you can see Nocturnal Migration Flows from January – December… it’s quite dramatic:

And from Colorado State University’s Aeroeco Lab, are US maps of migration forecasts for the next several nights:

“Aeroecology is the study of airborne organisms and their utilization of the lower atmosphere (i.e. aerosphere).”

What connection/interest, if any, do you have with birds?

Is there a bird that you would go out of your way to see? … or get out of your bed to hear?

37 thoughts on “Bird Stuff that happens while we sleep”

  1. I noticed yesterday that the flock of about 20 turkey vultures that lives in a city park near our home are gone. They soar over our neighborhood all spring and summer. In the past weeks the robins and blackbirds have congregated and now are gone. We also notice rarer paaser through, like cross bills and rufous sided towhees on their way somewhere.

    Husband loves to watch birds. So do I.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love eastern bluebirds because I so rarely see them. The color combination just strikes my eye as special. But I don’t go looking for them because I’m not that crazy about seeing them.

    However, I go out of the way to see Loon (BWCAW) Eagles–any raptors for that matter–are at the top of my list. Heard 5 trumpeter swans trumpeting over the golf course a few weeks ago. THAT was special.

    I love the song of cardinals but I don’t even have to get out of bed to hear them. They sometimes start up at 5 in the morning in summer.

    Barred owls “invaded” the town this year. A few right around our house, also at the golf course and a few parks. Pretty cool song: who cooks for YOUUUU?”

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for the picture, VS – nice hawk! or some raptor… Anyone been to the Raptor Center in St. Paul?

    The Mississippi is such a migration corridor that within 30 minutes of us, there is the Nat’l Eagle Center in Wabasha, which you may have heard of. Less well known is the Int’l Owl Center in Houston, MN, that looks very interesting – I’m sorry to say I haven’t been to either one yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My best friend in Howard’s Lake came across and caught a lost racing pigeon yesterday. It is white. It was banded and had contact info for the American Racing Pigeon Association. The bird was registered, and a few emails later the owner was contacted and came to get the bird which had been missing for a week.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. We enjoy bird watching too; had to take down my bird feeder post this summer, but I don’t usually keep it filled in the summer anyway.
    I will get it back up for winter.
    We do have hummingbird feeders in the summer. And an Oriole feeder. A few years ago I had an oriole that would peck at the window screen when it got empty. S/he trained me well but they haven’t been back.
    We love the barn swallows and now they’ve moved on. And we were so lucky to have the cranes this summer. I really enjoyed Steve’s book on them.
    Been hearing owls at night now and that’s cool.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. i love red tails hawks and bald eagles

    red wing blackbirds and finches

    hummingbirds cardinals up north loons are such a gift

    maybe birder interested as others die off but they are not making the top 10 yet

    interested but not called out to

    super interesting that there’s a night migration

    i wonder why they prefer night to day or do they do both for a week or something ?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. We have lots of hawks and eagles here. Prairie falcons, red tails, Swainsons Hawks, marsh hawks, kestrals, Golden and bald eagles,. There are rare sightings of ravens, and they are considered omens by our native friends, but I forget omens of what. Owls are considered omens of impending death by some of our tribes here.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. There was an osprey nest at the fish hatchery where I used to work. They started by trying to build their nest on a power pole. Of course that didn’t work. I worked with DNR Nongame Wildlife, MN Osprey and Minnesota Valley Electric to have a nest pole and platform built, erected right next to the power pole they had chosen, and seeded with large sticks to start the nest. When they returned they did the right thing and chose the taller, bigger, nicer, nest pole to build their new nest. They have had successful nests there almost every year for about 15 years now. Great-horned owls are their worst predator. Just as the chicks are beginning to fledge at the end of July, the owls will come and kill them all in the nest. It was so devastating one year. The female (mother) was found floating in one of the fish ponds, very mangled. Both chicks were completely gone, most likely eaten by the owl. The male survived because he used to perch in a nearby tree, not in the nest. It was sad, but that is nature. I do go out there every year in the summer to see if the nest has been successful. I like to think I helped the ospreys move back into south central Minnesota.

    I search every winter for snowy owls during owl irruptions. I saw one once, on a power pole in the evening sunset, right on Hwy 14 coming into Owatonna. I drive around areas where snowies are rumored to have been seen and I look in the snow covered fields. Snowies are ground dwellers and will perch on a fence post, a rock, a fallen tree, or a lump in a plowed field. They will also perch on a power pole but they are accustomed to tundra, and naturally prefer a lower perch. I would definitely go out of my way to see a snowy owl.

    I love the hummingbirds that come to my feeder in the summer. They are so sweet! Amazing little creatures!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. On our trips to Mexico we do a lot of bird watching. Bahia Kino is on the Sea of Cortez and there’s a wealth of sea an shore birds that we don’t get to see at home, including the blue footed booby, lots of brown pelicans, cormorants, magnificent frigatebirds, sandpipers, and long-billed curlews. There’s an estuary a on the outskirts of the town where there are lots of osprey. Charlotte and I would also venture into the dessert looking for cactus wrens, the greater roadrunner, and the gila woodpecker.

      On our last trip to Mexico we spent a week touring Baja in search of places to do whale watching both in the Sea of Cortez and in the Pacific Ocean. On the Pacific side of our explorations, our small boat sailed very close to a long island that was a rookery to thousands of sea birds. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my binoculars with me on the boat so we couldn’t identify most of the birds, but it was really something to see. Petting a baby grey whale was the highlight of the trip. The photo of me reaching over the side of the boat to touch the head of that baby is still the screen saver on my laptop, and it still make me smile whenever I see it.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Man, I’m telling you, between the dang turkeys, raccoons and deer, it’s a wonder I have any crops left. I chase turkeys up the road must about every morning. And the deer stand there eating my soybeans and watching me drive by. They don’t care.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Google search produced this:

    “Do most birds migrate at night?
    Most birds migrate at night. The stars and the moon aid night-flying birds’ navigation. Free of daytime thermals, the atmosphere is more stable, making it easier to maintain a steady course, especially for smaller birds such as warblers that might fly as slowly as 15 miles per hour.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. …and this:

      “While plenty of birds — such as swallows, hawks, and hummingbirds — migrate during the day, the majority of land birds travel at night. … Nighttime migrators include sparrows, warblers, flycatchers, thrushes, orioles and cuckoos. Most of these birds live in the woods and other sheltered habitat, Wilson points out.”

      Liked by 3 people

  11. my dad grew up in north dakota and as a kid we went back 2 or three times a year. he had good buddies and hunted birds every fall. pheasants along the railroad tracks walking the corn fields, ducks and geese in the sloughs across the state. the most incredible bird stuff ive ever seen is the flocks of hundreds maybe thousands of birds in a flock coming in to take a break. the way they drop their wings to lower in 5 or 6 drops before they hit the water. the sound of the honks, the feeling of the pulsation of their wings in the air as they land and take off. it is an incredible experience. you will see many flocks land on the other side of the slough or landing 3 blocks short of short of you then 1000 birds come in and land in your decoys and they are not nearby they are right on top of you while you take cover in the reeds.
    i quit hunting in 1969 but i never forgot the experience.
    i ve heard it said fly fisherman do catch and release because keeping the fish is incidental. they fish in the most beautiful places in the world.
    hunting is the same deal.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Or can be. I’ve never understood the joy in holding up the head of a dead magnificent deer to fully display his antlers, or kneeling behind a baby elephant gleefully displaying your kill. I find such photos heartbreaking and disgusting.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I know that starling murmurations freak some people out, but to me, they’re mesmerizing. I’ve only seen it once, over fifty years ago, and I’ll never forget it.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I usually take an annual road trip in search of tundra swans in the fall. Will likely not go this year, as it is too hazardous to have the indoor restaurant meal that traditionally accompanies the trip. And too cold to eat outdoors. Next year it will be all that much sweeter.

    Over the years, though, it’s gotten much harder to find tundra swans. The lake where they used to congregate by the hundreds has only a few.

    Liked by 2 people

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