Simple Gifts

I believe I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world; the Snoqualmie Valley. I get to see amazing things everyday. It's time to celebrate that. (You can view pictures in larger format by clicking on them)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Ordinary birds, youthful uniqueness

We'd seen lots of birds. The first day we'd watched a adult Brown-headed Cowbird feeding a juvenile. I thought nothing of it, until much later when I was explaining nest parasitism. Then I was perplexed. Why did we see mature cowbirds feeding young? Could we have been seeing males feeding females? It didn't look that way. We saw very few species of other birds in camps. Swallows and robins and many, many Cowbirds. Could they be forced to raise their own young because there aren't enough birds to parasize? All my reading says the never raise their young and yet we watched what appeared to be just that several times. An ornithology professor I had once often reminded us birds weren't bound by the books written about them, he would say:

....birds don't read the books

I was pondering this and listening to the osprey in the distance when a juvenile robin wandered into camp. I quite liked the mornings in my tent. Everyone else would be in the camper and it would just be me, coal and the birds. I had noticed this juvenile before. He seemed to stick near to our camp and he was just so... awkward looking. I was watching him go through the motions of feeding. (Of course I don't know it was a he, but he reminded so much of a young teenage boy). He was going through the motions but there seemed to be an uncertainty in spite of the act. I think he would have been surprised as I if he had caught something. And then while he was concentrating seriously a cowbird ran by. This startled the robin greatly who jumped up and landed on the fireplace grate. It wasn't hot, but it also wasn't solid. The robin most not have known this and was flailing about the grate trying to get back onto his feet. I thought I might have to run to the rescue when he finally flew off.

Crappy picture but this was just before "The Great Cowbird Scare"


Post a Comment

<< Home