Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Thursday, November 08, 2007

[BIRD NOTES] November 7, 2007


Bird Notes


The good news is that of the hunting reprieve, and the many waterfowl at the setbacks. The light was not good, but I nevertheless identified numerous PIED-BILLED GREBES, RING-NECKED DUCKS, 7 AMERICAN COOT, and other usual suspects. But I also saw 2 adult MUTE SWANS and their 7 off-spring. Robyn and I spotted 2 BUFFLEHEADS resting at the Cersosimo setbacks on Saturday.

---Paul Miksis, Brattleboro



Had a flock of 15 or so EVENING GROSBEAKS in Marlboro this AM in the pouring rain.  Heard a different call & finally found them sitting in those bent birches at the end of our porch. 

---Hollie Bowen, Marlboro, VT



Is it just my overheated imagination or are there way more reports of NORTHERN SHRIKES than "normal" at this time of year? Over the last two weeks, I have seen 4 different individuals here in SE Vermont and have seen lots of reports from elsewhere in New England. I know that the species is irruptive, dispersing in response to fluctuations in their prey base. Could we be in such an irruption?

---Hector Galbraith PhD, Dummerston, VT



ßNorthern Shrikeà



The Butcher Birds Are Coming

The Northern Shrike, AKA Butcher Bird to many of us old timers, has been appearing on many RBAs this Fall. Is it an irruption? I don’t think that it is immediately obvious, but time will tell.


Why the name “Butcher Bird”? The Latin species name of the Northern Shrike, Lanius excubitor, means “Butcher watchman”. It is a predatory songbird that breeds in the tundra, and winters in southern Canada and northern United States. It preys on small birds, rodents and some insects. Note the hooked beak that is very sharp and used for tearing flesh. More than one bird bander bears the scars of an encounter with this species. It more often than not, kills more than it can eat or feed to its nestlings and impales its victims on spines or barbed wire fences to eat later. Both the male and female sing throughout the year with the male singing especially in late winter and early spring. Its song is a complex and variable sequence of harsh notes, chatter, trills and whistles. Watch for them on high perches in hedgerows and brushy portions of grassy fields.



Red Fox Sparrows & Gray Foxes

There are now 4 FOX SPARROWS scratching the ground around our feeding stations at Chipmunk Crossing.


After hearing a noise behind her house in Marlboro one evening, Hollie Bowen flipped on the spotlights and watched 3 GRAY FOX amble down her sidewalk.


By the way, did you know that a Gray Fox is able to climb trees?



A friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.


Please keep us abreast of what birds you are seeing, whether at home or on a trip in or out of the Windham County area.


Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT


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