Tuesday, April 25, 2006

An Eagle at Woodsong

When I came home to the farm yesterday evening, Gerald was excited and disappointed that I had missed the excitement. A neighbor had phoned him, and he went out on the deck and watched the first eagle anyone have ever seen on our lake. First, he said it dive-bombed out of a tree and into the water and under and came up empty-mouthed. Then as he continued to watch, the eagle fished again in identical fashion and this time came up with supper. Watching it huge wing span as it came out of the water was quite a thrill.

We've already been excited about our new baby geese, who are being supervised and guided with the utmost care by their two parents. There were seven eggs, which Gerald has been watching for some weeks, and there were seven goslings hatched. We hurried down to see them, and the parents were already taking them for a swim. One little fellow had bravely (fool-heartedly??) gone out and away from his family to two ducks quite a way off. Then he took off all by himself--barely out of the egg and he was able to swim the great distance without trouble. But his parents and their more submissive brood swam out to him, and I like to think he was relieved to be back in their care.

We have held our breaths because last year the one geese family that hatched took the babies away the next day--we think to more isolated neighbor's pond. We also were afraid that predators would capture one or more of the goslings as so often happens to our ducklings. However, they are old enough now that we feel they are staying and also likely to survive since they are less vulnerable everyday.

We have at least four duck nests still around the house. Some have been deserted, and one was broken into early on by some creature. One mama duck is exactly in the spot in the day lily bed where last spring we had a batch hatched out on Mother's Day. I suppose it is the same mama duck.

I kept noticing a middle-size black bird with brown head at our feeder, and I wondered what it was. Ben Gelman's column came out just in time to tell me: the brown-headed cowbirds are back in the area! I don't think I had ever seen one. And if they destroy other birds' eggs, they aren't as welcome as they would be otherwise.

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