Posted by: atowhee | May 23, 2017


This morning at Joe Dancer Park the dog and I met a Song Sparrow, who energetically lived up to his name.  He was singing from the top of a young ash tree in the wetlands section of the park.  We also found a shade-loving male Spotted Towhee there.Songstrst shade

Mid-day I ate lunch outside.  Here in town there is the eternal, infernal, internal combustion engine noise.  But beyond that, and in-between cars, the predominant bird song is from the Eurasian Collared-Dove.  Ten years ago that would have been a new sound here.   Twenty years ago I was in Louisiana and there saw my first one in the U.S.  The collared-dove arrived on its own wings in Florida less than forty years ago and now has conquered the land.  They have spread continent-wide far faster than previous introduced birds like House Sparrow or starling.  They have moved across the land faster than primates, be they European colonizers or the previous First Peoples from Siberia. Today the collared-dive can be found almost anywhere man has trees, shrubs and buildings.  They do not like agricultural monocultures as starlings do but hew to towns, cities, suburbs and farmsteads.  You won’t encounter them in the middle of a hay field or vineyard but they may often appear in your dogwood or apple tree, or perched atop your lilac bush.  Like scrub-jays, blackbirds and starlings there are great wire sitters.  Their density now seems to be as great in towns as that of robins or swallows.  And their cooing calls are the #1 bird sound during much of the day.

FLORAcowsnipIMG_7058salsThe cow parsnip at the top of this section is a native, and one of our more robust.  Some will 7-8 feet tall by the end of summer.  In the carrot family, its seeds are appreciated by finches.  The bottom flower is of the salsify, one of our more attractive introduced weeds with its four-inch wide flowers. In the middle is a typical cluster of Draba verna, also an introduced weed.  It likes open wet places and is in the mustard family.

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