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Posted by: atowhee | February 15, 2018

PECKING ORDER

I grew up on a farm where we always had chickens.  “Pecking order” had a real, literal meaning among some social birds. Today I saw a non-violent version of dominance play out on our feeding platform.  It is usual for towhees to frighten juncos, collared-doves to scare off towhees, starlings to push aside the siskins or bushtits…today it was one chickadee chasing away another.  It began with our lone Black-capped Chickadee on the feeder by itself:BCC-STILLBCC-STILL2BCC-STILL3BCC-STILL4After coming and going several times the black-cap suddenly looked up…to find…a chestnut-backed cousin on the far side of the platform.  What egregious effrontery, no?BCC AND CBCHBCC And cbch2The very idea!  So little BC flies down onto the platform, shooing off even littler CB…and then plucks a morsel from the feeder and exits, stage right.bcc and cbch3bcc exitbcc exit2bcc exit3

Later the Bushtits arrived with their usual nervous landings and fussing and fluttering.  At one moment a junco was on the far end of the feeder alert to the littler bird’s twitchy behavior:bt on flatbt on flat2At Baskett Slough the light was nearly perfect as the sun is still low in the sky, little or no glare off the water if you are looking north with sun from behind.  Green-winged Teal:gwt-watrSleeping pintails and passing female shoveler in the back row:IMG_3248One of the dozens of skeins of Cacklers going back and forth across the heavens, cackling the while:IMG_3254Thsi small flock of cacklers are hanging out at the lowest point on Colville Road where there is watery marsh on both sides.  One of them has a bad wing, from injury or gunshot…the others seem to be his/her cohort:IMG_3264Injured bird is at lower left.  Walks and swims fine.IMG_3270IMG_3286Half of the Bald Eagle pair that were doing courtship flight before they parted and this bird went overhead:IMG_3290IMG_3312 820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Feb 15, 2018.  13 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  X
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  2
Bushtit (Pacific) (Psaltriparus minimus [minimus Group])  20
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) (Setophaga coronata auduboni)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  20
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  3
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  2
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  X
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Baskett Slough NWR, Polk, Oregon, US
Feb 15, 2018.  17 species–wind kept down most songbirds
Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)  X–thousands
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)  X
Mallard (Northern) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos/conboschas)  X
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)  X
Green-winged Teal (American) (Anas crecca carolinensis)  X
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  1
Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)  1
Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius)  3
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  4–including a pair in courtship flight
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  2
American Coot (Fulica americana)  X
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group])  1
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)  1

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