Posted by: atowhee | May 1, 2018


May 1, 2018.   Yamhill County.  Walking dogs at Wennerberg Park in Carlton this morning we heard, then saw, our first Bullock’s Oriole of the year.  Welcome back, thou consummate weaver.cac on moveCACS FLITECACS FLITE2

Skeins of Cackling Geese continue to pass overhead, northbound. They’re heading for breeding grounds in the Aleutian Island, on the edge of the Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean at the extreme edge of the North American continent. Heraclitus said “All is flux.”  These birds are experts on Heraclitus’s observation.  They breed in the far north, then travel over a thousand miles to winter in a warmer, rainier climate.  As the earth’s climate changes, these birds will be exposed to changing sea levels, altered ocean currents and new demands on their adaptability.  We humans who have so challenged them now can only try to preserve the wintering grounds they need and protect the areas where they must successfully breed if our grandchildren are to see them overhead in fifty years time.

Dozens of cacklers per flock fly a few hundred feet in the air, heard before you can see them.  Their continuous calling keeps the group grouped.  Occasionally a lone goose will veer out of the v-formation or lag behind.  The compulsion of each individual bird is to belong, to keep up, to conform.  These are motives any person should understand.

The calling back and forth is touching.  These are birds that will travel for long days of flight, then several days of “staging,” feeding and replenishing body strength before the next leg of the migration.  They stay together for safety for the duration for the company for the group enthusiasm. Imagine traveling thousands of miles alone.  The idea of being part of a group would be a welcome comfort to a goose with many miles to go.

The sound is a message to groundlings.  A message of mutual strength, a message of change and perseverance, a message of determination to evade extinction.  It is a message we primates must respect and heed and perhaps something we can aspire to.

Wennerberg Park, Carlton, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
May 1, 2018 9:30 AM.  10 species

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)  60
Common Merganser (North American) (Mergus merganser americanus)  1
Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  X
Barn Swallow (American) (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  20
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  2
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  10
Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii)  1     singing

Wennerberg Park, Carlton, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
May 1, 2018 4:50 PM.  11 species

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  1
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Pacific) (Sitta carolinensis aculeata/alexandrae)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  20
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  2
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  X
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  X

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