Posted by: atowhee | September 6, 2020

BEING YOUNG IS SO HARD

At my age I often feel very sorry for young people. They face a future of great stress and violence. My own parents lived through the 1930s Depression and then World War 2 as adults, having been kids during World War I. My generation had only the Vietnam War and then the digitization of America to survive. Today’s young: climate change and its famine and civil and uncivil wars, mass extinctions that may include our own species, inundation of thousands of square miles of continents and whole island nations. Then there are modern weapons like drones and social media that work quietly, surreptitiously to destroy and cripple and terrify. Well, for millions of years young hawks have suffered their own personal torment and terror of death. I watched today at Minto Brown Park here in Salem as one young Cooper’s Hawk failed openly and miserably to be what he must become to survive.

First and worst, he was perching in a stand of dead, barren trees in a mostly dried-up marsh. He was visible, he was obvious, but not oblivious. For he was accompanied. At first there was a single flicker, armed with a stabbing beak of known quality and then a lone Steller’s Jay flew in screaming. Both flicker and jay perched near the Coop, watching, leaning toward him, taunting. He had no element of surprise, no secret approach. He repeatedly flew at his adversaries who easily, adeptly, avoided his talons every time. Soon his entourage added another flicker and a second jay. The Coop’s futile sorties continued, energy being wasted with each flight. The flicker could easily go find some ants to eat, the jays could eat any of the abundant fruit or insects that surrounded the site of the bitter lesson of live being played out before me. By the time I walked away, the Coop was surrounded by both flickers and a trio of jays. “Stealth” I thought quietly, not too hopeful that my mind could reach over to the hawk’s.

Saw over 20 species in less than niknety miknutes–two best were Ruby-crowned Koinglet and Black-=throated Grasy Warbler, bpoth were firsts for me this season and both were in the regrowing forest just north of the entrance parking lot. The Green Heron and female Wood Duck were at Duck Pond–the heron scolded me loudly as it flew away. I saw one Swainson’s Thrush sneaking through the trees. That may be the last one I see this year, departing flight expected soon.

A few plants were still in bloom: Queen Anne’s lace, native spirea, sweet peas, a few of the teasel. Many more were fruitful–blackberries, a feral rowan tree, apples and crabapples were littering the trail with dropped fruit. Grasses and other low-growing plants presented plentiful seed heads so the goldfinches must have been ecstatic.

The only non-human vertebrates besides birds: bullfrog, tree squirrels, one mule deer, unidentified fish breaking the surface of Duck Pond.

Minto-Brown Island Park, Marion, Oregon, US
Sep 6, 2020
22 species

Canada Goose  X
Wood Duck  1
Mallard  1
Anna’s Hummingbird  2
Great Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  1
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-breasted Sapsucker  1
Northern Flicker  2
Steller’s Jay  3
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
European Starling  X
Swainson’s Thrush  1
Cedar Waxwing  X
House Finch  X
Lesser Goldfinch  X
Song Sparrow  7
Spotted Towhee  2
Black-throated Gray Warbler  1


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