Posted by: atowhee | February 2, 2023


It appears the local turkey flock has divided in prep for the spring breeding season. There are only small flocks appearing in our garden now. That’ll certainly save on bird seed costs. In less than half an hour the whole flock can devour what would last all day when it’s just doves, jays, finches, juncos and their ilk. I think thusly: a single turkey in two minutes can eat a day’s diet for a chickadee or goldfinch.

Here is our recent turkey count data: January 25-27 the flock of 21 descended on our garden multiple times each day. None on the weekend, which is an established pattern. Some neighbor who is only around to feed on weekends draws them out of our immediate vicinity. Turkeys have a weekly calendar! On Monday the 30th there were turkeys again, but only 8. Zero on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Today, Feb. 2, just six arrived. Often the big flock would preen and nap on our small lawn after eating their fill, no small accomplishment. After turkeys withdrew from feeding areas, the finches and other little ones returned. Not even crows nor squirrels would risk getting within beaking distance of the turks.

Soon there’ll be puffed-up tom turkeys stopping traffic on nearby streets, tails spread, attitude formidable. Here’s a picture from May, 2022:

The flicker pair appeared together this week, another sign of impending egg-laying time. Niot quite as explicit as those copulating eagles yesterday. Moir eagle watching tomorrow, BTW. Today there was a flicker pair in front, lone female behind the house simultaneously.

THURSDAY’S GUESTS, included Fox, Golden-crowned (in enlarged version of first image) and White-throated Sparrow, the male Varied Thrush who comes by daily. Click on any pic for full-screen view.

Even while the air temp remained below freezing, direct solar light would take away the frost on the grass and leaves it struck.

A koa‘e kea (white-tailed tropicbird) flies by the edge of the eastern lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u, at the summit of Kīlauea–click here. Or click here. And even here.

A little lesson in ‘natural engineering:”

New Zealand glaciers–disappearing., Click here for video report.

I am leading a fund-raising bird trip sponsored by, and based at, the Malheur Field Station. It is May 15-20. We will see Ferruginous and Swainson’s Hawks, Prairie Falcon, Golden Eagles, White Pelicans, Short-eared and Great Horned and Burrowing Owls, Sandhill Cranes, Black Terns, Franklin’s Gulls, White-faced Ibis, Rock & Canyon Wren, Cinnamon Teal, snipe, Wilson’s Phalarope, possible bittern. There are likely to be usual (Lewis’s Woodpecker, Evening Grosbeak) and unusual (any bird that migrates to northern Canada) migrants at the hotspots. We will bird the basin and foothills of Steens Mountain. Bonus mammals: pronghorn, wild horses, possible badger.
Interested? Call 541-493-2629.

954 Ratcliff Drive SE, Marion, Oregon, US
Feb 2, 2023
22 species

Wild Turkey  2
Mourning Dove  15
Northern Flicker  3
Steller’s Jay  X
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  X
Bushtit  20
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Bewick’s Wren 1
European Starling  4
Varied Thrush  1
American Robin  1
House Finch  1
Lesser Goldfinch  1
American Goldfinch  30
Fox Sparrow  2
Dark-eyed Junco  30
Golden-crowned Sparrow  2
White-throated Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1



  1. Those dates to Malheur should be fantastic for migration.

    • that’s a central concept of the timing, also good weather, few mosquitoes

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