Thursday, August 30, 2012

The birds...

As I have noted a few times on these pages in the past, on my lunch break I often go walking along the Finley River, on the trails south of the Ozark Community Center.  They have a paved trail and a loop trail through a wooded area along the river.  More often than not I will walk the wooded trail.  Today I went for my lunchtime walk in the woods, and noticed something that seemed downright peculiar to me.  It began when I startled a large flock of grackles resting on the forest floor, just off the trail head.  Once they took off, the woods sprang to life.  Every 30 to 40 feet down the trail, I would disturb another group of grackles roosting in the leaf litter.  It just seemed odd to me that there would be that many grackles taking refuge in the woods, on the ground.  This went on for a good 100 yards down the main trail.  As the last of the grackles dispersed into the canopy, I began to see flocks of robins (half a dozen to a dozen or more in a bunch) on the trail ahead of me. Some of them were even reluctant to take flight, waiting until I was nearly 10 feet from them before they scattered into the nearby trees.  At every bend in the trail, without fail, I would come upon another large group of robins.  As I said, the whole thing just struck me as odd.  I'm no ornithologist, but it sure didn't seem like typical bird behavior in my experience.  Normally there is also a small band of crows that routinely scold me from the tree tops as I make my way along the trail; they were nowhere to be found. Temperatures are in the upper 80s to low 90s, and it is muggy, with a pretty good breeze in the tree tops.  And that may be the key, right there.  The remnants of hurricane Isaac are headed our way, with the first bands of showers predicted to arrive tonight.  That's really the only thing that I can think of that's different from any other summer day around here.  The wind blowing in ahead of the storm may have them spooked, or maybe the change in barometric pressure is messing with them.  It has been very dry these past few months, so it also may have something to do with the promise of heavy rain coming our way.  A nature mystery.  I asked several of the birds what was going on, and not one of them would tell me.  Hmmm, bird brains.                    

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