Birds on the move…

As I walked to work along the east side of the TU Delft campus, yesterday morning, I came across the largest flock of gadwalls I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if the body of water right beside the road would be considered a pond or just a widened canal, but I counted at least 50 ducks feasting on the mat of duckweed growing on the surface. I didn’t have my camera with me at the time, so this scene from farther out into the countryside on Sunday will have to suffice, but it gives you a sense of the density. It appears that the gadwalls are on the move, and there sure are a lot of them.


Similarly, the pheasants were plentiful this past weekend, although I don’t believe they’re heading anywhere, and here’s a rooster (or a cock, according to the FDA) rustling up some breakfast in the dim morning light.


I still hear a lot of wrens, too, but now that the chicks have all fledged, they’ve made themselves a lot harder to spot. This one, however, gave me a second to capture this image before it headed for cover.


On Sunday, this kestrel, who was hunting over the same field from which we saw our star catch a rodent on Saturday, took a break from hunting on this powerline tower. It could very well be the same bird, but I can’t be sure.


Finally, even though they really love the low light, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen one in broad daylight, here’s another robin for Arlene.


And that, finally, is the end of the pictures I managed to accumulate over the weekend. Here’s hoping I have as much luck next weekend, eh?

Oh, and while I have your attention, let me plug a recent article in the New York Times by Margaret Renkl (which I realize may be behind a paywall for some of you, so I copied the key paragraphs below) that urges us all to help make migration a little less dangerous for the millions of birds on the move right now.

“A 2021 study by Field Museum scientists analyzed 20 years of data collected at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center. The researchers found that merely darkening the windows resulted in a roughly 60 percent reduction in bird mortality.”

Homeowners can do their part, too. If you can’t turn off all your lights, identify the ones that are truly necessary and reduce the wattage or reorient them in a way that is safer for wildlife. Lights triggered by motion detectors are far less dangerous for birds than continuously burning lights, for example. The same is true for hooded lights that direct the illumination downward rather than into the sky. Indoors, draw the curtains and close the blinds after dark. Turn off lights in empty rooms. Use lamps instead of overhead lights in the room you’re in.”

“Migration seasons don’t last very long, so it isn’t strictly necessary to make these changes permanently, but it would be better for wildlife, and better for the climate, if we did.”


Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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