Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ravens and Vultures and Hawks

But I thought they were extinct to our area. It turns out they are not. All along I've been seeing these large predators, and not knowing what they are. That changed the first week of May 2006.

My sister saw the large, black raptors and pronounced them vultures. But we haven't had any large birds for ages here. In fact, when we first moved into the area with our daughter, all three of the above were no longer found here. And when I say "hawk," I mean anything larger than an American Kestrel.

I've always got Ellie with me, and she warns away everything, even good-sized hawks. This time we removed her dog-tags and kept her calm. The red, fleshy heads of the turkey vultures were obvious.

The ravens were the biggest mystery. There were various sizes from, large to huge. Could they simply be crows? Bill Ostrander of our local Audubon Society assured me there were crows, fish crows and yes, ravens, all busily plying both the riverbanks and city properties here in Elmira. He also confirmed our flock of turkey vultures. Additionally, we can expect to see the larger hawks sharing thermals with these birds.

I'd love to wax poetic about "magnificent raptors," but by now these guys are pretty day-to-day for Ellie and me. I am excited to learn exactly what they are, and hopeful for our messy little city/country biome here. If I ever get a decent camera, and ditch the dorky little dachshund..., well, best not to dream too big yet.

Birds on Foster Island

We took Ellie to Foster Island to give her a touch of the River while it is still pristine. My sister from Massachusetts was sure we were seeing ravens and turkey vultures. At first I pooh-poohed it, but the evidence was so strong. My camera is just not the thing for this sort of photography. Posted by Picasa

Wheeling Around and Around and...

We did finally flush them, even though they didn't seem to mind us. There are hawks, raven and vultures, all soaring together here. I was puzzled by the variant sizes, until I wrote to the local Audubon, who sorted it out for me.Posted by Picasa