Date: 2/4/17 3:32 pm From: 'Hugh Kingery' via Colorado Birds <cobirds...> Subject: [cobirds] Peregrine & others - Douglas
Urling & I just watched a Peregrine Falcon flap across the field below our house and land in the scrub oak patch that holds our bird feeders. It stayed there maybe 5 minutes and then flew on north. We saw it while walking in the field (probably would have missed it otherwise) so we didn't see how the feeder birds reacted. When I got back to the house, the feeders had no customers, though I could hear a White-breasted Nuthatch making its "pity pity pity" call.
Our feeders have lots of customers -- during the really cold days juncos topped at 66, with other top counts of 11 Am. Tree Sparrows and 11 Spotted Towhees, 41 Red-winged Blackbirds (they don't seem to stay very long), and 1-5 of most other common species. About every other night Urling hears a N. Saw-whet Owl calling but when I go out it shuts up; I have heard it two nights only.
Other raptors include one or two regular Red-tailed Hawks, a Rough-legged Hawk (usually near Willow Lake Drive & Castlewood Canyon Road) that we haven't seen now for 2 weeks, and occasional Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned, and Cooper's Hawks.
We've monitored a Northern Mockingbird that has spent the winter, so far, in a neighbor's yard which has lots of patches of Three-leafed Sumac (a/k/a Skunkbush a/k/a Rhus trilobata. The sumac has lots of "griggles" -- i.e., dried berries that the mockingbird seems to like -- as do a couple of Townsend's Solitaires.
In the mockingbird's territory Urling spotted 3 Eastern Bluebirds Jan. 25, but they didn't stick around. I need to get a camera.
* Griggles: small apples left on a tree. I think we can apply it to the sumac berries too.
Source: Robert Macfarlane, quoted in High Country News. His book offers some other useful terms for bird habitat:
cowbelly: the fine mud that collects on the edges of slow-moving streams;
daddock: dead wood;
spronky: having many roots.
And he laments that the Oxford Junior dictionary deleted willow, acorn, & buttercup.