Date: 3/6/17 1:23 pm
From: Deibert, Pat <pat_deibert...>
Subject: eagle nests and others...
hello all!

I had the opportunity this weekend to introduce a new co-worker, and avid
birder, to Curt Gowdy State Park and other wonderful surrounds of my
suburban Buford home. We had a spectacular morning with little wind - and
almost no birds!. Ravens and mountain chickadees were common, with a
smattering of juncos. Canada geese were present in low numbers (7) on the
open water of Crystal Reservoir and occasionally a small group would take
to the air, announcing their departure and return with great enthusiasm.
But there were two notable highlights - a northern goshawk - or at least
what we think was a northern goshawk. Definitely a very large accipter
with light undersides. It perched in a tree about 1/4 mile away and then
resolutely refused to move except for the occasional disparaging look over
its shoulder to see if we had left (you could almost hear it sigh in
exasperation). Our doubts were raised by the overly dark head and habitat
- very open country with only small copses of pines. Of course, we were
standing at the edge of the largest stand of ponderosas around - no wonder
the bird was frustrated. I have observed goshawks nearly every year near
my home, which as the goshawk flies is only about 2 miles up one of the
plentiful crow creek drainages.

The second treat was a pair of adult bald eagles! Our first hike wrapped
up rather quickly, and wanting to pretend that it spring despite the
increasing winds and darkening clouds we decided to see if we could find
the eagle nest I spotted last year while hiking another trail in the park.
The balds were riding thermals above our heads the entire trail.
Unfortunately we couldn't finish the trail due to the deep snow (not to
mention the approximately 200 foot drop if you slipped off the trail -
oops), but did see the nest. Actually 5 of them. Only one was truly big
enough to support an eagle - but the others had clearly been used by
raptors at some point in the past few years. The eagle nest was atypical
for a bald eagle - high on the side of a cliff - but only 100 yards from
the reservoir. And perhaps the bald eagles circling haven't read the bird
books describing where they should be nesting. Golden eagles are rare
sightings there but possible.

All the nests were inactive except for the rock dove that perched in the
eagle nest. Yes, you read that correctly - a single rock dove way off the
trail in Curt Gowdy perched in an eagle nest. We couldn't decide if it was
incredibly brave, or stupid, but were disappointed nonetheless. Ravens
were dancing on the winds above the nest, somersaulting and diving, making
the eagles look clumsy, yet regal. It was almost being in a medieval court
- with the jesters entertaining the common folk while the royalty looked
on. Then my child decided to "call" the ravens, and all wildlife, and most
people, vacated the area within a 5 mile radius.

At my home I still have a few (15) gray-crowned rosy finches that drop by
when its cold, lots of pygmy and white-breasted nuthatches, Stellar's jays,
and goldfinches. Cassin's finches, hairy woodpeckers, mountain bluebirds
and magpies wander in for variety. One of goldfinches is about half molted
so spring must surely be on its way? And then the collared doves showed up
to eat the seed. Made me sad so I wandered away to actually do the
parental things I should have been doing all weekend....

I'm going to track the eagle nest (assuming wildlife every comes back after
the echoing raven impression shared by my child. oh darn - will have to go
outside and bird.... I wish all of you the same fate (sans raven-like

happy birding!

pat, in the burbs of Buford
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