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February 2008

BIRDS: Eagles galore



For more than  two months, I have been seeing eagles along the Hackensack River in Teaneck and Hackensack when I run at lunch.

    I reported in The Record when a Christmas bird Count in Bergen County tallied 30 bald eagles in December, but it was only recently that I got a chance to write something on the incredible number of eagles in North Jersey.
   In The Record today, I have an interview with NJ Audubon's Pete Dunne, who is an expert on raptors. 
   Here is the link.
   On the day I took the pictures on this post, I had hoped to see a bald eagle. I ended up seeing three in the same tree in Hackensack's Foschini Park.

   Click "Continue reading" below for more...   

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BIRDS: Yikes, sparrows


    Let me begin by saying that I am not a big fan of sparrows.
  They clog the feeder, and to the untrained eye (mine), they are pretty much birds of the same (unspectacular) feather.
  But ignorance is not always bliss, and when a friend looked out my window and said, "Hey, you've got a somewhat unusual sparrow below your feeder," I sat up and took note (and a few photos).
   (Click "Continue reading..." immediately below.)

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CELERY FARM: Gull darn mystery



In addition to a marsh harrier and a kingfisher, the gulls were putting on a show on Lake Appert yesterday.
  A few of the gulls, with freshwater clams in their bills, would fly maybe 100 feet above the ice and drop the clams onto the ice.  The clams would open, at least some of the time, upon impact, and the gulls would eat the contents.
   How's that for openers?
   The bigger question is, where did the clams come from?
   Any thoughts? Please share them.

OWL: Duck box is an icebox


   I spent 15 minutes putting up new twine and a "no trespassing" sign on the periphery of the owl box yesterday.
   While I was marking the perimeter, I thought I would check the wood duck box near the owl box -
- and found the dead bird (above) inside.
   He wasn't there Sunday,
when I found this owl pellet. 
   I have placed a quarter  Pelletquarter by the pellet so you get a sense of size. The owl did not cough up the quarter, in case you were wondering.

    And yes, that is a pellet.

    My guess is Ace is storing food there during the winter, then moving it as needed. Sort of a "cache and carry" situation.


OWL: Nest-box makeover



My wife and I have not seen hide nor hair of Ace the Screech Owl in a month, and he should be back in the box in time for the romance season, in March.
    I was not happy with the wood chips that I had decorated his nest box with -- they seemed too large and seemingly uncomfortable, and a squirrel had been in there rooting around besides.
    So I did what any landlord would do to when his apartment has been vacant for over a month -- I cleaned up the place....
    And it might just work!

(Click "Continue reading" -- next sentence down -- to find out more")

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