Friday, January 7, 2011

Duck Tales

The boys and I have been working our way through an Apologia science series called "Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day". We have enjoyed it immensely. Birds have always been a part of our daily lives, thanks in part to a suction bird feeder in the living room and in part to some Eastern Phoebes who nested on our porch for three years, so spending the last few weeks studying about them has been fun for us all. This week's lesson focused on feathers and how they work. When we read about the birds oiling their feathers, my mind went strait to the hours we spent at the local Wildlife Refuge watching the winter migratory fowl (mainly Mallard ducks and Canada geese) preen and oil. So between activities today we headed down to see who was in town this winter....

Sandhill Cranes

Griffin checking out the cranes

Sandhill cranes and a few ducks

While the boys always enjoy the cranes (with the addition this year of a lone Whooping Crane) and the duck antics always make them laugh (who can resist a diving Ringneck Duck?), the real show started after about 30 minutes.

This Red Tailed Hawk swooped in and caught something right at the waters edge.

 While we watched, three Crows started closing in hoping to snatch some of the hawks lunch. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. He thrashed them pretty well and they kept their distance.
We never did see what he caught because of the high grass, but at one point there was fur/feathers flying as he plucked his kill. Talk about an awesome nature study! Next week we will go out again in search of more preening ducks.

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