A fine Good Morning to you River-fans,
The CROWS were literally falling out of the tree, because a HAWK was hiding in the Trestle tree foliage. Usually the HAWKS sit high on a bare branch, making themselves targets for the CROWS’ bomb-diving exercises. This new location required for the CROWS to sit above the HAWK and then fall off the branch, preferably right on top of it. This spectacle lasted for a surprisingly long time. Usually HAWKS can only take so much of rude CROW behavior. When I arrived at the tree it was obvious why the 1-year RED-tailed HAWK was resisting the CROWS’ onslaught: its talons were nailing its ground squirrel lunch to the branch. As the attackers dropped down, the HAWK puffed up, hissed, aimed with its beak at them and spread its wings protectively over the meal. I wondered if our young river raptor had finally yielded to the parental advice: hunt for your own food! and no CROW was going to interfere with its hard earned lunch. BTW: since that day I haven’t heard its food begging call echo across the river…
The other morning the City biologists were getting ready to test the water when I arrived at the Trestle site to pull weeds. One of the biologists came over as I was eyeing my never ending task and asked me to take a look at the bird that was lying oddly on the shore. She was concerned, because the bird wasn’t moving. The other biologist thought that it was a LOON and my heart sank, because I was afraid that one of our summer visitors had become sick. As I walked over I could tell from a distance that it was a RED-throated LOON, leaning immobile to the side. That position didn’t alarm since I have witnessed that before. LOONS are pitifully helpless on land due to their leg position so far to the back of their body.
What was concerning was that it wasn’t alarmed when we were fairly close to it, looking curiously at us as we looked worried at it. We decided that we should call the wonderful Native Animal Rescue center, so that the RED-throated LOON could be taken to a safe place. Just as we finished our call, the LOON lumbered to its feet and started heading like a drunk sailor up to the Boardwalk. Although we were thrilled to see it move, we were not excited about the choice of its destination: we instantly worried that our LOON wouldn’t have a chance if an off leash dog came charging down the Trestle path. As we were talking our rescue mission subject labored back up again and struggled towards the promising amusement park. Since that didn’t bode well, I suggested we pick it up and return the fine swimmer to the river. One of the biologists walked slowly over, lifted the LOON, who he thought was a yearling, and checked the wings and body for injuries. The bird didn’t struggle being handled and uttered only 2 perturbed squeals during its examination. Satisfied that our bird seemed fine, the biologist walked out in the water and put the RED-throated LOON in the river. It looked around, raised the body briefly out of the water, shook its wings, passed the Mallard family that had kept foraging close by, and swam upriver. The 3 of us were really happy with this successful rescue finale.
My river compadre and I were wondering where our PEREGRINE was. For the last few weeks we hadn’t seen it on its favorite high, bare branch. Then we remembered how we had the same ‘ Where is our PEREGRINE’ exchange last year to see that familiar shape back on its perch the following week. My river compadre said: “Just wait and see…it will be back next week.” I can’t wait to tell him that our PEREGRINE must have heard us, because it was surveying the river from its customary spot the next day.
Sending you all river love~ jane