While working on the Grotto, Joe noticed some huge black birds swooping and circling the water tower across the road. As soon as evening came, the group of birds got larger. He asked one of the guys what those birds were. Buzzards, the fellow said. They watched while they circled and landed on the railing of the water tower. This happened every day. By the time it got dark the birds had almost circled the tower. He thought 30 of them or more. I thought that they were just crows, but in researching this huge bird, I found that they may be turkey vultures. I haven't been over there at dusk...so these are just a few birds...just starting out. Why do they chose this spot everyday?
I have observed other birds in my yard doing crazy things....crazy to me anyway. Take Wrens for example...As you watch, you'll notice the male begins placing sticks into prospective nest holes. He may build as many as twelve different nesting sites. After pairing with a mate, the male takes the female to each of the nesting sites he has begun building. The female selects the one she likes and begins to rebuild by adding soft materials to the nest before laying eggs. I watched a Wren take all the old building material out of a birdhouse...only to pick up the same material and put it back in the house. Why does he go through all that work?
Mourning doves build a loosely built nest of twigs, grass, weeds and pine needles.make up the nesting materials Doves use. In fact, this loose pile of twigs is so lightly put together that often you can see through it from the bottom.I used to say that they built their nest from a gum wrapper and cigarette cellophane. If the Dove is startled and flies off the nest too quickly, the eggs could fall from the nest. Bird watchers would be wise to wait until the eggs have hatched before approaching any nest.Nest abandonment is very common with these birds. If they feel any threat from predators whether human or animal, they may go elsewhere to nest abandoning both eggs and nestlings. Why don't Doves spend more time on their nests? Why aren't they like the fussy Wrens?The Eastern Bluebird that is so elusive to my yard has an unusual habit too. Females normally do not have a chance of seeing all available mates before picking a mate. So if a female selects a mate from a limited group, a better mate might come by the following day. Her first choice may not have the best territory or the best site to build a nest. Or the male that is most helpful may not have the best genes for battling parasites. How does she know that? She may look elsewhere when her mate leaves the nest for a long time. Oh, those naughty female Bluebirds.
Here I am thinking that the birds have some strange habits, when we humans have some too. Take baseball players...now there's a strange group of people... Some common habits are...
1. The kissing of religious necklaces, making the sign of the cross or point skyward after a home run.
2. Tugging the sleeves, tap of the bat and patting the helmet in the batter box.
3. Some players eat a particular meal before a game.
4. Not grooming on game day.
5. Grabbing parts of their bodies (need I say more?)
We aren't so different from our feathered friends. Well, today I have to do the laundry...after all it's Monday. Why can't I do it on Tuesday?