Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Journey's End



I saw my first FOX SPARROW of fall migration this morning at Pheasant Branch Conservancy - they are such beautiful birds. Jim O'Brien joined me as we stood at one location for about an hour and watched as birds came into our view. The winds seemed to be keeping them on the wing, but we did get some great looks at a pausing Nashville Warbler and Lincoln's Sparrow.



Jim mentioned he found a dead bird he wasn't able to identify further up the gravel road. On our way out we stopped to take a look and found this deceased SORA. A power line directly above and the bird's bloodied face and bill told the sad tale. It was so close to good stop-over habitat at the marsh, but this bird's fall journey is over...forever. Sadder still...its death was completely unnecessary as the line it collided with terminates where a farmhouse used to be, but now stands only a field. I think I'll inquire about having the line removed.

With the cold front coming in, more birds will be on the move over the next few days. The idea of soras migrating stirs my imagination...like picturing a small flock of them in the quality of the movie "Winged Migration." With the great journey south there are many manmade dangers to these wonderful birds along the way. Their genetic hardwiring is much more than an act of faith, it's an assurance of what has been done before with success. The expense of technology and convenience doesn't just end with our utility bills.

Above images © Michael Allen McDowell

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