Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Good, Bad and Ugly

The good...

I found a Bell's Vireo this morning at Pheasant Branch Conservancy.

The bad...

The weather was gorgeous, but I had less than an hour to enjoy it.

The ugly...

I took a video of a man throwing rocks at a Red-winged Blackbird.

The male Red-winged Blackbird was exhibiting typical aggressive territorial behavior, diving at joggers and walkers as they went by on the trail. Oddly, the bird specifically seemed to be targeting people wearing caps or hats. Sans cap, it did not bother me when I walked by. Slightly amused, I said to one victim, "Gee, how come I can't get that close to birds?" "That's because he knows you're after him!" came his good-humored reply. For a different man, though, the bird's aggressiveness was more than could be tolerated. This feisty blackbird would not get the best of him. When the guy came around the corner, I saw him pick up a handful of rocks from the gravel trail. I knew what was coming next. I quickly set my digiscoping rig to record video and captured a clip as the man unloaded his ammo on the bird. He continued to walk up the hill in my direction, unaware that I had captured video of his little tantrum. When he was within earshot I said, "That bird isn't going to hurt you." He just grumbled. I added, "And you probably shouldn't be throwing rocks at federally protected birds." He scoffed somewhat incredulously, "Oh really? That thing is protected?" Marching off, he mumbled something about the bird being there whenever he walks the trail, causing me to surmise something of a history between a man and a bird.

© 2008 Mike McDowell

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