at the Delaney Project in Stow. The holes are about the same diameter
as a nickel.
Can you identify what made them?
We (formerly Nashaway Trackers) are a group of loosely connected nature lovers who enjoy sharing our observations and discoveries about the fauna and flora of the northeastern US. Most of us are especially interested in mammal tracks and sign, but we also post about birds, insects, plants, etc.
I learned that after the young fledge, osprey families continue to use
the nest site for reunions for weeks before abandoning it entirely.
During the first few days of our stay, there were three of them, all
strong fliers, hanging around the nest, making a lot of noise. (They did
not obey "no more screeching!" in case anyone was wondering.) By our
final day, only one at a time would quietly return, every now and again,
as if to reminisce.
Unbelievable? All of that happened.....but we had to imagine that these
animals were wild. We rented a house just upstream from a wildlife
rehab center, where the howling wolves reside. It was fun to picture a
pack singing joyously to the moon after a fine cervid meal, but such
imaginings were sometimes interrupted by a woman yelling "no more
howling!"...And, so like dogs, the wolves would stop!
I fancied myself a duck whisperer, until we visited the rehab center,
and met a suspiciously similar looking pair of ducks who were so
friendly that I had to be careful not to step on them. They had just
been released, we were told, and keep coming back to the rehab center
looking for food.
The photos are from our final day. We were packing up the car, when I
spotted the kestrel on a branch about 20 feet above us. I was stunned
at how calm and still he was as I frantically snapped photo after photo,
expecting him to vanish at any moment. But then we remembered the rehab
center and noticed that something appeared to be wrong with one leg.
And then a wing didn't look quite right. And then we noticed the little
strap hanging from his leg. And so we were not surprised to see that
his flight wasn't quite normal when he made his way towards a shrub at
the side of the driveway. Initially, however, we were astonished to see
the merlin swoop towards the kestrel and pursue him among the trees.
The merlin gave up and flew up onto the house when the kestrel landed on
the ground a few feet away from us, trembling. I carried the poor
creature down to the rehab center and asked if they were missing a
kestrel. Indeed, he had slipped out that morning when someone went in
to clean his cage.
Finally, our excitement over a close encounter with a merlin was
deflated when the rehabber asked what kind of hawk it was that pursued
the little kestrel. "Was it him?" he asked, pointing to a merlin
perched on the top of his old cage. "We just released him a few days
ago, and he keeps coming back."
I found the roost in the 3rd photo one morning while kayaking the
Ausable River in the Adirondacks of NY. Notice the bird at lower left,
with spread wings. It is said that they do this to dry the wings, warm
the body, and bake off bacteria.