Sunday, March 24, 2013

Birds with attitude!

And you thought "Angry Birds" was just a game

I've never seen a reality TV show. If it weren't for long supermarket check-out lines leaving me with nothing to do but scan the tabloid headlines, I wouldn't know Snooki from a Kardashian. But still, I have a mental image of what reality shows must be like. I picture lots of swaggering, fighting, preening, jealousy, sulking and all-around attitude.

In other words, I picture birds. As my walk at Weldon Springs park in DeWitt County, IL, yesterday demonstrated, birds can have as much attitude as any reality show diva.

The drama began at the bird feeders, where a certain mourning dove was hogging all the food.

This really ticked off a certain grackle, who stalked around giving the dove angry looks for several minutes. However, the grackle's ire was no match for the dove's appetite, so soon the grackle stalked off in disgust.

The dove's gluttony caught the eye of a passing blue jay, who stared down at the proceedings with disapproval.

As the dove took no notice of him, he flew down to make his point more clear.

Really, can't the mourning dove get the point?

Meanwhile, a house finch and an American goldfinch were arguing about who was prettier, the goldfinch proclaiming that the only reason the house finch was putting on airs is because the goldfinch isn't in his beautiful yellow breeding plumage yet.

The nuthatch had heard enough; he was taking off.

Only the dark eyed junco was unaffected by the proceedings. They seem like such peaceful little birds.

After observing all this attitude at the bird feeders for several minutes, I decided to stroll around the lake trail. But as it turned out, the waterfowl were just as bad.

Even before I got within view of the water, a Canada goose threw his head back at the sight of me, honking in alarm.

On the water, buffleheads, northern shovelers and ring-necked ducks appeared to be enjoying themselves, diving and bobbing across the lake.

But what's this? One bufflehead gets in a snit and heads further down the water.

Joining a different group of water birds, he begins to flap and preen, trying to convince them of his importance.

Meanwhile, a bit further down the trail, I stop to admire a preening Canada goose. He (or she) is trying to make him (or her) self as beautiful as can be.

Meanwhile, their mate notices me checking out Mr. or Mrs. Goose, and gives me the stink eye.

Too much drama on the water! I decided to head into the woods, where I found a publicity-shy American woodcock, who scurried away before I could get a good photo, as though I were the most annoying of paparazzi. Sadly, this is probably the best look I have ever had of a woodcock; usually I am lucky to get a quick glimpse of their tailfeathers as they take off in a panic.

A bit further down the trail, a male northern cardinal was not shy at all, repeatedly flinging back his head and proclaiming, "I am the best!"

And a rusty blackbird showed that they can be angry, too.

And even the mammals got in on the attitude. This deer glances my way..."Who are you lookin' at?"

"Whatever...I'm outta here!"

Who knew the animal kingdom was full of so much drama? Well, I hope you enjoyed this bit of silliness as much as I did. In the meantime, my camera and I aren't going anywhere, as central Illinois is being hit with a late March snowstorm, the first I've encountered my ten years of living here.

I expect this kind of thing from my home state of Michigan...but WTF, Illinois? It's supposed to be spring now!

1 comment:

  1. I just love this post! Made me grin from ear to ear. I have a mourning dove that likes to hang out all afternoon in the middle of the tray feeder. She snacks and snoozes and hogs the whole tray, while other birds screech and squawk at her. I've even seen some land right on top of her, only to be supremely ignored. But when it comes to loud and obnoxious, no one can beat my Wiggy-bird! Great photo of the woodcock; I'm so envious. What a good look you got. MOM