May 2018

by Patti Muzny

Our natural world is such a fascinating phenomenon. It always amazes me what can be experienced when we are aware of our surroundings. Actually, fascinating experiences can happen when we
aren’t all that aware!

As I was walking past our den windows on my way out the door to head for work, something flew from our side yard fence about window height, and briefly hovered directly in front of the patio. We have an abundance of Eurasian Collared Doves and White-winged Doves and they shuttle back and forth across the yard many times a day. After a second or two, my morning-fogged brain made the observation that this bird was NOT one of our ubiquitous doves, but a Kestrel!! In the 11 years of living in this house, I don’t think a Kestrel has ever made our yard list. We have Mississippi Kites, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks, Sharp-shined Hawks and Cooper’s Hawks, but never a Kestrel. It had flown from the fence and briefly hovered in the unique manner in
which a Kestrel will do, directly above the lawn before continuing across the yard. A few minutes earlier, a little flock of Chipping Sparrows and a Clay-collared Sparrow or two had been feeding. What a great way to begin a morning!

On April 29th, the Muznys were spending the afternoon at our Byars cabin. The feeder still had seed available, so there was a lot of activity. While Painted and Indigo Buntings and Blue Grosbeaks nest there, I’ve never been lucky enough to be there when they were migrating through this area. There were Painted Buntings, Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, several Cardinals, White-throated
Sparrows, Lincoln’s Sparrows, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Chickadees, Titmice, and of course Brown-headed Cowbirds. In the trees we found Summer Tanagers, Black and White Warblers, Gnatcatchers and several vireo species.