Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Ying and Yang

Well, winter is back with a vengeance. With the temps hovering in the low teens and twenties, an increase in bird activity at the feeders has been seen. (Thanks to the Ohio Asssociation of Garden Clubs for generous donations of bird seed and suet!) All the common "feeder" birds can be seen along with Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied woodpeckers and Common Flickers. Two northern species which have migrated to Ohio for the winter are the Northern Junco and the Pine Siskin. Juncos are often referred to as snowbirds, because of there typical appearance with the first snow or cold spell. Siskins are small finchlike birds that often flock with the American Goldfinch in the winter. They are streaked with brown and have a yellow wing bar. They are particularly drawn to areas with Hemlock trees , a relect from their breeding grounds in Canada. But these birds have anything but breeding on the minds right now. It's all about survival and finding enough food to main boby temperature. But yesterday at dusk, a familar sound did hint at the fact that some birds are already in the midst of the breeding season. The haunting five note call of the Great Horned Owl. At least two owls were carrying on quite the conversation a short distance from the nature center. Female great horns will begin incubation in late January or early February. Young hatch in early spring when prey items are also becoming more active. We have found an active nest with youngs several times over the past few years. A preferred site in on a sheltered rock ledge high up on a sandstone cliff. So there you have it a little ying along with a little yang. Together they make up the circle of life!

TS

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