I don’t know what the ethical status of Red-tailed Hawks is compared to Bald Eagles (which Ben Franklin considered ‘a Bird of bad moral character’) but this guy at the Albany Pine Bush knew just what what this flagpole needed.
I looked up the quotation, and the whole passage is so delightful I had to copy it here. In a letter to his daughter, Franklin said:
“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
With all this injustice, he is never in good case but like those among men who live by sharping & robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our country…
“I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/american-myths-benjamin-franklins-turkey-and-the-presidential-seal-6623414/#BKU4Qei2PYMQ18Io.99
I decided to check out some of the outlying areas of the Albany Pine Bush that I hadn’t visited before. It was a perfect day for a walk, and the lupines were in bloom.
I looked at the spot off Lincoln Ave where the Red-headed Woodpeckers were last year. No one had reported seeing them so far, but it’s always worth a try for such striking birds. No luck, but I watched these guys soak up the sun before catching a thermal. So sue me, I think Turkey Vultures are photogenic.
There’s a bird in here somewhere…
Oh! There he is! Well, that wasn’t very helpful at all!
Take my word to it — it’s a Red-eyed Vireo.
Indigo Buntings weren’t any more cooperative so I put down the camera and just enjoyed their blue lightning glow in the sun as they flashed in and out of cover.
This Eastern Phoebe posed with its breakfast — a huge long legged horrifying spider. Go Phoebe!
Categories: bird behavior, Bird photos, Field trip, insects, scenery
Tags: albany pine bush, bird behavior, bird photos, birds, come closer dammit I can't see your field marks, spiders, Turkey Vultures
I was planning a silly post about Grumpy Birding, the days when I’m just not into it, but things got rather crappy on my walk and I thought I’d rather write about everything I did wrong.
- I decided to bird the Albany Pine Bush for migrating warblers. It can be ticky there, so I wore lightweight long pants. That would have been a good idea, except that
- I checked the weather forecast, but didn’t process it. Somehow I thought the 5 – 10 mph breeze would compensate for a temperature of 93°F and dew point topping out at 77°. It didn’t. Heat index of 105° just didn’t register. It was oppressive already when I got out of the car, so
- I was too lazy to cross the parking lot to refill my water bottle. Not only did I not have anything to drink or cool myself with when I was feeling woozy, but
- Because I didn’t enter the visitor center, I didn’t check the trail map. I thought I remembered the Yellow trail was the short loop. I was wrong so
- Instead of walking a mile, I walked 3 1/2 miles, the last mile across fields. Between 11:00 and 1:00. 93°F. 77° dew point (seriously, I didn’t think it was possible for the dewpoint to get that high around here). Heat index: 105°. In long pants. With no water.
- Did I mention I left my phone in the car?
About the only intelligent thing I did all day was remember bug spray, since the mosquitos were biting right through my sweat-soaked and clinging clothes.
And to top it off, the birds had better sense than I did, so the woods and fields were almost silent.
Here’s an American Redstart. That’s as exciting as it got today. Things should be cooler and more productive this weekend. And with luck I’ll remember to bring my brains with me.
Species count was only about 20 including Black-throated Green Warblers, an adult Bald Eagle and one American Kestrel, plus some unidentifiable flitters high above me. Arthropod count = 0. Thank god, I don’t think I could have dealt with ticks on top of everything else.