This summer has been interesting since I started birding. One Sunday we went on an afternoon drive. As we crested the hill just past our house, we saw a Broad-winged Hawk on a telephone pole. This did not surprise me because I had been hearing them screaming occasionally from our backyard. We stopped and watched our feathered friend for awhile. He was perched very erectly and turned his head back and forth watching intently for prey on the ground.
We drove on and came to a pond where I had often seen waterfowl when we were on our way to school. Sometimes we saw blue herons or ducks.
“What’s that?” asked Dad.
There was a big white heron-like bird with a bright yellow beak standing in the water at the edge of the pond.
“Not sure,” I replied.
When we got home, I looked in the field guide, and my suspicions were confirmed. It was a Great Egret! The next several weeks as we went by on our way to school, we saw our waterfowl friend various times. It seemed he must have been migrating though, because one day he was gone, and I haven’t seen him since.
Another Sunday evening our family was enjoying a picnic at Hibernia Park. As we ate our picnic supper, we noticed a bird that was acting very strangely. It would hop around on the ground and screech and hop some more. Then it flew to a low branch and screeched. Soon it flew to a fence post and flapped its wings and screeched again.
We saw a park ranger observing it as well. Dad told me to ask the park ranger about the bird. I was a little bit hesitant at first, but Dad said he would go with me if I did the talking. I asked the ranger about the bird, and she said it was a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk. She said the juveniles don’t quite know how to act yet. They act a little like teenagers. I had thought it maybe was a Red-tailed Hawk, but this one did not have a red tail yet, so I wasn’t sure until I talked to the park ranger.
Birds are such an interesting part of creation to observe—all sizes, shapes, and colors! I look forward to watching more birds in the future and seeing what new ones I can add to my list.