Hello Fellow birdwatchers,
Yesterday afternoon I was taking care of two young kids in Hinesburg that live along the boundary of Cedar Knoll Golf Course. They begged me to take them birding, so off we went with their leashed pug, Moose. The four-year-old proudly wore the over-sized necklace of the family’s binoculars. He’d scan the trees and sky in hopes that a random bird would appear on the other side of the glasses. But there was little to see, so we focused on listening. Softly, for just their ears, I’d play recordings so they could hear what I was trying to point out to them in the distant woods: Ovenbird, Black-throated Green, Bluebird, Cardinal, Robin, Great Crested Flycatcher.....(gray tree frog)! I knew when they connected with the live singing birds the instant their faces lit up. It’s just as rewarding for me as when a young kid looks into a scope, watching the moment they get on a bird. There is something magical when a species can be identified, making it seem more real, more alive. Kids really need this in their lives.
The highlight of the outing, for me at least, was watching two animals that clearly were interacting. To us, it looked like a game of tag! A crow and a rabbit were along the edge of the golf course. The crow, on the ground, was about ten feet away from the rabbit. The rabbit would hop right AT the crow, veering left or right to stay with the bird when it jumped up and flapped a few beats to move slightly, like a kid avoiding getting tagged. The bird would then fly up or off a short distance. There would be a moment of calm, like a face off, with the animals just staring at each other before the next round. Next the crow would be “it:” gliding right AT the rabbit and practically landing on it. The rabbit wouldn’t move until the last possible second! We narrated, “tag, you’re it!” These maneuvers continued, back and forth, as if they were taking turns. It went on this way for about ten minutes and it was the one good chance the kids had with the binoculars. Eventually the crow flew into the woods but the rabbit lingered in the open and we were able to quietly walk by.