12 February 2008

A Bird in the Hand

To celebrate my 30th birthday, Stephanie Cobbold and I took off from school around noon to go birding. We started with a loop around the Benson Marina area which produced only about a dozen or two Horned Larks with nothing else mixed in. Perhaps partly explaining the shortage was a single Peregrine Falcon which was perched on the ground, feeding on something until we scared it off.

The Bear River as it goes under Highway 30 was finally open (it was frozen over as recently as Sunday), and had attracted a smattering of gulls (all Ring-billed Gulls and California Gulls as far as we could tell) along with some Gadwall. While checking the other side of the road for more birds, I found a Barn Owl in the reeds. We soon realized that it had a broken wing; presumably the bird had been hit by a car. I captured it and we took it to a vet that rehabilitates wildlife.

From there, we went to the Logan Landfill where we could also only find California and Ring-billed Gulls (we have seen a Mew Gull and at least one Herring Gull in the area in the last week). Then we drove up to Spring Hollow Campground above Third Dam in Logan Canyon and took about a 2 mile round-trip hike. The hike wasn't too productive: our total list here included about 15 Cedar Waxwings, one Townsend's Solitaire, one Belted Kingfisher, one Green-winged Teal, one adult Golden Eagle, and about six Common Goldeneye. Although our total list of species for the day probably wouldn't be too impressive (if I were to actually write it out), the day will be memorable not only for adding two new species to my year list, Peregrine Falcon and Barn Owl, but especially because one of the new species was in the hand! After the birds had been entertaining me for the last month and a half, it was nice to be able to do something to help a bird.

No comments: