Without wires stringing them together, the newly erected power poles along Cow Bay Road are a grim sight. They remind me of the crucifixes Romans put up outside towns in ancient times. In these modern times, you’d think Nova Scotia Power would have the sense to bury their cable. No. Instead, we have more skyscapes like this to to look forward to…
Even the fog can’t soften up their hard lines. The only locals who aren’t complaining are the birds.
Birds sitting on power lines are a common sight, especially in areas where trees are few and far between. These roosts give birds an opportunity to rest high above the ground out of harm’s way. I’ve even seen a ring-necked pheasant balance himself on a wire, though large birds have to be careful to not touch more than one wire with their wings and tails.
As long as birds cling to a wire with both feet, they can do so safely without risk of electrocution. Some, like the two mourning doves, shown above, can even use the wires for napping purposes. These doves frequently make their mournful cooing calls from the wires. Their calls travel throughout the neighborhood and sound especially haunting in the fog.
Most mornings, I see a kingfisher resting on the wires near the bridge behind Rainbow Haven park. Its silhouette is usually blurred by the fog. It scans the water below for fish and flies in a circle between frequent rests on the same wire. The spot must be an ideal vantage point for fishing purposes.
Over the years I’ve seen owls and other birds of prey taking inventory of the area below while sitting on wires. How nice for them. Considering our power rates are supposed to be going up (again) soon due to upgrades, and we’ll likely suffer outages in the near future due to high winds during hurricane season, these new poles and wires are definitely for the birds.
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Posted in Birds, tagged Birds, building, Canada - Nova Scotia, couples, doves, home, hummingbirds, nature, nests, robins, wild birds, wildlife, woodpeckers, wrens on May 9, 2009 |
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It’s not uncommon to find birds’ nests in my yard. A few years ago, I took an inventory and managed to count ten. I’ve found them resting on branches, in tree cavities and on the ground. Many last long after the nesting season is over, sometimes into the following year. They are sturdy and surprisingly well hidden. In order to take the above photo, I had to extend my arm above my head while reaching into a tree.
Different species of birds use a variety of techniques to build nests. What is most interesting is how different couples work together to get the job done. Here are some of the many ways that couples share the task.
- Males and females work together equally, ie. woodpeckers. (Thelma, would you hold this for me while I drill it?)
- The female selects and completes one of several sample nests made by the male, ie.wrens (I’m not 100% sure George, but I think this one will look best after I spruce it up a little. What do you think?).
- The male gathers nest-building materials and brings them to the female who builds the nest, ie. mourning doves (Here’s another piece of thread, darling).
- The female gathers the materials and builds the nest all by herself , ie. hummingbirds(Just get out of my way John. Can’t you see I’m working here? There’ll be time for that later).
- Both gather the materials but only the female builds the nest, ie. American robins (Ok Roger, the twig I found should fit, if you get me a smaller one to place beneath it).
- The female gathers the materials and brings them to the male who builds the nest (Nice lichens Dorothy. Are there any more where those came from?)
- The male gathers the materials and builds the nest all by himself, ie. some shrikes (You know what a perfectionist Mark is. He likes to take his time and get everything just right).
Regardless of ‘how’ the task is completed, nests are built annually, providing a stable shelter for offspring during inclement weather and safety from predators. Not all couples may share the task equally but all being results-oriented, they manage to get the job done on time and within budget. If only human couples could work so well together!
The above techniques are from The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of American Birds.
See here for a classified list of nests that may still be on the market this season.
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