Thursday, February 19, 2009

City Birds





It's tough being a birder when you work in a large city. The birds you yearn to see when you can take your eyes away from the computer are no where to be found. The birds that make you wince when they come to your feeders are abundant and everywhere. Or at least this is what I thought a couple of weeks ago.



It started with the exciting sighting of the falcon. Hmmmmm, I thought......I wonder if there are any other gems out there I have yet to discover.

And there I found it. A lone robin on a crab apple tree at the Worcester Common. I have worked in downtown Worcester for over 15 years now and had never seen a robin anywhere in the downtown area. Of course, I have never actively looked for one either so that may be why. It would make sense that they would be here considering all of the crab apple trees the city planted in an effort to beautify the downtown area.


Here we see the dreaded house sparrow. One thing I do have to say about these birds is that they are not at all afraid of people. I decided to test their bravery while taking these pictures. I got closer to these birds than I have any other birds since birding. They went about their business as I stood only a few feet away from them and clicked away.


This one here is eating kale that is in one of the planters. The male sat there for about 5 minutes munching away. I couldn't help but feel pity for the poor bird who had to roost next to him that evening.




Another picture of the magnificent falcon. The king bird of the city as far as I'm concerned. He is a falcon with a capital F.


A couple of people have asked me why the falcons find a downtown area so appealing. There are quite a few factors at play here.

1: The city has skyscrapers and nesting areas that suit their needs.

2: For the most part, downtown Worcester is predator free as far as I know. You will not find any owls, foxes or other animals that would find falcon a tasty meal.

3: Most significant is the large availability of food. One of their favorite meals are pigeons and as you can see the pigeons in the city are very well fed by well meaning people waiting for their bus.


I have also seen a couple of red tailed hawks downtown about 10 days ago. I have been looking for them since, but have not had any luck. I am hoping they will be back though so I can get some pictures.


It will be interesting to see what other birds I can find once spring comes. I am going to try and bird at least once a week during my lunch hour and make my own little check list to see what I can find. Who says city birding can't be fun! ;o)

Do any of you have any notable birds in your downtown area? I would be curious to know what kind of birds make the city their home.

Happy Friday everyone!!





26 comments:

Jayne said...

It does seem common to see the falcons in downtown areas on skyscrapers. Those huge pigeons would indeed be a nice food source. The only birds I see downtown are the house sparrows as they'll adapt anywhere. There are tons of them living in and around the parking garage where I park.

Kelly said...

...classic falcon photo on the capital F! We have robins on our crabapples at the office also, and the house sparrows are cute and cheery in the city. I live about 25 miles away from downtown Cincy, so I'm out of the loop, but they have had falcons there. I'll have to look into our city birds (maybe a field trip when the weather warms up!).

Mildred said...

Such beautiful pictures today and I look forward to your searches during your lunch break. The robin in the crabapple is a great photo. Enjoy your weekend.

MaineBirder said...

There are still crabapples left?! Our crabapples were cleaned out in a couple of days back in early January when wandering Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings showed up. I estimated the flock at 125 birds.

Love the Falcon on the "F"!

Annie said...

What an interesting blog!

Great sky watch photos below..I stayed to read most of the posts on this page...you have me quite interested in birdwatching!! I really enjoy the birds that come to my yard, and know quite a few, but not enough!

Annie

ps Thanks for visitng my skywatch today!

madcobug said...

Great photos. I very seldom go downtown but I know there are pigeons and sparrows. Helen

Steve B said...

HI Kim, this is a great piece. I'm liking the sparrow shots and good for you for shooting a Rock Dove. Never pass up a good bird posing!

Grace and Bradley said...

Beautiful pictures of the bird. nice to hear from someone also from massachuesetts. Thanks for visiting our blog. have a nice weekend.

Ruth said...

A Peregrine has been seen in our downtown, but it is not nesting. Other than that we have plenty of seagulls (mostly ring-billed), HOSPs, pigeons, doves, crows and the Coopers/SS hawks. They all seem to have adapted well to urban life. The Robins are not back yet.

Cam said...

City birding looks fun to me - especially those fun photos of them on building letters (thumbs up)! And I bet it's a nice change of pace to your day (I worked in Boston for five years :)

Shelly said...

Ha! Love the Capital Letter F photo. I don't visit our downtown as often as I once did but we have 3 rivers and one large creek that all join downtown at The Great Miami River. We always have gulls flying around. We saw ring billed gulls last weekend while passing through on the highway. I'll have to make a trip downtown soon to see what else I can find.

jeff said...

howdee Kallen,
I love that you are doing birding on your work breaks. Maybe you will discover some cool migrant or rare birdie for your area.

jeff said...

Kallen,
the last comment and this one might confuse you...but this is Dawn from Dawns bloggy blog..
I am on my husbands computer...
His name is Jeff...
anyway...he does look at your blog from time to time..and sometimes I read him some of your posts which he enjoys..

John Theberge said...

Great photos, I saw some robins on my neighbors crab apple tree the other day. I remember when I was a kid you never saw a robin in the winter.

Craig Glenn said...

City birding is awesome. All of my birds are from the greater Orlando area. I too was amazed by all the wildlife I find in the city.

Craig

Janie said...

I've heard of falcons hanging out in cities, and there are certainly lots of pigeons almost everywhere. Salt Lake City has an abundance of sea gulls -- because of the Great Salt Lake, I assume, because there's certainly no other sea nearby. One has to beware of getting pooped on from above in parking lots!
I love your robin in the crabapple photo. Beautiful.

Elaine Dale said...

It's amazing what we can see once our eyes have been opened! Here's a site you might enjoy: http://palemale.com

Titania said...

the bird pictures are so beautiful. I love the robin with the crab apples which look in your photo like an expensive veil draped over the tree. What a great picture.
In about "me" you said that you discovered nature. As closer you get as more thrilling it gets and nature is nothing like anything else you always find solace in it.

Deborah Godin said...

That F for falcon shot is a classic!!

Abe Lincoln said...

You still managed to get some really nice shots of these birds. The robin is doing what it does best in the winter. Nice photos.

My Skywatch Post

NCmountainwoman said...

I love the Robin. And the House Sparrow looks every bit as evil as he really is. Nice post.

Kallen305 said...

Thanks all.

Yes, I loved the F for falcon too!

Elaine, what a FANTASTIC web page. Gorgeous hawk photos in a downtown area. It makes me want to get a scope even more! LOL!

ramblingwoods.com said...

LOL...on the house sparrow with gas... Michelle

Larry Jordan said...

Great stuff Kallen. The Peregrine on the letter "F" is priceless. And that is one of the fattest pigeons I have ever seen! No wonder those falcons like to live in our cities, with prime meals like that!

Mary said...

Love the falcon with an F! City birds seem to find their niche just like others. You don't see the great variety that you find at home because of lack of habitat and cover and food, but there are definitely hardy types who will take the hustle and bustle and make do.

Leedra said...

The falcon on the capital F. Think he knows he is one the F.

I agree once we are birders we see birds that were around us all along. I eyes were not on the look out for them.

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