In the Gutter

On Fridays, I usually clean the aviaries at the Ark. Today, we had two new pelican patients and one on the way. It does not appear to be a good time for pelicans at the moment. The good news is that the loon was released. That is the loon that attacked my hand and taught me a valuable lesson about dealing with birds that use their bills as weapons.

As I was leaving the Ark, Regis texted that Squeak (our recently released killdeer) was hanging out in the street gutters near our house and I should look out for him when I got home. When I arrived on our street, I found Squeak in the street gutter at the house next to us. It was actively looking for food. When Regis realized the bird was hanging out in the gutters, he put some mealworms in the gutter. He also put the tray of mealworms out front where Squeak was more likely to find it. For several hours after coming home, we could see Squeak in the gutter or on the sidewalk. It flew away whenever a car came, so it was being safe. I would like to see it lift itself up and get out of the gutter. I suppose every kid has to find their own way, but I would like to encourage the little bird to be upwardly mobile and start hanging around better places.

I worry about the releases making it through the first night on their own. I was thrilled to see the bird and it looks good. It appears to be getting food even though I prefer it hang out in a better place.

We had to move the woodpecker’s cage today. We are replacing all the carpet in the house with vinyl flooring that looks like wood. It can better handle sick dogs and wildlife messes. We had the woodpecker located in the first room to be redone because there was no furniture. Regis was ready to start installing today, so the bird had to move. Since it would be upset about the movement of its cage, we took the opportunity to harass it even more by grabbing it and checking out its wings to see if its feathers were growing in. The good news is that we could see the flight feathers growing in and it should only be a few more weeks before the bird can fly. The bad news is that the bird has pulled out every feather on its body. We had hoped to move the bird to the lanai. With no body feathers, it can not keep itself warm. It now lives in our dining room. I am certain that Pippen ( the woodpecker) will not like that location but it is what it is. Karen from the Ark thinks the body feathers will grow back quickly. Regis wondered if the bird detected adhesive on the feathers and therefore removed them all. The bird was found with a sticky substance all over it and lost wing feathers in the process of removing the substance.

People put out sticky traps for insects, mice, and rats. The sticky substance often attracts bugs which attracts birds. The birds get stuck in the adhesive and often do not survive. I have my fingers crossed that we can get this bird through the next few weeks and let it go free.

I love our street and all the wildlife we see here. Regis wandered the street taking pictures the other day while I was kayaking. He got pictures of the hooded mergansers that we often see in the winter. They are a joy to watch as they dive for food, take baths, and preen themselves. Dart is happy to lay down next to me on the edge of the pond while I watch the mergansers.

Hooded mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus).

The white pelicans also show up in the winter. They hang out in a large flock on the intracoastal waterway which we can barely see from our house. Every so often, we see them fly overhead.

American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

I have been birding regularly on our street since we moved in almost two years ago. Our street is 3/4 of a mile and has 4 ponds, one of which has a higher salinity level. We have wetlands (swamp) across the street and the marsh behind us. With the variety of habitats, we get a variety of birds. I use the eBird app on my phone to record what I see. I recently did an analysis and saw that I had 257 checklists (bird lists) over the last two years and saw 87 different species of birds. That is why I love this place. The winter residents will begin to leave soon and it is always sad to see them go. During migration, we have opportunities to see some interesting birds that pass through briefly. The white pelicans will be replaced with swallow-tailed kites. Soon, our resident birds will begin nesting. Each season brings its own gifts of the day.

One Comment on “In the Gutter

  1. Little did you know that when you moved from Medio,you would be living in an estuary bird paradise!….Now you are the safe keeper of the flock! Saint Linda of Rio del Norte…. Hey, it has a nifty ring to it!😇

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    Liked by 1 person

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