Thursday, August 20, 2009

Queensbury Lunchtime Observations

So during my new job lunch breaks, I go outside to eat at the picnic table. I won't lie, I kind of miss working 2nd shift already because of the morning hours it leaves me free. But one must do what one has to due to external circumstances!

I do not work in a very environmentally friendly area. It's a spot with tons of apartment complexes built right on top of old fields. The bits that are left are full of goldenrod and whatever purple loosestrife-like flowers that are out there - very pretty! So the picnic table faces a tiny parking lot (where I park) and all these complexes. So I'm of course seeing plenty of American goldfinches (I'm certainly not complaining, I love listening to them chatter to each other, it sounds like they're gossiping) and house sparrows. Some people dislike house sparrows because they are introduced and will destroy nesting efforts of more desirable birds, but they're still cute and fun to watch because they're so highly social. I get a kick out of watching them fight over food, and juveniles and females chasing the males away, and yesterday they were hiding near a jeep when someone came out of the building nearby, spooking them. Usually birds flying into manmade objects is really sad, but the 10 or so birds that bumped into the windows and side of the jeep in an attempt to fly away from the human cracked me up, as they were totally fine.

Today I got quite the surprise though. Out I go, at the table, unleashing my sandwich, not expecting to see anything exciting. I start hearing a familiar call - a pileated woodpecker! In the trees right about one of the complexes! I kept an eye on the location and saw the woodpecker fly around the spot, looking like a small hawk. I was elated. A coworker came out around that point and said, "What the heck is that noise, it's so weird!" I told her and she was amazed to find out it was a woodpecker, a very large one at that. My coworkers don't quite seem to understand my fascination with birds, but they are accepting. Another one got a kick out of my story about the blue-headed vireo pooping on my head recently.


Woodswalker said...

Those pileated woodpeckers have no fear! I saw one working away on a tree in front of my inner-city house, and I could have reached up and pulled its tail because it completely ignored my presence.

I love reading your birding adventures. As with the wildflowers that pop up between the sidewalk cracks, the birds are everywhere, if only we would look.

I found a baby bird this week and don't know what it is. Could you visit my blog
and venture a guess?

Lindsey said...

I left a comment on the day of your blog where the baby bird photo is! :) I noticed I tossed in a genus other commenters didn't think of. ;)

That interests me about the pileateds, I always think of them as inner woodland birds rather than being bold and unafraid of humans and manmade structures, but there they are! I love it when birds get that close. I could reach out and pet the chickadees here if I truly desired.

Birds certainly are everywhere! They even hang out inside Lowe's! I love following house sparrows around the trees in the garden department. What intrigues me is how people not really interested in nature actually have blind spots regarding things like birds and wildflowers. There could be a bird right in front of them, and they won't "see" it. The only exceptions seem to be gulls ("They'll eat my French fries!"), ducks ("They'll eat my bread!"), and Canada geese ("They'll try to eat my eyes/butt/fingers if I get too close!").