16 November 2019 Rockport, Maine, USA 

Food-caching Corvids

November 14th, 2019
Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 14 November 2019.
Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay (on the back deck).

One thing I’ve noticed out here in the Mountain West is that the local corvids have a serious urge to cache morsels of food. I refer specifically to Black-billed Magpies and Woodhouse’s Scrub-jays. More than once I’ve watched a magpie bury an acorns in my front yard, then come back fifteen minutes later and dig it up again. And I’ve seen scrub-jays carrying peanuts (no doubt supplied by humans) all over the place, looking for the ideal place to stow them for later.

The jays in particular seem most driven to cache. They’re nearly always carrying a nut or seed in their bills—at least in my observations so far. I’ve observed them stuff a peanut in a dark recess in a matt of thick vines on a fence. I’ve watched as they poke some tiny prize in a crack in the boards of my deck. Then they’ll pluck up little fallen leaf and appear to drop it above the crack, as if to hide their secret cache.

I never tire of it—watching these hard-won survival devices of birds. Ah, the wonders of evolution.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 10:15 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up the mountain.

1. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay*
2. Song Sparrow* (v)
3. House Finch*
4. Black-capped Chickadee**
5. Dark-eyed Junco
6. Downy Woodpecker
7. Northern Flicker** (v)
8. Black-billed Magpie
9. Lesser Goldfinch**

Elsewhere
10. Eurasian Collared Dove

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

Young Eagles

November 13th, 2019
Golden Eagle (immature), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, 13 November 2019.
Golden Eagle (immature).

Wonderful to hike with dog for the second straight day. A quiet hike to start—but then I spotted an immature eagle. Then another one, above it. The two circled for about three or four minutes up near the rocky outcrop where I usually see them.

That—and Jack being there, too—kind of made my day.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 10:30 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up the mountain.

1. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay*
2. Black-capped Chickadee**
3. House Finch*
4. Black-billed Magpie*
5. Golden Eagle
6. Northern Flicker** (v)
7. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)
8. Dark-eyed Junco**

Elsewhere
9. Eurasian Collared Dove
10. American Kestrel
11. Song Sparrow (v)
12. Rock Pigeon

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

Quail, etc.

November 12th, 2019
California Quail, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 12 November 2019.
California Quail (male).

Jack my dog got a clean bill of eye health this morning. Excellent healing of his corneal ulcer. So relieved. Plus, we got to hike together this midday.

Not many bird species on the mountainside—although they did include a Canyon Wren sighting—but the little gang of quail showed up in the neighborhood, and a male perched on a bush and posed for photos.

Also, yet again, a little group of Yellow-rumped Warblers (Audubon’s) flitted through the trees outside my office window.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 12 p.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up the mountain.

1. House Finch** (v)
2. Black-capped Chickadee**
3. Dark-eyed Junco**
4. Canyon Wren
5. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
6. Black-billed Magpie

Elsewhere
7. Eurasian Collared Dove
8. California Quail
9. Rock Pigeon
10. Yellow-rumped Warbler

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

 
Bird Report is an intermittent record of what's outside my window in Rockport, Maine, USA (44°08'N latitude, 69°06'W longitude), and vicinity. —Brian Willson



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