Close encounters on the vineyard with avian fare from north and south:

by Lanny McDowell on April 21, 2009


There is something about a connection between bird feeders and a big glass sliding door that occasionally provides me with a handson experience involving accident-prone avian navigators, meaning a bird hits the glass every once in a blue moon.  If I happen to notice, I pick it up and encourage it to reexamine the idea of leaving the living zone and suggest resuming life on earth and just above it.

Birders who have a sense of trends in the birding world this winter are aware of the not ordinary numbers of pine siskins that have frequented our area, including Martha’s Vineyard, that have stayed late into the springtime and which may be setting up little homesteads locally where they are very infrequent nesters.  A couple of these tiny speedsters have been sharing my niger feeders with the goldfinch regulars.  Yesterday I found one prone on the groundlevel deck under the feeders looking lifeless, beaten by the odds of eating lunch in a one sided glass box.  It had the look of one that is not about to recover, limp and oddly shaped.

I picked it up and felt a small reaction in the legs and feet.  This seems often the case when an unconscious bird’s inner gyroscope wants it to be head up and feet down.  Being a little out of whack with gravity disturbs them enough to send wakeup signals to retrieve them out of shock.  The photos that follow demonstrate the successful recovery.  The ones that follow the siskin pictures are a bonus sighting from an Edgartown residential neighborhood where people with feeders had noticed that male cardinals are not the only bright red bird on the block.





Summer Tanagers sometimes overshoot their intended southern territories.  Their mistake is our gain.





Spring greens come late on the Vineyard, but beauty is where you find it.  The vernal waters that reflect this abstract forest will be gone by summer.


By the way, I am headed out to southeast Arizona for birding fun in the sun the next week or so.  I cannot really know  if blog posts from there are a likelihood.   The places we will go are not obvious good bets for internet hookup, but we shall see.   So stay tuned.  There will be bird photography going on in abundance; and those avian images will be shared with you all upon my return.

I have a list of folks who get an emailed notice from me with a URL to click on when I have posted a new blog.  There are also times when I just send out photos to the list without bothering to blog about them or post them to a listserve.  Not on the list?  Want to be? Just contact me (below right) saying you want to be on the list or, better yet,  subscribe to Feedburner above, in the right side column for automatic blog feeds to your email.  Getting off the list is just as simple.

These images and Avian Art fine art prints are available for purchase. Contact me or View my gallery.

Birds are cool!  Lanny

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Soo 04.21.09 at 9:23 am

Have fun in the sun in Arizona. Great shots of Summer Tanager. Good thing you had clean nails for the Pine Siskin recovery shots.


Lanny McDowell 04.21.09 at 9:45 am

I am very psyched about birding southeast AZ and coming back with new bird photos. The RBA out of Tucson (BIRDWG05@LISTSERV.ARIZONA.EDU) has, as usual, some real goodies, like Blue Mockingbird, the Sinaloa Wren, a new ABA area find, Clark’s Nutcracker, plus all sorts of flycatchers.

Have a ball in the Dry Tortugas! You will. How can you lose with Flip’s experienced weather eye?

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