Friday, March 5, 2010

Hawks on the Highway

I spent the day driving east for a meeting in Michigan.

The worst part of the trip was driving through Chicago.  The best part - spotting dozens of Red-tailed Hawks along the interstates:  perching on wires, poles, tree tops, signs, barns, limbs, bridges, light posts and fences.   Only one looked like the illustration on the cover of Sibley's guide.  I was awed by the plumage variations.

Unfortunately, I had plans - so I had to be content "just looking."  I didn't have time to stop along the way and photograph them.

It must be spring in the upper midwest - I got a great look (great for going 60mph) at a pair of red-tails sharing a limb overlooking I-80 in northern Indiana.  They were about to do something "social" as I whizzed by.  (Check out the spring hawk watch at Whitefish Point)

I don't remember ever seeing so many flocks of crows, perched in trees, seemingly just hanging out.

And I saw my "first of the year" flock of starlings do their amazing aerial flight - flying in a tight ball formation, expanding and contracting with no apparent leader or communication.  It's like watching the bats fly out of Carlesbad Caverns at night - how do they fly so fast, so close, without having one out-of-step creature causing a crash?

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