Like the guys in the movie, my son has lists. He has a yearly list, to tally all the birds he sees in a year, a Maine list, to tally all the birds he sees here, and a lifer list, of all the individual birds he's seen ever. He may have a yard list, too...Anyway, there's a listserve for Maine (and probably other states as well or something like it) which alerts birders to unusual birds that may have ventured out of their normal range. Like the Swainson's Hawk, which is 'a common sight over grasslands of the Great Plains and the west, but only in summer: every autumn, most individuals migrate to southern South America. Although Swainson's Hawk is big enough to prey on rodents, snakes, and birds (and does so, while it is raising young), at most seasons it feeds heavily on large insects instead. Flocks are often seen sitting on the ground in fields where there are many grasshoppers or caterpillars (courtesy of Audubon.org).'
The important fact here is that that this hawk primarily resides west of the Mississippi and migrates to South America. Not Maine. But there he was hanging out at the Millinocket Airport.
|A Juvenile Swainson's Hawk|
My son drove two and a half hours to get this bird, and the picture, which brings his yearly count to 191 different birds seen in Maine this year. A personal best, I might add. Also a pretty awesome bird to get in Maine :)
Here's what the adult Swainson's Hawk looks like -
So. There's your bird lesson for the day. I should also mention that Dianne, Krytalyn, and I are still doing First Impressions (we've cut back to one submission per month) so if you have a first page you'd like critiqued by three authors, email me and you can have November's spot :)
Finally, Pumpkinfest fast approaches, and I will be making my annual walk into to town to photograph them. For those who think this whole pumpkin decorating thing is silly, here's a reminder how creative these decorators can be:
Have a fabulous week :)