Hungry Hawk

As soon as I stepped out the door for a walk this morning, I heard a lot of crows making a huge racket down the street. They were perched on a telephone pole, flying up and swooping around like they were trying to scare off a hawk.

Of course I walked toward them to see what was going on.

A telephone pole with at least 15 crows perched on the cross piece and wires, seen from below with the wires and crosspiece forming diagonals.

By the time I reached the end of the block, the crows had given up and flown off. But I noticed people were out in their front yards looking up at a tree. It turns out the crows had been trying to scare off a hawk that had killed a pigeon and settled into the tree to eat it. At first I could only see the occasional feather raining down, until I moved to where I could see through a gap in the branches. Continue reading

Odd Geese

Two geese standing near a pond, grooming themselves, their necks at weird angles and lined up so it looks like they're one long...something.

Grooming geese: Nature’s panorama fail.

Seriously, though, I was determined to get some decent photos of these two geese because they are unusual. They’re clearly Canada Geese in terms of body shape and the pattern of markings. But every other goose of this type that I’ve seen has had white patches on the sides of the head, not brown patches, and lighter colored wings.

I uploaded the photos to iNaturalist, and since iNat’s AI didn’t have any better suggestions for species, I tagged them with the Branta genus. (Observations: one goose and another goose.) Someone who knows more about geese than I do suggested they might be hybrids, or they might be Canada Geese with a mutation.

I’ll have to keep an eye out for this pair the next time I’m there. I know a lot of the waterfowl use it as a migration stop, but I’m pretty sure some of the ducks and geese live there year-round.