More on Presqu'ile woodcocks

Doug McRae rdmcrae at sympatico.ca
Wed Apr 9 01:53:08 EDT 2003


Hi Ontbirders,

With the week of cold about to end I thought I would pass on some more
woodcock info from Presqu'ile.  Since my 5 April posting (7 live, 1
dead) I have made a few trips to the same sites to see how the woodcocks
faired in this prolonged cold snap, and I get the feeling they didn't do
well.  On 6 April I saw nine live birds in 1.5 hours, plus one dead.
None looked perky and the two that flushed didn't seem to go up with the
usual vigor.  The dead bird was on lying on its side at the edge of a
ditch and was totally starved - the keel of the sternum projects like a
knife blade - but otherwise appeared unharmed.  Today (8 Apr) I went
around checking many of the same sites and saw only three birds - two of
which had drooping wings and didn't look good, although I realize health
can be difficult to assess from observation only.  I have to wonder if
the "missing" woodcocks are now dead.  I guess the genes to get north
first took a substantial hit this year.  If it warms up tomorrow as
promised, there will be no more concentrating influences and the
surviving birds will disperse.

On a brighter note, I saw a beautiful, crisp looking adult Northern
Shrike at the Beach 2 road today (8 Apr.) as well - likely one of the
last of this winter.

Finally, thanks to the several people who alerted me that my computer
date was wrong - I now have a new battery and am back in the present
day!

Cheers,

Doug McRae

Doug McRae <rdmcrae at sympatico.ca>



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