Gyrfalcon and the Family

Whoo Hoo, our earliest migrant is back in Minnesota, the horned lark! I actually took this photo on Monday in Connecticut but yesterday while toodling around Dakota County I flushed quite a few flocks along the road.

I was trying to go see the gyrfalcon that has been hanging around south of the metro area. There are a couple of fields where thousands of mallards and Canada geese come in to feed late in the afternoon and the falcon likes to hunt them. There are some great videos of the gyr at the MOU website. One in particular is of the falcon eating a mallard while surrounded by thousands of live mallards. Periodically the gyr will lunge towards the flock, spooking them into the air. I wondered why it would do that, but after watching this noisy flock of geese and ducks yesterday I could see how they gyr might long for some silence while it ate. Incidentally, notice the dark line behind the geese in ducks in the above photo? That's thousands more waterfowl.

I did find the gyr but was not able to photograph it. I saw it high on a power pole off of a busy county road. I pulled over and it kept flinching as ducks flew in--it was hungry and trying to decide on which mallard to take. The gyr had it's wings outstretched and almost looked like a weathervane with an eagle on top of it. Finally, they gyr descended on the ducks, but none would flush, seemingly knowing that if one of them did, they would be falcon food for sure. The gyr flew over the grounded flock, banked towards my car and then flew just on the other side of the road, right at eye level! It was SWEET! That's the closest I've ever been to a wild gyr--well worth the drive down and back during rush hour traffic.

Ah, it's good to be home. Here is my family: Non Birding Bill, Cinnamon, and Kabuki piled on top of the Love Sac watching a Douglas Sirk movie. Good times.

Well, Cinnamon has finally disapproved of the fake bunnies. She has resumed digging in her litter box and ignoring the fake bunnies altogether. If I try to pet them, she lunges and grunts at me, and then hops away with even more grunts. It's as if she's irritated that I'm paying attention to the fake bunnies--don't I know that they aren't real? If I try to pet her after petting the fake bunnies she grunts and spins around. I don't want to irritate her, but I have to admit that I love the sound of her grunting. She's like a cute, little, furry piggy. Grunt grunt.

This weekend is another bunny adoption event at Minnesota Valley Humane Society in Burnsville from 12pm - 4pm both Saturday and Sunday. I'm going to try and get more photos for the book but we have narrow it down to 160 and have all the photos and captions decided and turned in By March 1--ack! Harper Collins moved up the deadline which I'm willing to do since I know that it will take time to get this together and really want the book to be out this fall.

Looking at what is going on with the two different publishers, it looks like the Disapproving Rabbits book is going to come out sooner than my City Birds/Country Birds book. It's very weird to me, the bird related book has been in the works almost a year and a half and the rabbit book was started four months ago and the rabbit book will probably be printed first. Different publishers have different styles I suppose.