Nature: Interesting birds winter on MDI  – Mount Desert Islander


A loud duck heard on the saltwater this month is the gorgeous lengthy-tailed duck (previously referred to as previous-squaw duck and so listed in lots of fowl books). The fowl is kind of stunning with its pied sample and lengthy needle-pointed tail on the male. Its Latin title, Clangula hyemalis, means “noisy winter duck” and the fowl lives as much as its title by speaking and gabbling wherever it gathers or flies about.  

Long-tailed geese nest within the tundra of the subarctic zone, however they winter off Mount Desert Island and as far south because the coast of the Carolinas. It was like seeing an previous good friend as I walked alongside the seaside not too long ago in South Carolina and acknowledged them on the water. A favourite place of mine to see them domestically is from the vantage level of the city dock in Manset. There I can typically see them swimming underwater. 

These geese are sea geese, medium sized and chunky. Whatever stage the plumage is in, the male’s lengthy tail feathers are very noticeable. As he searches for particular morsels of meals, he sits low within the water together with his head erect and his tail both properly elevated or lowered for a second. These good-looking geese fly low over the water in small flocks in irregular formation with many twistings and turnings. Their courtship antics are enjoyable to observe, and though lengthy tailed geese don’t nest right here, pairs of them do begin their courtship right here. 

Cedar and bohemian waxwings are good small birds to observe for now. Waxwings are elegant birds, at all times wanting their greatest, and so they have impeccable manners (more often than not). It is the cedar waxwing that’s extra generally seen on the island. You can’t mistake it for it has a noticeable crest and its colour is a heat brown. Having a crest units it aside immediately and helps to determine it shortly. Think of the native birds you already know with a crest – blue jayspileated woodpeckers, waxwings, tufted titmousekingfisher and, in fact, the cardinal 

You by no means know whenever you’ll see waxwings, for they’re wanderers, touring extensively over Central and South America and the decrease tier of Canada. They appear to float southward within the fall and northward for nesting, however they could seem the place least anticipated.  

It is their behavior of stuffing themselves with no matter fruit they discover that will get them into bother. I noticed some cedar waxwings sooner or later in an Ellsworth car parking zone that turned inebriated on spoiled fruit on a tree. They simply couldn’t fly till they sobered up. 

It has been conservatively estimated {that a} flock of maybe 30 waxwings may eat 90,000 cankerworms in a month. They must be forgiven their overconsumption of fermented fruit from time to time. Watch for these beautiful, crested birds. 

Red crossbill.

Look additionally for crossbills this time of 12 months. Both the crimson crossbill and the white-winged crossbill are right here 12 months-spherical. They are birds of the Far North, however they do come right here within the winter months when the cone crop fails within the north.  

When you get a have a look at the fowl’s crossed invoice, you surprise how it can use such a instrument. No matter how unusual their payments look, these birds can use them skillfully when extracting seeds from cones. They additionally survive on bugs.