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Coloma's avatar

Have you experienced any stellar wildlife moments recently?

Asked by Coloma (39935 points ) March 8th, 2014

As many of you know I am a goose and duck lover and enjoy feeding my local mountain park geese a couple of times a week.
Recently a Great Blue Heron has been hanging out with the geese and ducks, he stands just a few feet away from me and is a gorgeous bird. Today, pinnacle moment, he was wading in the little lake just 3 feet from me when I observed him catching not one, but THREE good sized fish, about 3–4 inches long.
Amazing….he just speared them and swallowed then whole right before my eyes!

Have any of you had an astounding nature moment lately?

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27 Answers

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I once saw something while kayaking that I’ll never forget. There was this family of raccoons at the edge of the reeds just above the tideline on the beach. Mama raccoon and some cubs. Along came this Osprey with a foot-long fish in its talons. The mama coon got on her hind legs and raised her paws to the Osprey which began to circle above with the fish. Then the Osprey just dropped the fish right on top of the coons. The temptation to give this event an anthropomorphic interpretation is very strong.

Recently—and I’ve seen this a few times—I saw a bald eagle carrying a fish come under mid-flight attack by an osprey. The most amazing dogfight ensues between these two expert fliers at incredible high and low altitudes. The eagle will often drop the fish after a particularly hard hit and the osprey will snatch it up before it hits the ground and take off with the eagle on it’s tail. This can go on for quite some time. Or sometimes the osprey will just break it off after a few vicious passes. Is the osprey just screwing with the eagle for kicks? It certainly looks like it sometimes. The osprey most often comes out the winner. I think it’s because they have better configured talons for holding onto slippery fish.

ibstubro's avatar

Last week a red tailed hawk tagged a snake, then came so close to my windshield that I nearly tagged him. Awesome. Red tailed hawks are so prevalent here that some days I see at least 1 per mile on the highway. Awesome.

I regularly drive down by the Mississippi and see bald eagles, pelicans, seagulls, hawks and any number of birds that were foreign or rare to my upbringing. Yet I was raised less than 5 miles away. DDT and sport shooting be damned.

gailcalled's avatar

@Coloma; Late last spring I saw our blue heron standing in the shallows of my shared pond with a large black feathered object in its beak, with two yellow things (looking suspiciously like legs) hanging down.

Luckily, I was in my car and had binoculars in the glove compartment. The heron was attempting to eat a red-winged black bird; I watched him contort and shake his neck from side to side in order to get the bird down, similar to a boa swallowing a large rodent.

Eventually he did swallow the bird but he couldn’t have taken much pleasure in it.

“Herons have been known to choke on prey that is too large.” Source

“Great Blue Herons eat nearly anything within striking distance…including other birds.”

@Espiritus_Corvus: It is hard to imagine a bald eagle and an osprey having at it. I envy you that.

My only sighting of the barred owl occurred in the morning when I was driving by a wooded area and flushed him from a bush near the ground. He flew over my hood and in front of the windshield and almost startled me into a ditch.

gailcalled's avatar

Today I had over 36 robins and at least 15 deer foraging on top of the snow, plus my first sighting this year of the male wild turkey, who had that I-am-about-to-puff-up-and-display look.There were no females around (yet) so he didn’t bother actually inflating.

Coloma's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Wow…yes, hard to not want to attach human emotion to that experience. Awww…he was feeding the raccoon family.
@ibstubro Amazing, swallowing a RW BB! I once saw a documentary where a large mouth bass sucked up a duckling on a pond! I decided I do not like Bass. lol
@gailcalled 36 Robins, quite the flock, the turkeys here will start displaying any time now.
Everything eats turkey chicks. One year I watched a hatch of 12 chicks dwindle to one lone survivor over about a 3 week period. Every day the mama turkey came throguh the yard there were one or two less. :-(

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I had a nice pheasant dinner lately.

Cruiser's avatar

Yes….stunning and stellar and gruesome…watching this Guy munch on feathered friends who were mere innocents congregating at my bird feeder.

ucme's avatar

I swear the neighbours pussy just winked at me #milf

JLeslie's avatar

I’m not sure if it is stellar, but quite iften I see very very cute rabbits where I live. They are a beautiful shade of brown. When we cross the causeways we often see huge birds hovering so close you can almost touch them. It isn’t unusual to see dolphins in the waters near us also. You can take a boat ride and the dolphins live to play inbthe waves the boats make, but even just sitting on shore we sometimes catch dolphins moving through the water.

We moved a year ago. Before that living in TN we saw deer all the time and it was magical. They fawns used to rest on my lawn in the summer when the shade started to come in. We sometimes hade ten deer at a time, sometimes bucks and doe all together. It was interesting how their coats turned from brown to grey as winter set in. I don’t remember learning that in school.

gailcalled's avatar

@Cruiser:A red-tailed? He looks as though someone really ruffled his feathers.

Cruiser's avatar

@gailcalled Slightly smaller than a red tail…I peg him as Coopers Hawk.

1TubeGuru's avatar

Where I live is like a amazing bird and wildlife sanctuary, we have great blue herons ,bald eagles ,ospreys, red tailed hawks ,peregrine falcons, egrets, sandpipers, Canadian geese and several species of ducks. we have a local year round mallard duck population with maybe 30 birds in it that usually congregate around a small island directly behind my house. when I came home from work on Friday and looked out of my kitchen window there were at least 150 mallards near the island.my guess is that some migratory birds saw the local flock and decided that it was a good place to land.

gailcalled's avatar

@Cruiser; The striped tail, of course. I have seen only one, flying really fast and close to the ground. It startled me but was a memorable if brief sighting.

Cruiser's avatar

@gailcalled Almost everyday on the weekend I hear someone yell…“Cooper is back”!

Coloma's avatar

I once watched a Gopher single clawedly pull down about a 4 foot Artachoke plant into his hole. It took him about 3 hours but it was gone without a trace. My friend and I were just sitting by her garden having wine and it was hilarious. The gopher would come up out of his hole and push and pull and shake the stalk then go back down and tug. Funniest thing I have ever seen.

gailcalled's avatar

@Cruiser Do you have wooded areas near your home? And you are surrounded by overly-vocal birders? Sounds like a nice neighborhood and similar to mine.

Cruiser's avatar

I live next to a wetland and have a small 33 acre wooded area across the street. 3 blocks from me is a pretty sizeable river that is a flyway for migratory birds including bald eagles. Otherwise it is the fringe of suburbia outside of Chicago.

gailcalled's avatar

@Cruiser: It certainly doesn’t sound like typical suburbia… with a wetland, 33 wooded acres and a flyway river. I have a wetland, old fields, mixed conifer and deciduous forests, and some small streams. The Hudson River is about 14 miles away as the crow flies. We now, I am thrilled to say, have a few bald eagles that winter over and feed in the large ponds that are scattered around.

Cruiser's avatar

@gailcalled it is a sanctuary in it’s own right and a blessing to come home to and especially spend tranquil moments on the weekend when I need that break from the drudgery of the day to day.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Just heard the first Killdeer of the season…hoping it means we’ll see a flock migrate in by this weekend. Temps are supposedly going to rise into the sixties by Saturday.

ibstubro's avatar

The river was very choppy yesterday, looking like a bed of broken glass when the sun reflected on it. I saw a single large white bird bobbing on the surface. I thought it was a goose, but when I got closer, it was a snow white pelican.

Oh, and the owl I saw at dusk on recent night? It was out at dawn, too, just feet from the dusk location. I don’t know my owls, but it was about the size of a red-tailed hawk and very spotted.

Coloma's avatar

@SpatzieLover I haven’t seen a Killdeer forever, they were really abundant in the fields when I was a kid and you had to be careful to not step on their eggs that were so well camouflaged.

@ibstubro I love Pelicans and owls of all sorts. I wonder what owl you saw?
I have tons of little screech owls around here, barn owls and great horned owls too. The screech owls are my favorites. So cute!

gailcalled's avatar

I flushed a large red-tailed hawk today while I was driving. He seemed enormous with his wings extended, as he flew over the hood of the car. Apparently wing-span can be up to 56”.

ibstubro's avatar

I had to stop the car to avoid running over a rabbit last night. “Big whoop!” you might say, but around here a rabbit sighting is really rare – it may be the only one I see this year. I recently took a 5 hour drive through western Illinois and I think the hawks I saw numbered in the hundreds. There was a stretch where I counted 10 hawks along the interstate in under 10 miles and, as a passenger, I could only watch one side of the road.

We still have a fair number of pelicans here in the Midwest, and I see a Blue Heron about once a week, Snowy Egrets less often.

Coloma's avatar

@ibstubro For some strange reason the Jack rabbit population has gone waaay down here the last 5 years or so. It’s really weird, I used to have to brake for Jacks all the time and now they are just gone. Maybe the Coyotes ate them all. ????

ibstubro's avatar

I was in the woods beside my house this evening, seeing if was time for morels yet. I decided I needed to take a leak, and started to do my business. About that time there was a really weird, almost barking noise up the bluff. It changed to something that was nearly a bark that ended in a meow. I buttoned up really quickly and looked up just in time to see an owl flying away. Very cool! And I didn’t even have to worry about wetting myself.

Do you have a lot of birds of prey? Perhaps the coyotes ate them, or maybe they overpopulated and Mother Nature thinned the herd.

Coloma's avatar

@ibstubro Who knows, or maybe a rabbit disease, there is a disease called Mixmatosis that wipes out wild rabbits on occasion and is transmittable to domestics. It is carried by Mosquitos.

Over here, the first baby rattlesnake of the season slithered out of it’s nest. Move along little viper. lol

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