Grab an iced drink, dip your toes in the water, and keep cool with us on the Flyway! We have a beautiful and elusive Sora, lovely Sandhill Cranes, some very cool group-hunting American White Pelicans, a subadult eagle with one foot, and a Peregrine Falcon named ‘Poppy’ that I banded at US Bank in La Crosse on June 1 of this year! Thanks to our camera operators and videomakers for finding and sharing such intimate, amazing detail in the lives of our birds. It’s a great time to watch the Mississippi Flyway! https://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/flyway-cam/
August 22, 2023: Sora on the Flyway – https://youtu.be/uYLOMG3xg10. Although the Sora is the most abundant and widely distributed North American rail, its elusiveness and preferred habitat make it a lifer for some birders! As the video opens, the Sora appears to be eating the leaves and stems of duckweed, although it could also be consuming small invertebrates, seeds, and grit. Watch it and you’ll see why it’s sometimes called the meadow chicken.
Birds of The World notes that Soras move from smaller breeding wetlands to congregate in larger wetlands with abundant food in August and September. Like so many birds we see this time of the year, the Sora is tanking up for migration. This little bird – Soras weigh 1.7 to 4 ounces! – might be preparing for the flight to the Gulf Coast in the US or Mexico. You can read more about them here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Sora/overview
August 21, 2023: Sandhill Cranes glowing in changing light – https://youtu.be/Htnk4wmQ6xQ. Do I need to say anything more? Stunning footage of a stunning bird!
August 21, 2023: Plethora of pelicans – https://youtu.be/7Pe1L-lp2Ww. This is a fascinating video. Go to 1:45 to see a raft of pelicans foraging together with coordinated movements and synchronized bill dipping. The pelicans are cooperating to drive prey into shallow water where it can be more easily caught. Skip to 18:39 (or enjoy the foraging action) to see even more pelicans converging on the group. Several of them cut around to the front and sides, which drives prey into a circle of hungry searching beaks. At 25:49, the larger group splits into two. A large number of pelicans swim away while the smaller bunch continues hunting.
‘Let a squadron of southbound pelicans but feel a lift of prairie breeze over Clandeboye and they sense at once that here is a landing in the geological past, a refuge from that most relentless of aggressors, the future. With queer antediluvian grunts they set wing, descending in majestic spirals to the welcoming wastes of a bygone age.’ – Aldo Leopold 1949
August 20, 2023: Egret and Great Blue Heron closeups – https://youtu.be/Co060bEAhEY and Great Egret – https://youtu.be/F4ltg8DbxoM. Both of these videos show stunning closeups of beautiful birds, but I especially liked seeing the Great Egret in the second video. Start around 2:38 for some stunning closeups!
August 18, 2023: Miss Flyway Differently abled eagle – https://youtu.be/OCmxE-fgsBQ. A subadult eagle flies in to perch on our Instagram log at 24 seconds. At 40 seconds, we see that it is missing its left foot. Although it lacks a foot, it looks healthy otherwise. It sits on the log and preens before jumping off at 4:03 to retrieve something dead. It eats and returns to the log.
We’re not sure what happened to the eagle. It could have gotten a serious injury while hunting, been caught in a trap, or suffered an electrical burn. The injury is completely healed and the eagle appears accustomed to getting around with one foot – something we’ve also seen in peregrine falcons. Good luck, winged friend!
August 17, 2023: Young peregrine falcon H/52 Poppy – https://youtu.be/G97SI63sxvI. I banded this falcon at US Bank on June 1! She’s about 7-1/2 miles from home and it was a great treat to see her on the Flyway!