Hoo Says Birds Don’t Know How to Have Fun

The Aeronautical TV

Turkey Vulture. Photo by Chip Engelmann

The Turkey Vulture soared up the now defunct par 5 hole. He was effortlessly gliding into a 25 mile per hour headwind. If the TV had to flap his wings, it wasn’t worth the effort. He tacked like a sailboat against the wind–not long tacks, but short dips of the wings, then back. If the wind slacked he dove to gain speed, then rose when the wind increased. It took ten minutes to reach the Cottonwoods that created the dogleg.

Then he suddenly turned and raced with the wind, still not flapping but gaining speed. Then he pulled straight up, leveled off and dove straight down to fly nap of the earth down the fairway. Only then did he flap his wings to get maximum speed. When he reached the end of the fairway, he turned around and tacked back up the fairway again.

He did this a total of three times before I left.

The Scatter Tanager

Summer Tanager Photo by Chip Engelmann

Across Russell Wash from my back porch, a flock of House Finches were gathering up the nerve to return to my feeders now that the Cooper’s Hawk had gone. They filled the top and sides of three mesquite trees lined up along the golf course.

A male Summer Tanager flew into the farthest tree, entering from the side, and hopped branch-to-branch until he reached the center of the tree. Then, he suddenly jumped up at the nearest red House Finch and the flock scattered in all directions.

He proceeded to the next tree and did the same thing, resulting in a second mass scattering of House Finches. He moved to the third tree and scattered them.

It reminded me of the hot-air balloon pilots who fly low over the Big Pond at the Sedona Wetlands and make a lot of noise to scatter the water fowl.

A Raven Nevermore

Common Raven Photo by Sam Hough

A Common Raven swooped down the juniper-mesquite hillside to where I was warming myself in the sun on the front porch.

“Hawk. Hawk. Hawk.” he said.

“You can’t fool me.” I replied.

“Hawk!” he repeated emphatically.

I thought about it. If a Raven identified himself as a hawk, who was I to say he wasn’t.

“Live and let live,” I said.

So let me get this straight. If a Common Raven identifies with being a hawk, that would make him a Common Hawk. And he’s black, so that would make him a Common Black Hawk.

“If you come over here, I’ll paint some white stripes on your tail,” I suggested.

The Black Hawk flew on.

I guess he wasn’t serious enough about being a hawk to undergo physical alterations.

Does this Cattle Egret look cold to you?

So do you have a story about birds having fun? Write it in the comments.

Burrowing Owl Photo by Chip Engelmann

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