Thursday, February 5, 2009

Playing at the Pond

I'll admit, I've not been a fan of water fowl before, but after the St. George Bird Festival and visiting different ponds in the area to see a wide range of species, I'm intrigued. I find it very interesting how so many different birds can share the same habitat, intermingling and feeding together without reservations. At one particular pond, mute swans, mallards, American coots, American wigeons, geese, ruddy ducks, and wood ducks all shared the waters, while a great blue heron prowled the shore (and yes, ate the goldfish).

I've been a snob. I've gravitated automatically toward the songbirds because of their frequent visits to the backyard, and to the raptors because of their innate grace and power, eschewing water fowl as awkward and clunky instead of recognizing them as the graceful, colorful, and amusing birds they can be. Yet the community of birds and their easy diversity has shown me more than ever how ecology is all connected, and we all share the same resources. If they can do it so easily and with such grace, so too can all birders share their joyous hobby with all wings. Now, I can't wait to visit more ponds and shores to find many more species to enjoy.

4 comments:

Sparverius said...

I enjoy water birds (though shorebirds are exceedingly difficult for me to ID) because they are usually so accessible. And they don't move so quickly our of my field of view.

Red said...

I think maybe it's a common thought... waterfowl are so common, so easily overlooked.

Melissa said...

Sparverius - Good point; since water birds and shore birds are usually larger than song birds, they're easier to identify. Many of them are quite distinctive, too, making them very enjoyable to find.

Melissa said...

Red - It's try, since they are common they're not usually noticed as "birds" as much as feeder birds. Plus, water fowl don't frequent the backyard quite as much (though I do hope the mallard returns this spring), so they're not always on the top of a birder's list. I'm glad they're on mine now!