I love birds and pay close attention to them as I wonder the byways. In the last couple of weeks, I have seen some behavior I think is unusual:
1. I was driving on our county, gravel road to work. It is a hilly area broken up into pastures and woods. A red-tailed hawk flew over me and soared over a pasture, so I had about 20 seconds or so to watch him. Often, you know, small birds will follow or harass a hawk and there were 2 following him. What was unusual was they actually landed on his back and took a free ride. I had not seen that before.
2. On my way to work one day, I go down off the ridges and drive along the Mississippi flood plain. This used to be a massive Cypress swamp, which has been drained for many decades using numerous water diversion ditches and canals the all feed into the Mississippi river. The county road spans these ditches over small, short bridges, with 6-8 feet of water clearance.
One day I was watching a flock of about 10 pigeon sized birds having a great ole time swooping and soaring over the harvested corn fields, following the leader. Well, the leader decided to fly under the bridge as I was crossing and the flock followed. They could not have been 2 or 3 feet over the water, nor 3 or 4 feet from the embankment. Looking in my rear view mirrors, I saw them all fly out the other side, gain altitude and all do a loop-the-loop. Amazing!.
3. I have about a 3rd of a mile gravel driveway, through the woods, to get from the county road to my house. One day, coming home, a skunk was running down the road before me, being harassed by a red-headed woodpecker. I think it was the woodpecker chasing the skunk, and not me. Rarely do we see this type of woodpecker, much less a skunk in the day time.
Wondrous stuff, living in the country.