As the temperature hits -20°C, all of the other mourning doves give Dave the silent treatment for convincing them not to fly south this winter.
Muscovy duck, now two for one
It’s been a couple of months since we’ve seen our local muscovy duck in East Dodgeville, but he returned this week with a new companion. Emboldened by numbers, they proceeded to chase me around the yard:
They’re more or less fearless of people and given the way that they ran after me, they obviously thought that some tasty food was going to pop out of my camera. If I needed evidence that they’re farm escapees, that would be it. They settled for munching on a patch of garden instead.
They’re both about the same size so I can’t tell if they’re a male/female pair or just a couple of dudes out for an adventure. Either way, I’m pretty sure that the one on the right in the pictures is the same one that first visited us in the spring. I’m glad that he has a fellow fugitive to hang out with now. With luck, instinct will kick in soon and they’ll start heading south.
Here’s something you don’t see on your southern Ontario lawn every day: a muscovy duck. Wild muscovies are normally found in Central and South America but they’re domesticated throughout North America. The muscovy is bigger than the Canada geese that normally hang around East Dodgeville at this time of year. It appeared to be a solitary male with no mate in sight so my money is on it being an escapee from a nearby farm. The muscovy wandered around the lawn for a few minutes, coming up to within 20 feet of the house before waddling back down to the lake and paddling over to a couple of Canada goose families who were swimming nearby. They didn’t much appreciate his efforts to socialize and chased him away.
Don’t taunt happy fun bird
If any bird could shoot lasers out of its eyes, it would be the common grackle.
Given that they neither dive nor swim, I don’t normally think of crows as birds that catch fish. Yet as the lake ice was breaking up last week, there were three crows eating two relatively large fish that they’d caught from somewhere. I didn’t see them actually catch any of the fish and they looked a little large to fly with, so my best guess is that they were scavenging fish that had been dropped by other birds. There’s also a possibility that they’d stolen the fish away from a flock of seagulls that were at the edge of the open water farther out in the lake.
Although this was most likely just a case of opportunism, there is actually some evidence of crows catching fish on their own. Here’s a pretty straightforward video of a crow catching a fish in water shallow enough for it to stand in:
And here’s a video (with explanation) that seems to show a crow fishing in an artificial pond by using bread as bait:
Spring is in the air
These three squirrels have been socializing in our backyard for the last six weeks or so. I’m not entirely sure what they’re doing, but they all take turns in the middle and sure look like they’re enjoying themselves.
There seems to be a rather ambitious beaver at work in the Don Valley.
He still has some work to do before toppling this 30-footer at the forks of the Don, but he’s getting there.
I’m reminded of the fossilized giant beaver tooth found at the Brickworks. Whether this modern beaver eventually succeeds or not, I’m pretty sure this tree has seen its last leaf. I wonder if Parks and the TRCA would allow a beaver to dam up the West Don at the forks. Probably not, but it would be something to see.
(The tree is visible from the park bridge that runs under Don Mills Road near the entrance to Taylor Creek Park. From anywhere on the bridge, look across the river toward the forks. You could also approach the tree directly from the eastern end of the Crothers’ Woods trail in the Flats.)