BY JOHN KARRIGAN
This might be my last bird column; I may only write about mammals and such in the future, as that’s what I am seeing lately.
As with much of this year, I am not doing well with birds in the park. Of course, there are still, usually, many (up to 300) Canada Geese, and still the two injured Canada Geese that cannot fly and always stay together trying to help each other out. There are some people who care about the injured Canada Geese (including me) and some young people who try to see if they can do anything to make the injured Geese live a worse life. Maybe something will work out for the injured Geese, but it will be difficult.
There are still lots of Mallard Ducks, a few Wood Ducks, some Ring-billed Gulls, a few Double-crested Cormorants, and a possible female Hooded Merganzer on the lake.
On a few occasions in the park, there were a lot of American Robins, a lot of Eastern Blue Birds, and a few warblers that I was unable to identify.
The backyard birds have been doing well with lots of Northern Cardinals, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadees, House Sparrows, a few Robins, a Song Sparrow now and then, and, so far this fall, very few Dark-eyed Juncos. All the Juncos here come from Canada, not to be confused with all the Juncos I just got done meeting in Colorado, which never go to or come from Canada as our backyard ones do. I always give the Canadian Juncos in the backyard and park a bad time with bad Canadian jokes, “eh.” Oh I get to do this because my mother was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and that’s the way it is. All the Juncos I met regularly in Colorado last month live only in the Rockies area, and are of the Oregon race. I also saw many Steller’s Jays, Black-billed Magpies, Common Ravens, Mountain Chickadees, American Dippers and Gray Jays.
But all the great birds of past years will probably return to Powderhorn Park and neighborhood backyards and I won’t have to give up on birds and go to mammals.
In the meantime, the mammals have been interesting in both Colorado and Minnesota.
Least Chipmunks were regular visitors to our patio in Winter Park (Colorado) and they all happened to have names similar to people we might know, possibly living around Powderhorn: Lester, Leslie, Liesl and Lucy. The body of a Least Chipmunk is about half the size of a “normal” Chipmunk, so it’s as long as an index finger and its tail, the same length.
Soon four Red Foxes were visiting me at any time of day or night (no, not the foxes from those Two Wild and Crazy Guys skits on “Saturday Night Live”). Now a Red Fox is visiting me at my St. Paul house. (I probably don’t have a St. Paul house; rather this is one I often house-sit). And the St. Paul Red Fox probably did not follow me from Colorado because I am such a great guy, but you never know.
So I may go back to birds, or I may become a famous mammal writer and Red Fox and Least Chipmunk specialist.
Comments and observations are always welcome. Send them to me, in care of Southside Pride. Thank you.