Monday, December 20, 2010

Mansfield's CBC

Christmas Bird Counts provide a great reason to bird watch, rather than Christmas shop. Enough said, I would far rather endure 17 degree temps on an early morning than endure that pack of wild animals hanging out at Walmart and the mall.
My Richland County territory is a mixed bag of industrialized city (250 Rock Pigeons), the OSU Mansfield Branch Campus (Wild Turkeys and Ring-necked Pheasant), and a wet woodland/ residential area generally good for at least one Red-shoulder Hawk.
...........................Photo by Dave Lewis
But two species account for the majority of my sightings. It is not unusual to find me circling the ball-fields across the street from MANCI (Mansfield Correctional Institution) counting the 700 plus Canada Geese grazing there- in hopes of a rare Snow Goose or something interesting.

The something interesting this year, was a coyote- (photo "borrowed" from the internet) who was also counting those birds. As he edged along the far end of a grassy field, he created ripples of nervous tension in the flock resting on a frozen water hole. As he crept along, the geese peeled out 20-25 at a time. As they continued to take wing in small groups, it provided a excellent opportunity to inspect each mini-flock for unusual birds and allow for easier counting.

The birds quickly added up to over seven hundred Canada Geese- and Mr. Coyote seemed to think I could certainly spare just one! I doubt that a coyote would try to take on a Canada Goose, unless is was very old or in a weakened condition and left behind from the flock. From what I have seen of geese, several adults make a formidable foe, one this furry fellow best avoid.


American Crows- the Mansfield evening roost holds thousands upon thousands now. Early morning and late afternoon an endless stream of crows fly in and out of the city on their daily peregrinations. There is protection and warmth in numbers as they huddle together at night in winter-flocks within the city. In the mornings they disburse like rays of sunshine erupting from the city. Well, most folks would equate them with plumes of smoke, but these intelligent birds are endlessly fascinating to watch and to listen to their calls of encouragement within their family units.
A bit of historic scenery from my end of the Mansfield CBC, the old Mansfield Reformatory. Built at the turn of the century, it first provided housing and a hope of reformation for young men. The grounds were dotted with tree lawns and a lovely pond provided an excellent picnic spot for the locals. Follow the link to learn more about its history, and the tours available at this trendy tourist hot-spot.
Once again, I encourage you to take part in your local Christmas Bird Count. It is an excellent way to volunteer -and to use your birding skills. Many of my Audubon friends help with this amazing nationwide wide count which provides valuable scientific data provided by "Citizen Scientists."
A CBC makes you feel good about spending a day with the birds. Besides, the crows and I enjoy scenery.

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