Respecting others’ space…

Click images for larger view.

I went out to the migratory bird sanctuary yesterday. The day started overcast and dreary with a stiff breeze but altho it was overcast at the coast too, within an hour it had cleared off for a beautiful sunny day, even though I could see dark clouds hanging over the mountains and in the general direction of home. There were quite a few Canada geese being very territorial, the usual hoardes of mallards, northern Shovelers around every corner. I only saw 3 Sandhill cranes, one solo and one pair, and no sign of my crossbilled friend. No waders yet, but I saw a hummingbird flitting between newly opened hot pink salmonberry blossoms, and I was surprised to see tree swallows have already arrived, swooping around catching flies!

I must have been channelling my best bird energy yesterday because at one point I found myself between a gander aggressively chasing off a pair of would-be squatters, and the gander’s mate. The female that was being chased passed right beside me, and for a moment I wondered if the pursuing gander might turn his ire towards me, but when he reached me he stopped, shook himself, made eye contact almost apologetically then stood beside me for a few moments before meandering back to his mate. Later, in another part of the sanctuary, I threw a handful of grain on the ground for the ducks floating nearby and a pair of geese strolled over for a share too. The grain didn’t last long and everyone went back to what they’d been doing and I captured a few images. Then I sat down on a bench to soak up some sun and watch the territorial disputes that seemed to be going on all around me. The geese had settled down some distance away, and when I sat down the gander got up, walked over to where I was sitting and settled himself down at my feet, looking off in the same direction I was… Very unexpected. It was so tempting to reach down and stroke him, but that would have violated the trust he was extending to me. He stayed there until I moved on.

On my way back to the car I stopped in an observation area to watch a group of herons in a tree. A mallard hen landed on the railing while I was photographing, and when I looked up from my camera I found she was standing mere inches away from my face looking at me. No subtlety there whatsoever, lol! I got out some grain and she was eating out of my hand when a male redwing blackbird arrived and started harassing the mallard, trying to get her to leave. I had to laugh – she ignored him, focusing on the grain, so the blackbird became super-agitated, frantically pecking the mallard all over, but still with no success. I had some finch food in one of my pockets, so I offered the blackbird that seed in my other hand, thinking he wouldn’t eat directly from it. He was a little nervous at first, but he really wanted that seed, so eventually I was hand feeding both the mallard and the blackbird at the same time. Until a mallard drake landed on the railing, pretty much on top of the blackbird. Initially the blackbird flew away, then tried to return but the drake wouldn’t let him near. So I invited the blackbird to fly to my hand. It was clear he understood my intent, but he was quite anxious, made a couple of fly pasts, touched down briefly a couple of times, then landed on my finger and hung on for dear life while he finished the seeds. I really miss having animals at home so it was especially lovely having wild birds interact with me like that…

23 thoughts on “Respecting others’ space…

  1. You definitely were channeling your bird energy. What a great day. I also miss having an animal at home so the birds for me are really great as well. I’ve been identifying them and last night just before it got dark I saw a Black-crowned night heron! I need a longer lens though. I love your bird pics. They are just amazing!


    • Thanks, Cybele. The blackbird wasn’t a total surprise…the previous visit in a different part of the sanctuary, for the first time there was a blackbird that insisted on landing on my hand when I was trying to hand feed the chickadees. That first blackbird wouldn’t let go of my hand even when I tried to shake him off. I had to try to touch him to get him to let go. But that was the first time in the years I’ve been going there that I had a blackbird even look like it might consider being hand fed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That is a beautiful story. I love my birds. I just remember dreaming this morning that the whip bird appeared to come close to me. I saw it very clearly. I have them here, but they are very elusive birds and difficult to observe.


    • It was a lovely experience. The duck was no surprise at all, since there are a couple of mallard hens there that regularly eat seed offered by hand. The blackbird was a bit of a surprise, but it was the gander that really surprised me the most. He wasn’t looking for food. He just appeared to be sharing time with me. It was very special.


Comments welcome and appreciated...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s