Avian Encounters

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Appkiller, Sep 28, 2003.

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  1. Appkiller

    Appkiller Guest

    Greetings from the midwest's Northland!

    As I rode along yesterday, I was startled out of my usual reverie by the flight of a pheasant.
    Taking flight from the ditch next to the road, the female pheasant flew about 20 yards, wings making
    that whooshing noise that larger birds' wings do. Always a pleasant experience to run into our
    feathered friends.

    About two miles further on I have my second encounter. Eight turkey in the ditch - six females and
    two juveniles! They moved slowly off, not flying like they usually do. Have you ever seen a turkey
    fly? Pretty impressive, especially when they go overhead. They really can't go very far, but
    still, amazing!

    This day is getting good! Seven miles later, I am about halfway up a long climb and I see what
    appears to be a group of four very large crows in the road. As I neared them, they took flight and I
    realized my error - they were turkey vultures! They took flight and circled above me, some of them
    lighting in one of the large oaks lining the road. As I stared up at the tree, I noted that there
    were about 12 to 15 of them perched on separate branches. As I looked around, there were four or
    five more wheeling about in the sky, and more in the other trees lining the roads. They appeared to
    be gathering for migration and had to be at least 30 of them. Very impressive.

    Further encounters that day included red-tails screeching at me as they took flight from telephone
    poles and smaller raptors (forget their name, but with a square rather than fan shaped tail).

    I feel sorry for those that have to ride in urban and suburban environs as the chance of these sorts
    of encounters are very small.

    App
     
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  2. On 28 Sep 2003 07:54:00 -0700, [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote:

    >About two miles further on I have my second encounter. Eight turkey in the ditch - six females and
    >two juveniles! They moved slowly off, not flying like they usually do. Have you ever seen a turkey
    >fly? Pretty impressive, especially when they go overhead. They really can't go very far, but
    >still, amazing!

    As a city boy who moved from there to live a while in Central America and then to rural Alabama I
    didn't recognize turkeys the first time I saw a wild one. "Damn! Brown peacocks."

    I was riding early one morning and spotted a big bird sitting a distance away on the road and
    silhouetted against the sun. The closer I got to it, the realization hit me that it was a very big
    bird. When it took flight its wingspan reached almost from the edge of the road to the center line.
    As it flew past me, about twenty feet above, I saw the white head feathers and recognized my first
    and so far only sighting of an American Eagle.

    _______________________________________________________________________________
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  3. Papayahed1

    Papayahed1 Guest

    Subject: Avian Encounters From: [email protected] (Appkiller) Date: 9/28/03 10:54 AM Eastern
    Daylight Time

    >I feel sorry for those that have to ride in urban and suburban environs as the chance of these
    >sorts of encounters are very small.
    >

    Yes, but have you ever gotten "owled?" I was riding on a bike path after dark when I noticed
    something white on the side of the path up ahead. I assumed it was a rabbit or something similar. As
    I neared it, I recongnized it as an owl as it rose up and tried to fly across the path in front of
    me. Like cars at intersections, it misjudged my speed and smacked full into my chest. I vividly
    remember its flapping wings against my arms as my forward momentum briefly kept it from flying off.
    Glad I didn't make contact with its claws! Michael
     
  4. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Appkiller" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > I feel sorry for those that have to ride in urban and suburban environs as the chance of these
    > sorts of encounters are very small.

    I live in a very urban area (Boston), and I have seen raptors feeding in my very small yard (red
    tail & northern harriers). I have seen great blue herons less than a mile form my house, and the
    nearby 'burbs that I ride frequently in have large enough wild turkey flocks that they're considered
    a nuisance. I frequently see them on rides. I have not seen turkey vultures except out on rural
    roads, though.
     
  5. Don Wiss

    Don Wiss Guest

    On 28 Sep 2003 07:54:00 -0700, [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote:

    >I feel sorry for those that have to ride in urban and suburban environs as the chance of these
    >sorts of encounters are very small.

    Maybe not exacting like yours, but here in NYC we have encounters with pigeons all the time. They
    hang out on the road, and fly up when the bike approaches.

    Don <donwiss at panix.com>.
     
  6. Papayahed1 wrote:
    > Yes, but have you ever gotten "owled?" I was riding on a bike path after dark when I noticed
    > something white on the side of the path up ahead. I assumed it was a rabbit or something similar.
    > As I neared it, I recongnized it as an owl as it rose up and tried to fly across the path in front
    > of me. Like cars at intersections, it misjudged my speed and smacked full into my chest. I vividly
    > remember its flapping wings against my arms as my forward momentum briefly kept it from flying
    > off. Glad I didn't make contact with its claws!

    Ouch. At least most owls are fairly small.

    I had a close call like that with a pelican. If you've never seen one up close, they are bigger than
    any owl--more like eagle or vulture sized. I was crossing a small isthmus and it flew right across
    my path. I missed it by maybe 2 feet at the most. I didn't notice it until it was too late to stop.
    It was flying about chest high and I was going about 20 mph. That would have hurt.

    I had a similar close call with a bat at night. I didn't see it until it flew in front of my
    headlight. I was going slower and it's only a mouse with wings so that probably wouldn't have hurt
    but it still would have been kind of freaky.

    --Bill Davidson
    --
    Please remove ".nospam" from my address for email replies.

    Support the Electronic Frontier Foundation http://www.eff.org Petition Congress to stop the RIAA
    lawsuits http://www.eff.org/share/petition/
     
  7. Mikeyankee

    Mikeyankee Guest

    Riding in the winter two years ago... passing through a small town where kids in neighboring houses
    were having a snowball fight... going about 25 mph on my fixed gear, when BLAM!

    I stopped in reaction to the sudden impact on my helmet, ready to yell at the little bastards who
    snowballed me. But it wasn't a snowball.

    It was a only [now dead] bluejay that was flying across the road. Either I rode into it, or it flew
    into me... I know not which... but it really startled me at the time.

    Mike Yankee

    (Address is munged to thwart spammers. To reply, delete everything after "com".)
     
  8. [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > I feel sorry for those that have to ride in urban and suburban environs as the chance of these
    > sorts of encounters are very small.

    Not as small as you may think. I have had the experience of a family of quail (mama hen and her
    chicks) running across the trail more than once. I've also had a small hawk fly with me as flew down
    the bike trail, probably hoping I'd flush out small birds and rodents as I went by. For several
    seasons I've considered the sight of a gold finch on my ride to be "Good Luck" just because I feel
    lucky every time I see one.

    There have been herons, redwing blackbirds, and all kinds of ducks and geese by the Mercer Slough;
    I've seen bald eagles overhead as I rode down West Lake Sammamish Parkway. I wish that vulture
    wouldn't circle over me as I ride up from Factoria to Eastgate -- do I look that close to dying as I
    grind my way up the hill?

    Some mornings on the way to work I've tried to track the number of robins, wrens, sparrows, finches,
    and so on that I've seen or heard, but I always lose count. I've also seen rabbits and probably too
    many *&%$ squirrels.

    You might see more of these animals on a rural ride, true, but there are plenty in the suburban and
    urban environment. You just have to open your eyes and ears, and be aware.

    Warm Regards,

    Claire Petersky L'Shanna Tova to everyone!
     
  9. On Sun, 28 Sep 2003 13:39:53 +0000, Claire Petersky wrote:

    >> I feel sorry for those that have to ride in urban and suburban environs as the chance of these
    >> sorts of encounters are very small.
    >
    > Not as small as you may think.

    I agree. In my daily psuedo-commute (I drive most of the way, unfortunately), I often hear the
    nearly unearthly cries of a red-tailed hawk that must live near my parking spot. On rides starting
    from within the city of Philadelphia, we often encounter turkeys, blue herons, hawks, as well as too
    many deer and lots of other animals.

    I believe that the growing encounters with both birds of prey and large, formerly over-hunted birds
    like turkeys and pheasant, are an indication that some conditions are improving around here. Of
    course, it could be continued loss of environment to development, but I prefer to think of it as
    cleaner air and water....

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics, I can _`\(,_ | assure you that mine
    are all greater. -- A. Einstein (_)/ (_) |
     
  10. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    "Claire Petersky" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    > > I feel sorry for those that have to ride in urban and suburban environs as the chance of these
    > > sorts of encounters are very small.
    >
    > Not as small as you may think.

    Indeed. (suburban Chicago:) Three nights ago a red-tailed hawk ran into the church window, and there
    was some frantic triage to do before the bird flew off, seemingly OK. There are Canada geese all
    over the place -- they have achieved nuisance value. Blue Herons are common, and some stay all year.
    There are other white crane-like birds that mostly pass through this time of the year. In occasional
    years, there is a family of owls on the ball field 3 doors down from me. There are the usual
    cardinals, blue jays, goldfinches, etc.

    One thing there are none since the middle of last summer are crows. West Nile virus wiped them out.
    I did see one in Wisconsin in June, but that's
    it.

    Certainly the ability to see an abundance of wildlife is one of the joys of riding in the country,
    but us poor city-folk do see a few things besides squirrels and possum.
     
  11. Don Wiss <[email protected]_spam.com> wrote:
    >On 28 Sep 2003 07:54:00 -0700, [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote:
    >
    >>I feel sorry for those that have to ride in urban and suburban environs as the chance of these
    >>sorts of encounters are very small.
    >
    >Maybe not exacting like yours, but here in NYC we have encounters with pigeons all the time. They
    >hang out on the road, and fly up when the bike approaches.

    I saw what I think were cormorants in the Gowanus Bay last weekend.

    --
    Steven O'Neill [email protected] oops, a canoe is a kind of bicycle, right?
     
  12. Don Wiss

    Don Wiss Guest

    On Sun, 28 Sep 2003, [email protected] (Steven M. O'Neill) wrote:

    >Don Wiss wrote:
    >>On 28 Sep 2003 07:54:00 -0700, [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote:
    >>
    >>>I feel sorry for those that have to ride in urban and suburban environs as the chance of these
    >>>sorts of encounters are very small.
    >>
    >>Maybe not exacting like yours, but here in NYC we have encounters with pigeons all the time. They
    >>hang out on the road, and fly up when the bike approaches.
    >
    >I saw what I think were cormorants in the Gowanus Bay last weekend.

    Are you sure they weren't sea gulls that had gone diving into an oil slick?

    Now the OP is glossing over the fact that we have urban parks here in the City. No pheasants or
    turkeys, but plenty of birds.

    And some of us in the City have bird feeders outside the kitchen window. Here's my favorite visitor:
    http://www.panix.com/~donwiss/pictures/house/h0032.htm

    Don <donwiss at panix.com>.
     
  13. Sorni

    Sorni Guest

    Someone threw a water bottle at me recently...said "Evian" right on it!

    Bill "just a little word play for a Sunday afternoon" S.
     
  14. Bb

    Bb Guest

    I live in Oakland in the midst of the SF Bay Area. On my way to work I can stop by an estuary that
    runs through a local community college. Blue herons, egrets,brown pellicans, ducks and geese. I take
    a break and drink coffee from my dandy stainless steel vacuum bottle that fits in my bottle cage
    before I get to work.

    Don't worry about us "urban" dwellers. The birds certainly don't care. Pity those stuck in
    automobiles, country or city, who are missing out.

    bb
     
  15. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    > I live in Oakland in the midst of the SF Bay Area. On my way to work I can stop by an estuary that
    > runs through a local community college. Blue herons, egrets,brown pellicans, ducks and geese.

    Don't forget the white pelicans, who are making a stop-over on their seasonal migration.
    They've taken up residence on a tiny island in one of the salt evaporators at Shoreline Park in
    Mountain View.

    Then there are the wild turkeys in and near Rancho San Antonio in Cupertino, peacocks along
    Montebello Road, red-tail hawks all over the hills, harrier hawks along the bayfront, and families
    of quail in the foothills (they often pick the worst time to run across the road).
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  16. [email protected] (MikeYankee) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Riding in the winter two years ago... passing through a small town where kids in neighboring
    > houses were having a snowball fight... going about 25 mph on my fixed gear, when BLAM!

    Now, if you felt something go SPLAT instead of BLAM, and it was on top of your helmet, you might
    have had an avian encounter of a different kind.

    (nothing like seagull excretia dripping through the vents in one's helmet...)

    Warm Regards,

    Claire Petersky ([email protected]) Home of the meditative cyclist:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~cpetersky/Welcome.htm Singing with you at: http://www.tiferet.net/ Books
    just wanna be FREE! See what I mean at: http://bookcrossing.com/friend/Cpetersky
     
  17. Sorni

    Sorni Guest

    "Claire Petersky" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > (nothing like seagull excretia dripping through the vents in one's helmet...)
    >
    > Warm Regards,

    Warm indeed :)

    Bill "hit with a big glob on shoulder as a kid and STILL remember it" S.
     
  18. Tsp

    Tsp Guest

    those little bastards threw the bluejay at you

    "MikeYankee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Riding in the winter two years ago... passing through a small town where
    kids
    > in neighboring houses were having a snowball fight... going about 25 mph
    on my
    > fixed gear, when BLAM!
    >
    > I stopped in reaction to the sudden impact on my helmet, ready to yell at
    the
    > little bastards who snowballed me. But it wasn't a snowball.
    >
    > It was a only [now dead] bluejay that was flying across the road. Either
    I
    > rode into it, or it flew into me... I know not which... but it really
    startled
    > me at the time.
    >
    >
    > Mike Yankee
    >
    > (Address is munged to thwart spammers. To reply, delete everything after "com".)
     
  19. Onlooker

    Onlooker Guest

    ThreeLeggedDog <[email protected]> wrote:

    >On 28 Sep 2003 07:54:00 -0700, [email protected] (Appkiller) wrote:
    >
    >
    >>About two miles further on I have my second encounter. Eight turkey in the ditch - six females and
    >>two juveniles! They moved slowly off, not flying like they usually do. Have you ever seen a turkey
    >>fly? Pretty impressive, especially when they go overhead. They really can't go very far, but
    >>still, amazing!
    >
    >As a city boy who moved from there to live a while in Central America and then to rural Alabama I
    >didn't recognize turkeys the first time I saw a wild one. "Damn! Brown peacocks."
    >
    >I was riding early one morning and spotted a big bird sitting a distance away on the road and
    >silhouetted against the sun. The closer I got to it, the realization hit me that it was a very big
    >bird. When it took flight its wingspan reached almost from the edge of the road to the center line.
    >As it flew past me, about twenty feet above, I saw the white head feathers and recognized my first
    >and so far only sighting of an American Eagle.
    >

    There is one very long MU path that meanders thru several parks and stretches across about
    two-thirds of the county. It terminates into a figure 8 path on a small island that is the winter
    home to a number of American Bald Eagles. In summertime there are not so many of them, but as the
    weather gets cooler more eagles winter on the island for the fish availability.

    In my mind's eye I always thought of them as about the size of hawks or falcons, but these dudes
    have wingspans in the area of 7 and 8 feet and HUGE nests. I rode out to Eagle Island (not its real
    name but what I call it) last weekend and rode the figure 8 twice, there was always 2 or 3 of them
    circling overhead anytime I looked up. I hoped to see them swoop down for a fish snack, but they
    seemed content to just circle lazily overhead.

    I am hoping for a unseasonably warm day in late Oct or Nov, so I can lug my digital camera along and
    get some pics (I could *drive* there but whats the fun in THAT?).
     
  20. Ron Hardin

    Ron Hardin Guest

    Start learning some bird songs and you don't have to see anything to keep track of the seasons.
    About February to early July is prime song season.

    Large birds are the least interesting.

    The turkey vultures were hoping you'd die, by the way.
    --
    Ron Hardin [email protected]

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
     
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