Juvenile Robin – Perfectly Still After Becoming Aware That I Was Watching
Notes from field:
“Approached from NE. Savanna Sparrow on usual perch at SE corner ofService Berry rows. Male and female Cedar Waxwings
feeding on service berries infected with fungal rust disease. These infected berries are enlarged in a similar way to a gall. The asymptomatic berries are still very small and immature. The male plucks berries while perched or hovering in flight, brings a berry to female, and places it in her beak. She either eats it or gives it back. He then gives it back to her — eventually she eats it. They do not seem to mind the rust disease. At 10-15′ away, they are unconcerned with me.
Crows to S respond to alarms of crows 200 yards to the E where Bald Eagle flies low over canopy of tall Cottonwoods. Yesterday, I watched Eagle fly low over the Spruce across the street from my house where there is a crow’s nest with chicks. Eagle was mobbed by about 10 crows.
Robins ditch W. into mid-canopy. One remains on ground under service berries. Flattens itself to ground with beak tilted up to W. Makes persistent, high pitched, “seep” alarm, indicating an accipiter. Alarm grows quieter and quieter, then stops. Occasionally resumes or brief time. Robin holds perfectly still for 15 minutes, even as a loud group, which scared them before, walks by. Eagle briefly soared very high overhead, but I’m not sure this was the cause of the alarm.
Raccoon moving quietly into cattails & Vole Tunnel Entrance
At Sit Spot: Robin alarms, tut tut, at my approach. Sparrow comes out to investigate. There are loud splashes in the water and I suspect otters since I discovered an otter latrine forming on the bank last week. I lay still for nearly an hour, waiting for one to come ashore near me. Eventually I move forward and climb a thick willow downed by Beaver sticking high out over the water. I realize that what I thought were otters were actually massive carp… At this moment, Raccoon walks right below me, feeling through the world with sensitive hands. Raccoon moves into cattails, up to chest in the water and is feeling with hands. Seems to be grabbing at something. Completely unaware I am right above.
Exploring trail, I hear a begging call and shortly discover two juvenile Robins and two perturbed parents. The one juvenile remains perfectly still and has its portrait taken.
I learned later that the berry exchange of the Cedar Waxwings is a courting behavior. Last week I observed a different courting behavior where the male and female face away from each other and make a few hops. Then turn toward each other, hop together, and often touch beaks. I am altogether charmed by Cedar Waxwing.