Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sandhill cranes, owls, chickadees and the great migration: Or Not!

The lawn of Bullfrogs Bar and Grill in Brandon Township at the edge of Lake Louise has become a staging area for one of nature's  greatest adventure: migration! Sandhill cranes and Canada geese are in a holding pattern and 'fueling up'. But contrary to common belief birds do not fly south because they get cold. Birds go south  for their food and in almost all cases the birds that depart are bug and insect hunters or nectar sippers, like the ruby-throated hummingbirds that have already zipped south to Cuba and Central America.  If the bugs and insects and frogs and tiny creatures that fuel your metabolism die, hibernate or depart, so must you: thus the need for cranes, warblers and house wrens to flap away. The choice is simple: adapt to the new reality or die.Canada Geese have learned to adapt to a human altered environment and a warmer world and many stay in Oakland County all winter, seeking open water from 'bubblers' and lawns that stay  free of total snow cover offering places to graze. For others Ohio is south enough.  Mouse hunting screech owls have no need to migrate, nor do the great horned owls that now hoot to the approach of dawn bringing me pleasure as they reign night terror on  rabbits. Chickadees, well protected by layers of downy feathers do well in winter and an unnatural gathering of them already vists my sunflower seed feeder, which in turn will draw in Cooper's hawks -- for fluffy and crunchy Chickadee McNuggets. But loitiering sandhills will soon wing south and send a signal to all that can read their ways that winter and is on the way. Some geese will ignore that signal, for that too is nature's way.


Blogger Sandman said...

Dang, a restaurant on Lake Louise. I used to fish for monster bass in that lake and big pike in Huff Lake adjoined to it. We used to rent a boat from the rental for many ears and I have a sunken large tackle box out there somewhere when the boat overturned. That area is so over grown now and there aren't many bullfrogs left.

October 22, 2010 at 10:28 AM 
Blogger Jonathan Schechter said...

For those that asked about seeing the sandhills in the photo, they will probably loiter another few weeks and are best seen from the edge Bullfrog's parking lot-often about 5 pm. Another pair is at Kensington Metropark just north of the nature center. And a foresome hangs out in a field next to Ortonville State Recreation Area.

October 23, 2010 at 8:25 AM 

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