Mission: To promote the appreciation of wildlife and increase harmony between humanity and nature.

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Fall Feud

When the leaves turn golden and the birds begin wearing their new fall colors we know autumn has arrived.

Sometimes golden isn't good enough. For a brief moment, between the golden and the brown, this non-native maple turned a brilliant shade of red.

Some birds almost seem to imitate the leaves.

I suspect orb spiders are the same color all year round, however in the fall they and their golden color seem a bit more obvious. As the spiders prepare to lay their eggs their size and hunger must both be increasing

Last week, I came across Rod Crawford's spider site. Mr. Crawford is the Curator of Arachnids at the Burke Museum. His information is fascinating. Do you know how orb spiders consistently space the strands in their webs? They measure with their legs. Did you know that every night they destroy their webs and each morning they build a new one? Certainly the most entertaining part of Mr. Crawford's work is his myth busting. If you have a fear of spiders, or need a smile, you should read his responses under Spider Myths.

Flickers sometimes have some golden color on their backs and heads. However, what caught my eye this morning, was how the bubbles of sap in the tree bark and the spots on the flicker look so similar.

The stars of this week's post are the Bewick's wrens. When these little birds break into song the whole world listens. I suspect, ounce for ounce, they might be the loudest creatures on earth. The last song on All About Birds sounds the most similar to what I heard this week.

In spite of their vocal capabilities they usually work quietly in the shadows.

However, when they venture out they carry themselves with a sense of pride. Maybe it was a Bewick's wren that invented the concept of real estate and property ownership.

This week, I watched two of them carry on a lengthy discussion regarding the exact location of their mutual property line.

One bird clearly believed it owned this caucasian spruce.

The other thought it retained the deed to this crab-apple tree. There is only six or seven feet between the edges of two trees in the Arboretum.

When the spruce owner wandered too far away, his neighbor would sneak over and land in the lower branches of the spruce tree.

If this did not induce an immediate response the intruder would begin to sing. I presume it was something about possession being nine tenths of the law.

This would drive the spruce owner out of his wits. He would come blitzing down tree and chase his neighbor into the grassy no-man's-land between the trees.

At one point the bird in the crab-apple tree seemed to get a bit choked up. I am not sure if it was something he ate or something his neighbor said, but in any case he survived to sing again.

The process was repeated over and over with neither bird giving an inch. After twenty minutes I was beginning to think it would never end. Finally, something in a white-barked birch tree distracted the crab-apple owner. He flew away. I am sure the truce is only temporary. If I could identify them as individuals, I would call them Hatfield and McCoy.


Thank you to all the reader's who responded this week with their personal crow stories. The response has been varied and wonderful. I will be transcribing and publishing the responses as time allows during the next week. Thanks again!


Have a great day on Union Bay...where the feuding never ends!


What Bird Am I?

Can you determine what type of bird this is? The answer will be in next week's post.

Last week's bird was a double-crested cormorant.


  1. A movingly enchanted post. Thank you.
    -Tom Spiro

    1. Thank You! I sure hope your CLEAN project is successful. We need all the help we can get to decarbonize our energy sources.