Beyond ID

Morning,

Not a question really (and perhaps not a discussion, we'll see), but I've been musing over the past few days about the fact that over the years I've become less interested in identification per se, and more interested in behaviour.

For example, I just got home, and as I walked toward the house saw three Magpies in close flight.

Impossible for me to say what this meant, or whether this was a family outing, a ménage à trois, the start of a grouping (although groups here, at 800m+ are small), ...

One of the birds landed in the crown of one of our tall trees, while the other flew behind (at ca 3m) the third, and repeatedly flew upward, in a fanning movement, adjusting its height so that it was above the third bird, before dropping down below it again and then repeating the action.

And that made me think of friends of ours in Tuscany. They had Common Kestrels nesting close to them this year (every year in fact, but this year they had additional time to watch the nest closely), and when it was time for the young to leave the nest, the female flew close under each on each youngster's maiden flight. Which makes sense, but must have been a quite extraordinary thing to see.

I can't call this "unusual behaviour", because I don't know enough. (And never will.)

I suppose I'm just saying that I find it intriguing, and that (thinking aloud) these behaviours are the things that capture my attention more and more. (And that I'm more and more comfortable not being able to identify things.)

All the best -

Dave 

  • As you say Dave, it's fascinating to watch individual or flock bird behaviour and during 9 years at our last house/garden the corvids were particularly mesmerising to watch with their various skills and at times strange behaviour !     Amongst the many things I watched was one carrion crow using the recent fall of hail-stone to carry out what looked more akin to a bath and body scrub  !!      Other times I saw a pair of Jackdaws in very close (wing tip to wing tip) aerobatic display,  perhaps part of bonding or courtship, soaring through the air, dropping down, turning,  almost in contact all the time by wing tip.     There is so much we still don't understand about bird behaviours but its so rewarding to spend time just watching and trying to fathom out each pattern of that behaviour.      Don't ya just love birds   !!!    lol

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • I think the behaviour of our local everyday birds is fascinating which is why it riles when we turn up at a birding site and folk say there is nothing to see.

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • I’m starting to think that I miss out when I try to get photos of wildlife I haven’t seen before. I’m too focused (on getting the camera to focus) on a specific thing that I don’t see the big picture. I should probably just relax and enjoy the moment of seeing something. The flip side is that often I see more details in photos than I can manage on the spot.
  • In reply to HAZY:

    HAZY said:
    Amongst the many things I watched was one carrion crow using the recent fall of hail-stone to carry out what looked more akin to a bath and body scrub  !!

    Wow. Well that certainly looks like a scrub and peel. 

    HAZY said:
    I saw a pair of Jackdaws in very close (wing tip to wing tip) aerobatic display

    I saw Ravens with the invisible thread this year, tumbling (no contact) together like a gyroscope, spinning in all plains. 

    HAZY said:
    There is so much we still don't understand about bird behaviours but its so rewarding to spend time just watching and trying to fathom out each pattern of that behaviour

    :-)  Not just me then (a relief).

  • In reply to Seaman:

    Wendy S said:
    there is nothing to see

    :-)  I suppose it depends what you're looking for.

    I would have thought that there's almost always something to observe.

  • In reply to DB_Fife:

    DB_Fife said:
    should probably just relax and enjoy the moment of seeing something

    Maybe. I used to have those moments, particularly if we "reached our destination" and I was putting the scope up (my job). 

    FOMO. Fear of missing out.

    DB_Fife said:
    The flip side is that often I see more details in photos than I can manage on the spot

    Absolutely. And please don't get me wrong. I've nothing against photos. Besides the pleasure it gives the person who takes them it's a humane alternative to catching, killing, and stuffing (which is what we used to do). And that's a good thing.

    Sometimes, though, I look at (wonderful photos) and barely recognize the bird, because most of the time I've only ever seen my impression of it, often made in cr*p light and more and more with ageing eyes. If you see what I mean.

  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Dave that last paragraph really fits me with my deteriorating eyes

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Great topic, Dave - CH! I am interested in a bird's ID (nice to know what you are looking at!) but mainly have always been more interested in their behaviour. My brother-in-law once commented after a joint visit to a reserve that I always seem to notice and later talk about some bird I saw eating something. That was after over 30 years married to my truly bird-mad sister, a serious lister, although she only ever chases rarities when she is obsessed with whatever Big Year she is doing at the time. I hope she has only one left to do (in the area they have just moved to) and will give up chasing altogether. Fortunately, she is also interested in bird behaviour. She also takes photos, but mainly as proof she has seen the bird, and she is not obsessed with taking super photos. I am not a photographer but have improved my ID ability, completely accidentally and unintentionally, by looking at huge numbers of photos and reading threads on this forum--a very welcome side-effect! Thank you, photographers and other posters. But as for Gulls and Waders, that may have to wait until my next life...Lol!

    Kind regards, 

    Ann

  • In reply to Seaman:

    Wendy S said:
    that last paragraph really fits me with my deteriorating eyes

    Impressions are sometimes enough, no Pete?

    The Magpies I saw this weekend, I couldn't tell you anything about the abrasion of their secondary covets, but I did get the impression that one was an angel.  So beautiful I nearly needed to sit down.

  • As an amateur in a foreign land still learning the nature here without the benefit of childhood eyes and free time, I tend to take little videos and overarching pics as well as close-ups and that helps a lot with being able to remind myself of the bird behaviour later on. It also warms me on a sad day to watch a video of a crow bathing or a duck nibbling fur from a dog! I do always try to spend a good chunk of my time just watching though, and almost always spot by eye partly for that reason. Sometimes I see a perfect photo moment and let it pass because watching it is too enjoyable. We have to find a balance in ourselves always, don't we?