City Birds

I was hoping my first bird of 2012 wouldn’t be a pigeon, but, the fact that I was ringing in the new year in New York City, didn’t bode well for that.  Sure enough, as we headed out on the morning of the First to take in sights, a Rock Pigeon landed in our path.  It felt like a bad omen.  The next few hundred birds I saw were also Rock Pigeons.  Then I got to thinking, why not a pigeon?  Sure they are commonplace.  Most city dwellers deal with them daily.  They probably aren’t on anyone’s life list.  Most birders probably don’t even count them. But Rock Pigeons are birds too.  And it’s inevitable that I’m going to see one eventually this year, so why not start off my 2012 Year List with one?  As we continued our sightseeing in lower Manhattan and I ran across some more typical city birds — House Sparrows, European Starlings, Ring-billed Gulls and Herring Gulls.  Finally at Liberty Island I was rewarded with a new bird for my Life List — a small gaggle of Brandts grooming the well-manicured lawn behind the statue.  I was armed with only an iPhone, but here are a few shots of my New Year’s Day birding excursion in New York City.

Rock Pigeon at Word Trade Center Memorial

Herring Gull hoping you don’t read the sign

Brandts foraging on Liberty Island

Rock Pigeons at Battery Park

Purple Martins at Robert is Here

This afternoon we took some friends down to Robert is Here, a popular fruit stand and farm that has been a South Florida landmark since 1960.  The word “landmark” is especially appropriate in this case, because “ROBERT IS HERE” appears in large block lettering atop the roof, so that even those passing by in airplanes can plainly see just where Robert is.  As we parked I noticed some birdhouses at the side of the property and a sign underneath them that boasted, “Southern Most Purple Martin House in the Continental USA.”  At first I saw nothing more than a couple of House Sparrows playing on the birdhouse but soon a male Purple Martin landed on one of the pegs.  Then a female joined him and some juveniles poked their heads out of some of the holes. Purple Martins, the largest of the North American Swallows, are completely dependent on artificial houses and next boxes.

Purple Martin (Progne subis) at the “Southern Most Purple Martin House in the Continental USA.”

Purple Martin (Male and Female)

A juvenile Purple Martin pokes his head out of the bird house at the Robert is Here fruit stand in Florida City, FL.

Here is a shot of the male Purple Martin in front of a sky filled with smoke from the brush fires currently burning in the Florida Everglades.

The Purple Martin Conservation Association
Wikipedia Entry for Purple Martin
All About Birds Entry for Purple Martin
Visit Robert is Here