Monday, February 25, 2008

Cerulean Summer

19 May 07. I love the east, with its lush deciduous forests, diversity of flora, and moist ground. I feel a sense of belonging where hills with steep slopes are filled with an evening song of wood thrushes, peewees, ceruleans, and ovenbirds. It is cooler this evening. The air is still, making the detection of bird movements easier, especially those of 10 gram canopy dwellers. The birds may be actively singing, but not a great deal of locomotion is occurring. A male cerulean has just made a slow ascent up a west slope to enter into dialogue of some sort with another male overlooking an east slope. (Near RBP4 3H (GPS129) 6m) The sun is nearly set as I head north along the ridge of a mountain. All the while I’m listening to ceruleans as sing and bounce up and down the east slope. I found one of my research colleague’s ovenbird nests. She thoughtfully placed flagging around it. The sun has set over the mountains to my west, yet the ceruleans sing on. A male is singing only a few meters east of a nest. I found this nest early in the field season, during build stage. Once, I had feared abandonment of depredation. Abandonment because of a log-skidder dragging logs 15m from the nest all week. I try to draw as little alert attention as possible while observing a nest even though I tread far more lightly than a log-skidder.. If any alert behavior by a cerulean is directed at me, I back off, making movements and noise no greater than that of a natural animal, such as a white-tailed deer. If the presence of deer or elk were enough to cause abandonment, then the cerulean warbler would have been gone long before now.

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