Listen to the noisemakers

Posted November 23rd, 2009 by kcorliss. Comment (0).

Our collective lore tends to endow Indians with outdoor skills not matched in the modern day. Likely there is some truth in that. One cue the natives certainly were aware of was the activity and vocalizations of birds.

Some well known birders possess an almost frightening sense of what is going on around them. But this one is easy even for beginners: Listen to the noisemakers and they will tell you something. American crows, chickadees and blue jays are the three most likely birds in our area to give away the presence of raptors, especially owls.

Yesterday morning a number of crows were loudly squawking and gathering in a confined area of West Fargo’s Elmwood Park. My buddy and I hustled over to check out which owl these birds were harassing only to find a breathless great horned owl. A common bird to be sure but still, for birders it’s nice to be handed a shortcut now and again so we don’t have to find them.

Listen for the squawkers, the noisemakers. They will point you to the birds. Below is the harried critter. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to capture the crows perched all around this bird at a distance.

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