"The quieter you become, the more you can hear." ~Baba Ram Das
If you've had the opportunity to explore the Garden as much as I have, you may have had an exciting sighting, as one visitor did recently. After one of our youth education classes, I was notified that a visitor had come upon a large bird sitting in the middle of one of the Wildflower Woodland trails. We went to go see the bird, it didn't want to move, and just sat, uncharacteristically, in the path while she walked around. When we arrived, the bird was perched on a low branch where I was able to take the above picture.
After I contacted a friend who is a certified Raptor-keeper, I learned that it's one red tail feather makes it a juvenile red-tailed hawk. Her larger stature makes her a female. Juvenile hawks develop their hunting skills over time, so she was likely tired and hungry in her efforts to catch food.
We have several nesting hawks here at the Garden. This is not the first time I have seen these beautiful raptors here at MBG. You can hear them calling often (if it's not a blue jay mimicking the call) and soaring over the grounds. One most interesting experience happened today when I saw a Coopers Hawk with talons full resting on the grounds of the original Arboretum by the Blue Star Memorial. We observed as it sat catching it's breath, with someone else's feathers underfoot, and neighboring songbirds called in anger. The Coopers hawk flew away, leaving just a feathery trace of the catch of the day.
In addition to our hawk families in the Garden habitat, I've also found evidence of the owls I know are here, but have never seen. Students in one of my outdoor classes several years ago thought they found a furry animal laying on the ground, but upon closer inspection I realized they had found an owl pellet! This pellet is a mass of bones, fur, and feathers from the diet of the owl. Last month I found another. Owls are here, hooting and feasting, but have remained invisible to me.
Now that the Nature Photography Garden has opened, we expect to see a lot more wildlife, especially birds, in this area enjoying the wildlife-attracting features.
We'd love for you to share your wildlife photos! If you have a photo of an animal or insect taken in the Nature Photography Garden, please click here to learn more about our new visitor-submitted photo gallery!