12 May 2009

This chick ain't good enough

It's May, the height of migration in the United States for warblers, tanagers, and the like but on my latest bird outing all I found was one lonely chick.

How this chick found itself in a park in Miami is unknown to me but nonetheless it was there and making lots of noise. I was out looking for migrants, scanning trees, and coming up empty. The winds had been blowing for days and nothing was making a presence but I kept hearing this odd chirping noise under an oak tree. I inspected the branches and as I got closer the noise would disappear. Finally I looked down and saw the little chick less than a foot from my shoes.

The locations in South Florida can be a birder's paradise. We have Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and Purple Gallinules in the marsh, Red-whiskered Bulbuls and Gray Kingbirds in our neighborhoods and let's not forget the Snail Kites nesting in the summer but sometimes when all you want to see are those little colorful migrants, you can come up completely empty. This season has especially been barren. We had maybe two okay weeks and then the winds started and the small birds were gone. So when I go to one of Miami-Dade County's best hotspots for warblers and all I see is one lonely chick, I know that there will be better days. There have to be birds better than a feral chick to watch. If you're out today and you see a Rose-breasted Grosbeak or even a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher consider yourself lucky. You could be like me, sitting in a prime hotspot inspecting a chicken.

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