Good Morning Dear Nature Schmoozers,


Have you been able to escape from this hectic time of year with a visit to nature ? That wonderful place, where we can space out and let the moment take reins of our thoughts. My ‘must-do!’ list drowned itself in the river, because I tried to guess how many zillions of AMERICAN COOTS were frolicking on the water that late December afternoon. Dense groups of A. COOTS formed dark patches on the river that looked like floating islands with personalized behavior. There was the flock that move in synchronized slow motion to the other shore. An other batch would scatter for a bit and then unit again into a tight cluster. Two groups tried intermingling with each other. That experiment didn’t last long. The group members returned to their original flock and swam in opposite directions. Except one COOT, who couldn’t decide which cluster to follow. After some flustered back and forth swimming the decision was made, restoring the COOT’s sense of belonging.

juv. RED-tailed HAWK perched above Benchland…

That brings me to the Benchland incident that a friend alerted me to: a FB post addressed that a drugged RED-tailed HAWK had been rescued from a campers tent. Reading the post I instantly wondered if the HAWK had eaten a rat poisoned prey, because it sounded like the raptor hadn’t fought human handling, which is highly unusual. Later the keeper of the big bird assured me that it didn’t fight being picked up off the ground and being petted. The camper took this as a sign that the HAWK loved him and they now belonged together, which included sharing the tent. The relationship ended when the tipped-off Animal Shelter crew located the sluggish patient after a 2 day search and re-located the RED-tailed HAWK to the perfect place: The Native Animal Rescue (NAR) Center. Their record of raptor rescues is incredibly impressive as are all their native animals re-hap achievements. Of course I called Eve Egan, one of the kind NAR souls, to get an update about the ‘famous’ HAWK thanks to KSBW airing its story. She told me that it was a juvenile RED-tailed HAWK, probably hatched this year, that it was still sluggish, undernourished and eating well. I asked if the HAWK’s behavior could be due to ingesting a rat poisoned prey. She said they couldn’t tell, but that was a possibility ~ the next few days were crucial for its health success. BTW: the NAR website posted a very informative video about rat poison and  its wildlife effects. The BEST wasn’t happy to learn about the state of their chosen mascot. They did feel encouraged that the HAWK was eating and took its appetite as a good omen.

adult RED-tailed HAWK perched across from juv. HAWK

I’ll keep you updated about our river RED-tailed HAWK and just in case you like to spend time in nature then this might appeal to you:
The Estuary Project invites YOU to join us for 2 hours on
Saturday, 18th – from 9am-11am
We suggest that you bring gloves, sturdy shoes, hat & water.
River path – south of Riverside Ave. bridge above San Lorenzo Blvd. across from the Budget Hotel

4 thoughts on “belonging…

  1. Oh my! I read only a brief mention of this on a link that was sent to me, but noticed that mean comments were already starting to accumulate. People are actually accusing those who live in the encampment of intentionally giving it meth! People say the weirdest and meanest things! ‘Haters gonna hate!’


    1. Hi Tony, yes- the Hawk incident made the social & public news & received a lot of assumption comments. I always wish that people ask more questions before making their conclusions. Then again that takes time…
      Thanks ~ jane

      Liked by 1 person

  2. About Coots: Batya and I recently spotted a small group of Coots on a muddy bank of Neary’s Lagoon with a small group of Mallards. The Coots kept having little skirmishes, seemingly to establish a pecking order. The Mallards were sitting placidly, but if a Coot passed by closely, a Mallard would rouse itself to snap at the Coot. “Get out of here, you stinky, fighty Coot!” I spoke in guise of a Mallard, which for some reason caused Batya to collapse in hilarious laughter for a long time. The Mallards looked more noble in this case, but I know that the males’ breeding behavior isn’t exactly gentlemanly. Happy birdwatching!


    1. Hi Michael, it’s true that some wildlife rituals are intense & mate unfriendly. The male Mallards are in need of gender equality lessons & no young male should be allowed to watch their behavior. I don’t know why the Cooots’ behavior cracks me up. Maybe because they have such curious interactions w/other species. Neat that they caught your attention too. Say Hi to Batya & happy birding ~ jane


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