Birds of a Feather

This time of year can be somewhat difficult. The days of white covering the ground are over but the days of green lawns and fully-leafed trees are yet to come. Spring is an in-between time, a time of unrealized potential.

If you look casually at the landscape during spring you may see nothing but brown and tan with sprinklings of green where the grass is starting to grow. Take a closer look and you may see the subtle color on the ends of tree branches, the buds that promise warm days and sunny skies ahead. Look at a tree-covered hillside and you may see faint shades of red where new tree growth is taking place. Willow trees are taking on shades of gold with a hint of green, ready to show their canopy of weeping leaves.

Yes, spring means of a time of growth for plants and birth for many animal species. A special visitor that the Finger Lakes receives every year is the peregrine falcon. Not so many years ago these birds almost ceased to exist because of the effects of pesticides and pollution. But in the past 30 years their numbers have increased, and they’re making their new homes in amazing new locations.

Rochester is among several metropolitan areas in the Finger Lakes that host these birds every year. The Kodak Office Tower in Rochester is the center of their universe while they are incubating their eggs and raising their young. They usually arrive sometime in March and stay for a good part of the summer.

Peregrine falcons are beautiful creatures that have certainly taken advantage of what has been made available to them. They subsist mostly on birds, such as pigeons, starlings and ducks.

Other areas in which you may see the falcons are Syracuse and Oswego. What a wonderful opportunity to study a bird that is still  not very common but a joy to watch. Bring your cameras, binoculars, and sketchbooks and make a memory that will last a lifetime.

The saying “birds of a feather flock together” can be used to describe the throngs of people that are constantly on watch for the Rochester peregrine falcons. To find out more about these special birds, please read Ruth Thaler-Carter’s feature starting on page 44. I hope her insight will encourge you to learn more about these incredible animals.

Get outside and enjoy!