Recent Observations in Radford

March 7th about 8:30 in the morning, along the New River, among a few box elder trees:

two male bluebirds on the ground, major squabble, hefty wrestling match.

These two bluebirds fought, pecked, clawed, for well over five minutes. Actually one bluebird did most of the pulling and pecking. The other male was pinned upside down, one leg pinched against an outstretched wing. The pinned bluebird received over 20 pecks (more like intense knifing stabs)in the head. Between head pecking sessions, the two bluebirds would roughly tug at each others' bills.

While all this was going on, one female bluebird would flutter to the ground, quiver her wings, and sing. Then this bird would fly back up to a box elder limb and sing some more short bursts of bubbly songs. Twice she flew down, and eyed these wrestling males. Both times she picked up small insects and ate them.

I walked to within three feet of these bluebirds. After about a minute of me standing that close to them, they quit fighting. The male that had been pinned flew quickly away, with the other chasing really close behind. The female flew behind them. She was singing. And the male doing the chasing was singing.

This morning March 10th about 5:15, I'm driving down Walker Street in Radford. Two sets of glowing eyes are hurrying down the middle of the street and heading towards my car. As the pairs of eyes and my car get closer, I can identify one creature, a tabby cat. The other appears much smaller, and much darker. At first I think the cat is chasing a small rabbit, or similar sized creature. Then I think it is chasing a kitten.

Then I see what is running in front of the cat. It is a weasel, no it is a mink. It is a mink bounding along strangely in a slower motion than I usually see. Its back is also arched in a way that makes it look much larger. Both the cat and the mink appear to be running in almost slow motion. The mink bounded along, towards a hedge of manicured yew shrubs. The cat, though it was eying my car, continued its pursuit of the mink.

They both soon vanished into a dark lawn. And I drove on to my job where I'm now ready to start working.

Robins were singing this morning, and so were song sparrows.