March 3 – 9, 2014 Kaw Valley Almanac

March 3, 2014


5 thoughts on “March 3 – 9, 2014 Kaw Valley Almanac

  1. Couldn’t get Jupiter to stop jiggling in my binoculars and decided against trying to tie them to something fixed and lined up. Oh well, But can you recommend a short source that describes bird behavior – specifically going from survival to territorial mode? I’m certainly observing birds in pairs lately. Keep in mind that I often tend to be happy seeing what I can without going to too much trouble, It’s at least interesting to me to look for things that I hadn’t thought about before. I appreciate the weekly nudge.


  2. Since Jupiter is almost overhead, I recommend laying on the ground and use the binoculars from that much more stable position–feel free to put down a blanket/yoga mat first! If you can’t stabilize the image enough that way, if you can find a place where you can lean the binoculars against the side of a wall/car top/something stable, pivoting them around from that point of stability, you can usually get it steady enough. Also, most binoculars have a tripod mount screw receiver that will secure it to most camera tripods–a very stable foundation indeed! If you do this, you’ll also notice that the rotation of the earth slowly shifts the image of Jupiter so it drifts out of the field of view. This is considered annoying to many an amateur astronomer; I find it kind of amazing to be able to see it as proof that we are rotating in space!

    By being in survival mode, I was referring to the fact that they are tolerating each other’s proximity in the winter flock in order to line up to get food from the bird feeder. When in winter flock mode, they are also much more tolerant of members of their own species instead of driving each other off in a sign of territorial impulse. Another example is, of course, the winter migration flocks where dozens, hundreds, even thousands of the same/similar species gather together for aerodynamic/defense from predators reasons. I read somewhere that a predator hawk is oftentimes disoriented so much by the wall of thousands of birds flying by that they can’t focus on grabbing even one bird.


  3. Hi Ken…thank you for the Almanac. Recently I’ve been hearing a couple of owls in our neighborhood just east of Lawrence High. Several years ago I was able to identify a Great Horned in the neighborhood, but I’m not sure if what I’m hearing now is the Great Horned or maybe a Barred. Can you suggest how I might learn the difference and positively identify who is here now? It’s been almost like clockwork to hear them at 5:40pm and now probably 6:40pm with daylight savings time. Thanks for your help.


  4. Thank you, Ken…very helpful. This year it’s Barred Owls. The “like monkeys” was the ultimate identifier…


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