Spent an afternoon in a Grey Box forest recently. Not often we get to spend time in a forest. Yet, once upon a time, in a universe somewhere around the corner, this blog started keeping track of my visits to Woodlands Grey Box forest.
And most of the subjects of the time were bush birds.
However just on 8 years, (my, doesn’t time fly), we moved home to an area that is pretty much bereft of any sort of forest stand and is primarily open Basalt Plains Grasslands.
Gone are the small forest birds like Robins and in their place are numbers of small, but difficult to locate grass dwellers.
At the top of the food chain are the raptors—Kites and Falcons.
Most are nomadic at best, but usually Brown Falcon is local. Working a territory and not travelling too far to follow the food. Being pretty catholic in diet, they have plenty to choose from in the grasslands.
That’s the thing about Browns. Hot or Cold. They are there.
The scorching 40 degree days of summer. The high windy gale-force days. The days of incessant, if not persistent rain. No matter what.
Brown sits and waits. It is their nature.
In some respects if we were to anthropomorphise, I’d be inclined to call them Stoic.
But as we don’t anthropomorphise, I won’t. 🙂
One of the tenets of Stoicism was (is?)”in accordance with nature.” Because of this:
the Stoics thought the best indication of an individual’s philosophy was not what a person said but how a person behaved. To live a good life, one had to understand the rules of the natural order since they thought everything was rooted in nature.
I am convinced that Browns really do understand the nature order around them. To watch one slip off a branch, and head along the paddock as just a few cms over the ground, dodging branches, bushes and the like is to watch a bird that has ‘plotted’ the area.
The other day, as we were watching with Cassia, of Cinnamon, she suddenly picked up her skirts and moved to a tree about 50m away, but more out in the open. I said to Mr An and EE, but more likely I just said it out loud as commentary, “Brown Falcons, don’t just move from one tree to another for no purpose. She has moved for her reason and no doubt it we wait a little bit it will become apparent.” Don’t want to sound like a Falcon prophet or some-such, but we waited. Within 5 minutes the Male turned up with lunch. The more open tree was the perfect place for a quick food exchange.
No doubt she had seen or heard him when he was a long way out and prepared herself to receive the delivery.
During nesting season, it is a little hard not to have sympathy with their main food source of the young. Cassia, of Cinnamon and her mate, have a likeness for Pipits and Skylarks. Both of which nest in the grasses on the ground, and must be, for a hovering Falcon, an easy mark. Or for a Falcon with an intimate knowledge fo the area as it scans from a post, or tree—although there are not too many trees on your average grasslands.
Brown’s are not noted for their amazing hovering ability, but given a good breeze, they can make a pretty fair fist of it. And so at present, he is bringing in for the three young fledglings, a pipit or skylark most deliveries.
For their part the hapless grass birds have two advantages. One they outnumber the falcons. And they are capable of several nestings a season, so once the urgency of the falcons passes the little birds should be fairly successful.
The falcons presumably will go back to hunting grasshoppers, crickets and the occasional snake.
The young will move off to find their own territories and the exhausted local pair will go back to sitting quietly, watching for the next convenient meal.
And the Pipits can resume sitting on the fence posts without fear.