BIRDS IN JEFFERSON COUNTY
by Anne H Holt
Wood Storks on the Aucilla
On boat trip down the Aucilla to Apalachee Bay and up the Pinhook River I saw a gathering of Wood Storks. There were at least nine birds, resting on the limbs of a dead tree. One particular stork turned his back to us and spread his wings. He appeared to pose as I snapped shot after shot. It’s hard to imagine from a picture how big Wood Storks really are—they sometimes show a wing span of eight feet.
A Swift in the old jail
Sleek, black and timid, I first thought this creature was a large bat, but closer it definitely is a bird. It appears to be attempting to hide in the shadows in the basement staircase of the old jail on Dogwood Street. One or two windows in the building are broken so she found a fine home.
A Watch Hawk on High Street
Songbirds usually greet the day with joyous song in our huge oaks. One screams cheap, cheap, cheap until you want to spend the day shopping. One morning I woke to an almost eerie silence. No bird sang. This hawk is the reason. He perched high in a tree among the Spanish moss and seemed to regard me as an unwelcome intruder. Even the squirrels stop chattering and stay hidden until he moves on. He nests in the park across the street.
An Owl in the Monticello Ecological Park
This bird apparently does not like humans in his park. He lies in wait for a certain runner who regularly visits the park in the early morning –bursts from under the boardwalk—beating the air with his wings to make a startling noise—certainly hoping to frighten the human intruder away
Turkeys in the Monticello Ecological Park.
A flock of wild turkeys, I don’t know how many, hide in the old growth forest—enjoying the freedom and safety of acres of dense, untamed wilderness with plenty of water. These birds occasionally forget to be circumspect and gobble their joy at the abundance of food nature places before them.
Mississippi Swallowtail Kite in the Monticello Ecological Park
This bird was just visiting—skimming along — twitching his tail. Darting away into the tall trees.