|Common Redpoll and Black-capped Chickadee, March 2018, Montmartre, SK|
This winter I've been catching up on organizing the thousands of images I've collected over the past few years and using them as proof to report what species live on the prairies in our part of the province of Saskatchewan. As you can imagine, I've hesitated doing this because it takes a huge chunk out of my reading and writing time. But there is a real need for accurate information about the flora and fauna that share our natural environment and since I'm somewhat handy with a camera, this is a productive way to help different levels of my government and natural communities.
Interspersed through my image files are dozens of video footage which show nature in action, whether it's a bird in flight, animal on the run, or the wind blowing across the prairie like a rolling wave. The videos aren't sale-worthy quality, but they allow me to take stop-action screenshots for things that move too fast for my eye and shutter to catch, such as the image at the top of this post where I took a screenshot of a video I'm showing on this page.
Some of these videos made me laugh out loud while watching the interactions of the birds. It's like slap-stick comedy where no one gets hurt, such as this first one where the redpoll is more of a nuisance than a threat to the chickadee. The redpoll doesn't seem to know what to do with the peanut wreath, but if the chickadee is interested, then it must be good. The video will show in normal speed first, and then slow motion so you don't miss anything. (https://youtu.be/_tZK6KW6Gm0)
For the first time, the redpolls and chickadees were both residents on our farm all winter, yet it's taken until March for them to build a relationship where they share the same feeder - somewhat. They act as if they didn't know the other was there, but I highly doubt that. By the way, this is the view I see from my office window and it's filmed through the glass. (https://youtu.be/vW1SblH03Ok)
These days, dozens of Horned Larks are flying off the roads in front on the vehicles. Sometimes they land further up the road, and other times the flock will land in a nearby field. They must have found a patch of spilled grain in this next video because they all but ignored me, which left me able to see their social interaction. Again it will be normal speed first, then slowed down. (https://youtu.be/I03sKWHk0tg)
This last one has been on YouTube for a couple years, but I've re-edited and shortened it for here. I've labelled it as a Tree Swallow Bully, but if you start at the very earliest, you'll see these two sparrows exchanging their version of words which may explain the later action. If you like AFV, then you'll know what I mean. This one was also filmed through a window, which is why you can hear the camera, but not the sound of being outdoors. (https://youtu.be/cEna9DfiZDI)
I have mixed feelings about that last one. I know that the swallow who fell wasn't injured in the exchange, but it reminds me of a penguin video I saw on AFV a few years back, where one slaps another on the head and knocks it down, then keeps walking as if nothing happened. I laugh because of the nonchalant way it plays out. It's funny when we see it in the animal kingdom, but thankfully, we're outraged when we see or hear of it where humans are concerned.
I can attest to the fact that no birds were harmed in these videos.
Anita Mae Draper's historical romances are written under the western skies of the Saskatchewan prairie where her love of research and genealogy yield fascinating truths that layer her stories with rich historical details. Anita's short story, Here We Come A-Wassailing, was a finalist for the Word Guild's 2015 Word Awards. Her novellas are included in Austen in Austin Volume 1, The American Heiress Brides Collection, and The Secret Admirer Romance Collection. Readers can check out Anita's Pinterest boards for a visual idea of her stories to enrich their reading experience. Discover more at: