In last week's article I featured several excellent drawings by Margaret Braun from Fredonia that she drew of various local birds of our county. The birds were not only drawn accurately to the actual bird, but what made the image so amazing is that each drawing was painted on a curved Christmas decoration ornament. This week's article will be the second featuring this amazing artwork.
As I did last week, I selected five species that were contributed by Margaret. The birds to be highlighted in this week's column are: The Diminutive Golden-crowned Kinglet, the well-known Canada Goose, American Robin, the Blue Jay and the rarely observed Snowy Owl.
Starting with the Golden-crowned Kinglet, one of the smaller birds we observe in our area, it is one of two species of kinglets found in our county, the other being the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The Golden-crowned Kinglet is a common breeder in higher elevations of our state in both the Adirondacks and the Catskills. Having lived in the Catskills years ago while teaching science at the Oneonta Junior High School in that area, I can verify the lush environment that exists for numerous animal and plant species in that region. One of the interesting historical statements regarding this little bird was made by the late Frank Chapman when he stated that despite severe winter conditions, birds such as this little individual proves that, given an abundance of food, temperature becomes a secondary factor in a birds existence.
Moving on to the almost everybody knows this bird, the Canada Goose, historically there has probably not been any species of bird other than this one that has attracted as much interest for so many reasons such as excitement, food, and general appearance as the Canada Goose. Studied historically for its migratory patterns, the Canada Goose is without a doubt considered by many as one of the species of birds determined to be one of the best-known members of this group of animals.
The next bird in this group, also, probably known by every adult and child around, the American Robin. The Robin has long been considered the harbinger of spring, a statement often challenged by many sources who may consider other species as more worthy of this title. However, I will save that controversy for another time. At the time of Chapman's book (circa- 1895), he considered this bird a migratory species. Today we now know that the American Robin is viewed as an all year bird in our area. As a member of the thrush family, it is considered one of the more adaptable bird species in our part of the country.
The next bird to be discussed, the Blue Jay, a raucous all year bird wherever it is found, is one of more common birds of our region. A member of the crow family which includes Jays and Magpies, this bird has been considered a nuisance to the many hunters and woodland visitors as it announces their presence, much to the dismay of the visitors as they would prefer silence in their pursuit of other animals.
Finally, the Snowy Owl, which is a large majestic visitor from the north that makes frequent irruptions to our area, having been recorded from the first week of November to the last week of March. A few years ago I heard a sound on the roof of the family room and as I opened the door, I was surprised to see a male Snowy peering over the ledge at me. During that same period, several other folks in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area had similar experiences.
Photographs, sightings and article suggestions can be sent to me by U.S. Mail at 38 Elm St. Fredonia N.Y. 14063, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.