Friday, November 11, 2016

Murderer Captured, Tried, and Sentenced to Transportation...

We caught the male Coop today. But not before he killed ANOTHER pigeon, an incoming homer who had just come in from a Socorro training run-- what a welcome. He killed her right beside the "Bal chatri" trap I had set on the ground in the garden-- I thought he was caught, but he flew away. (The trap was on the ground so Libby would not be tempted to go on the roof again). I reset the BC, and a half hour later, he got caught by ONE TOE. I was watching to see if he was strongly attached. When he pulled the BC into the air, he flipped it upside down and the poor bait pigeon (quite safe, but terrified) exited the bottom and flew to shelter. I knew he was caught then, ran out, and secured him.

He is such a good hunter (and Esme is so neurotic) that I thought I would keep him as a falconry bird. But he pissed me off when he he killed the returning bird, and I don't know that I LIKE him well enough to make friends. I think I will take him to the Socorro Macdonald's to feast on the local exotics tomorrow, and look for someone more congenial...

A biological aside: I tried to trap English sparrows for BC bait yesterday, which normally takes five minutes, and realized there were NONE around.I drove the town and realized that there were none visible; ditto starlings, Great- tailed grackles, or even many Eurasian collared doves, though I did see a few of those. Apparently something, a disease rather than a predator, has (I hope temporarily) wiped them all out. There were more mosquitoes this year than any in my 36 here.I suspect Avian Malaria, which pigeons have some resistance to. People bought up water in standing tanks the year the town pump broke, and at least one relative newcomer has made large- scale standing pools to catch rain for his garden. Could the Coops be so bad because there is nothing else to eat? Unintended consequences...
My look of amazement is because he is the FATTEST first year Coop I have eve handled.

UPDATE: released in the Bosque, 30 miles away, already hunting...

3 comments:

Karin Christensen said...

Congratulations on capturing the murderer. I hope he is the only one.

I have also seen the same phenomenon with small birds out here in southwest Datil. I have a small cottage garden outside my kitchen window which surrounds a concrete bird bath. I don't feed wild birds but allow the flower and vegetable gardens along with the wild grasses that come up to go to seed so the winter birds can enjoy something to eat. This fall I have had dozens of species visiting, a few old timers that come every year plus a few I haven't seen before at least in my bird garden. The bath was a busy place with lines of birds awaiting their turn. A few days ago I noticed that there are none - at all. Where did all of the Juncos go?

For 8 years, returning pairs of barn swallows maintained three nests - two under the carport eaves and one inside my barn. Two years ago they arrived right on time then simply disappeared. I did not see one for the rest of the summer which was unusual. Previously, they produced two clutches a season. Last spring they arrived on schedule, only this time one pair tidied up the nest in the barn and produced a clutch of eggs. However, just days after they hatched I found three tiny, dead nestlings on the floor under the nest and parents were gone not to be seen again the rest of the year.

Something is going on.

I greatly enjoyed meeting you and Libby and your beautiful dogs.

Elaine said...

OK Punkin

Cait said...

I was in Silver City a few weeks ago and noticed the same thing, but wasn't sure if it was usual or not. (Moving out to NM in another couple months and I'm SO EXCITED about it; the new house is in Gila National Forest and I have great plans for a few trail cams and lots of exploring with the dogs). Saw TONS of ravens and jays, but zero grackles, one lone pigeon, no dove, and only 2 sparrows. (Did hear but did not see some montezuma quail, kindly ID'd by one of the park rangers- that was really cool, hopefully will see them next time.) (sorry for the comment on an old post, long time lurker, first time commenter!)