RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Audubon's Phoebe

In 1803, John James Audubon wrote about his experience with Eastern Phoebes nesting behind his house along Perkiomen Creek west of Philadelphia:
"When they were about to leave the nest, I fixed a light silver thread to the leg of each, loose enough not to hurt the part, but so fastened that no exertions of theirs could remove it. At the next year's season when the Phoebe returns to Pennsylvania I had the satisfaction to observe those [birds nesting in the Perkiomen] cave and about it. Having caught several of these birds on the nest, I had the pleasure of finding two of them had the little ring on the leg."

I live 20 miles upstream from Audubon's house at Mill Grove along the Perkiomen, and this weekend heard several phoebes down at the creek while catching crayfish with my kids. With over 200 generations of phoebes having come and gone since Audubon's time, if any of those phoebes have living descendants, it is statistically almost a certainty that the birds nesting under the bridge behind my house are the direct descendants of the birds that Audubon banded.

We are all connected without knowing exactly how, and its fun to get a glimmer of exactly how that happens. There's only 20 miles and 150-200 phoebe generations between me and the great J.J. Audubon.

No comments:

Nature Blog Network Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites