Readers’ wildlife videos

June 24, 2018 • 8:00 am

We have three videos today, and photos will resume tomorrow with a lovely post on owls from Bruce Lyon. But today we have some really nice videos. The first two are is from Stephen Barnard, who built a nest box, affixed to his garage, for a pair of American kestrels (Falco sparverius) to nest. They took him up on the offer, and there is at least one chick (there are likely more). That chick made its first appearance on video a few days ago, and here it is. Stephen’s notes are indented, and be sure to enlarge the first two Vimeo clips.

A kestrel chick takes a first look at the world outside the nest box.

Here’s a better closeup video shot a few hours later. The chick is curious, tracking birds and something on the ground, possibly a vole or another bird. (Brewer’s Blackbirds and Western Kingbirds, among other species, inhabit the space. Poor Boris [the male kestrel] is chased away by the blackbirds every time he brings a vole.) It looks to me like the chick is training its visual system. The curious head-bobbing is, I believe, for the same reason.

Look at the huge eyes!

Rick Longworth sent a video he took of one of my favorite mammals, the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis). I had a pet skunk for about 6-7 years, and the descented creature was delightful. Don’t denigrate the skunk! Rick’s notes are indented:

Last week I happened to spot movement through my west window.  Black and white. They had to be striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis).  A mom and 8 kits!  I was able to film them as the mother led them on short trips in and out of their den. Up and down the bank.  I think she was looking for a new home but couldn’t decide where to go.  The youngsters found innumerable distractions along the way.  You can ID the mother by the bit of brown in the tail.

I told Rick I liked the video, having owned one of these gorgeous mammals, and he responded:

Glad you like it.  I was tempted to sneak over close and snip away some of the vegetation for a better view.  But I was a little nervous about upsetting the mom and getting “skunked” [sprayed with noxious fluid].

22 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife videos

  1. In South Africa we have a kind of convergent evolution, the: muishond’ (litterally: mouse-dog), they are a kind of mongoose. The black and white ones are the real stinkers.

    1. Note, the equally black and white honey-badgers (ratels) don’t seriously stink, they are just fiercely badass, and will aggressively take on anybody. They are avoided as much as possible by other animals, including big predators.

  2. Hard to tell with the birds chirping, but I think I detect a few skunk sounds mixed in. Am I correct?

    1. I don’t think it was skunk sounds. They were quite far away and silent as far as I could tell. The sounds are probably quail, which say “Chi-ca-go”; or Magpies, which have many calls and sounds some of which are quite vulgar.

      1. What part of the country do you live in, Rick? What species of quail (and magpie, for that matter) are you referring to?

        Skunks always seem to have such large litters!

        1. I’m near Marsing, Idaho. The quail are California quail, Callipepla californica. The Magpies are the black billed Magpie, Pica hudsonia.

          1. Oh, now I remember you mentioning that before! Thanks, and sorry for my sieve of a brain…

            Those are nice birds to have around.

            1. The quail and magpie are ubiquitous so probably don’t merit much attention by locals. For me though, they are delightfully exotic and thrilling to see. 😎

              1. I know how that goes. I’ve lived in Oregon, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and Michigan (with shorter stops in California and Maryland). One person’s ho-hum is another one’s oh-wow! 😀

                (For all that I’ve still never lived where there are local magpies, alas. Corvids are so interesting. Would see them in Eastern Oregon but they weren’t in the Willamette Valley where we resided.)

              2. At some point I’m sure I’ll do some video of them. Quail too. Right now I’m focused on recording the the more quixotic residence – hummers, finches, owls, eagles, hawks, geese, pelicans…etc.

    1. That’s a good one. I notice, as with my skunks, the young almost trip up the mama by following too close.

      1. Yes, that is very interesting! It’s as if they all have to be in touch with each other/mama all the time.

          1. That wouldn’t seem to be very adaptive…OTOH, we’re just another mammal that’s learned that we generally don’t want to get too close to skunks, and they seem to know that. 🙂

            IME, it takes a lot to get them to go off; and most of my dogs have learned their lesson after one encounter…

  3. Love the juvenile Kestrel footage! Fascinating behavior. I’m glad you speculated on what reason there could be for the head bobbing, Stephen…makes sense to me.

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