people as bird perches

May 5, 2006

in Silly stuff and bluster

This post on the Ohio birding list made me smile:

While enjoying a second cup of coffee on my patio this morning, A YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER LANDED ON MY HEAD. Having very little hair, me that is, it slipped off immediately and perched on the back of one of the other chairs, about 4 feet away and stayed there for about a minute. It appeared to want a cookie, or something, but I had nothing to offer it.

One of my friends  had a Purple Martin land on his head (we have called this guy “Martin Perch” ever since). I’ve never had a bird land on me, but once I did catch a Gray Catbird that was flying past me in my banding lab (a large barn at the time), one handed, mid-air.  A very proud moment. For me.  Humiliating to the catbird, I’m sure.

Gwyn May 5, 2006 at 9:23 pm

Cute story, thanks for sharing it! My husband tells me about the birds landing on his cap brim while he sits in the woods during turkey season.

Don't worry. He's never had a successful hunt yet, at least not from the "making meat" standpoint. I don't think he cares, he just likes the hunt. I understand. I do the same thing. Just with my camera!

Lanny May 6, 2006 at 1:01 am

Not quite a landing tale, but years ago an irate keeper threw me out of the 1904 flight cage at the St. Louis Zoo for inviting a huge African vulture onto my forearm. It was enjoying a nice head scratch. (The vulture, not the keeper.)

In the National Zoo's flight cage, White-winged Trumpeters would settle into my lap for a scratch. And if I poked a finger into their cage, Red-billed Oxpeckers would fly over to search my cuticle for parasites.

Bird interaction is a definite babe magnet–on our first date, I think my affinity for birds convinced a certain young woman I might be worth a further look. Our 36th anniversary is this year, so I guess hummers work even better than vultures.

Clare May 6, 2006 at 9:44 am

I've managed to have several birds land on me, or on things I was carrying. While fishing one fall at the Shell River near home a young barn swallow landed first on my Dad's fishing rod, and then mine. At Espanola Island in the Galapagos it was difficult keeping the Hood Island Mockingbirds off of you. Somewhere I have a photo of one sitting on my telephoto lens. But one of the most satisfying was having a Pine Grosbeak land on my arm while I was filling a feeder in Fort Providence. Completely unexpected as they always seemed to be shy skittish birds to me.

John May 6, 2006 at 2:48 pm

Great catch!

Jenn May 6, 2006 at 5:47 pm

Just have to mention that I have a bird on my shoulder right now as I am typing this! (it is my parrot though) 🙂

t May 8, 2006 at 12:08 pm

To me the really odd thing is that the warbler was enjoying a second cup of coffee. I think that's a heretofore unnoted behavior for yellow-throated warblers.

Nuthatch May 8, 2006 at 12:50 pm

Hopefully, it was shade grown coffee!

Yellow-throated Warblers seem like interesting little birds to me. They are quite rare in southeastern Michigan, and when found are up HIGH. Yet they seem much more approachable in winter. I've stayed at a place in Cuba where one would come through a hole in the thatching of a restaurant roof and hop on the tables amongst the diners, picking up tidbits. Perhaps, in light of this, it was just looking for some cafe Americano!

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