This month’s large bird is the osprey, a fierce and fearsome bird of prey, whose diet is fish, fish, and fish. The osprey’s vision is excellent to spot its prey in the water.
Once the target is sighted, the osprey dives towards the water surface and extends its talons before entry into the water.
Completely submerged, it will resurface with the fish held in both talons.
The fish is secured in the most aerodynamic fashion, and then the osprey flies off with its prey to a nearby perch and devours the meal.
The small bird this month is the elusive and secretive sora. The sora is a member of the rail family, which includes coots and gallinules. The adult has a gray face with a black mask, dark brown upperparts, and black and white barring on the flanks. Juveniles have buffy faces without the mask. They have a short and thick yellow bill, yellow feet, and a short pointy tail.
The soras feed mainly on vegetation. Their diet includes seeds and insects, such as dragonflies, flies, beetles, and snails that they extract from the mud.
Their nest is well-concealed in dense vegetation. Soras are more often heard than seen. Rarely are they seen walking in shallow water without vegetation nearby. At the slightest threat of motion or noise, they dash back into the thick vegetation and disappear.
October 1 and November 5. Two options: 7:30–10am or 8–10am (choose a 2-hour or a 2.5-hour walk.) Both walks are free but you must RSVP at www.blufflake.org/birdwatching. All are welcome. Bring your own binoculars, or borrow a pair from your guide. 11255 MLK Blvd. Search FrontPorchNE.com for “Bird Sightings” to see all the past bird stories and photos from George Ho.