few people were aware of social behavior in birds. So...."This lack of public knowledge, my experience with the Mallards, and my discovery of the research all led me
to the writing of this field guide. It is the result of my desire to share with
others the endless surprise and discovery produced by behavior-watching.
In the second chapter, Mr. Stokes explains the information you need to interpret a
bird's behavior: "The general timing of the bird's life s+ages, knowledge of l+s
displays used to communicate with other birds, and the details of Its major behavior
patterns." To answer these needs, the Information on each bird In this buide Is
organized Into three sections: a behavior calendar, a display guide, and behavior
Most of the birds dealt with in this book are species seen dally in the yard, or
frequently in the field, and thus are easily accessible for behavior watching. The
guide is designed to help you Interpret what you see In the field. We predict that
with the aid of this book, you too will discover new surprises and treasure hunts.
Bird Behavior....A Question
"Why does the Mockingbird raise Its wings?" That was a question put to Anne Elston
by one of the third-graders at her recent slide show In a Katy school. She discovered from the Stokes book that this behavior is called Wing-flashing, indulged In by
both male and female Mockingbirds, and...."Is not known whether It has a communicative function". Drat! So....we went on to Bent: "It is thought by some that these
performances are indulged In to start Ie unseen Insects Into betraying their whereabouts, but this needs more definite study and proof than are now available". Well,
that doesn't seem to pin anything down. How about Oberholser?.."When foraging on
the ground the Mockingbird frequently lifts its wings In a "wlng-flashing" gesture
the significance of which Is controversial, but which perhaps has the effect of
flushing grasshoppers out of the turf". Humn-n-n, now wouldn't you think that a
bird so visible as a Mockingbird would have tons of pages of research written about
every little movement with definite answers? If any reader knows of some research
and writing on this little habit of our familiar "Mock-bird" (so named by Mark Cates-
by In the early I700's) please let us hear from you.
NOT JUST ANOTHER WILD GOOSE CHASE. by Mary Ann Chapman
1+ having been a year since the famous "Wild Bahama Duck Chase" +ha+ I made +o Laguna
A+ascosa (see THE SPOONBILL, Dec, 1978) wi+h Ben Fel+ner, and having recovered
from Chris+mas Count season and two weeks in Mexico, I decided to make a run for the
Barnacle Geese reported at the Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge on Lake Texoma In
Checking with Refuge manager Jim Harman, I learned that the geese were frequentng an
area of +he Refuge to which access was available only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, that It was a matter of picking five Barnacles out of 30,000 Canadas, and that
since the Canadas were s+ar+lng +o move northward, our chances were less than 50-50.
But since my California visitor Bob Behrstock was chafing a+ the bl+, Richard Albert
had already arranged to rent a plane In Alice to fly up and meet us, and I had an
excuse to concoct a business appointment in Dallas on Thursday afternoon, we decided
to go for It.
Thus near midnight on January 17, after solving a maze of unmarked country roads.
Bob and I rolled into the tiny Tishomingo airport at the dead end of a dirt road
adjacent to the Refuge. We quickly located Richard, already snug In his sleeping
bag under the wing of his Beechcraft. Barred and Great Horned Owls called over the
nocturnal chattering of the geese.
The next morning, fortified with a mammoth breakfast from Petty's Restaurant (recommended - $1.95), we arrived at Refuge headquarters to find a contingent of TOS members from Wichita Falls and Fort Worth waiting for us. Upon the recommendation of
Refuge personnel, we spent the day examining thousands of Canada Geese along the
lake shore and in several feeding areas. We received a thorough self-education on
five subspecies of Canada Geese of all sizes and several plumages of Blue Geese,
with a sprinkling of Snows, Whlte-fronteds and Ross' for varie+y. The day s special
treats were several adult Bald Eagles and a Prairie Falcon, but no Barnacle Geese.
Hungry and decidedly grubby from our day In the field, we attacked dinner at the
Western Inn Motel (all the catfish you can eat for $2.95, every Friday night). As
we debated whether to give it another day's try, we were suddenly accosted by a trio
of fresh, dapper birders attracted by Richard's bird-patch-bedecked jacket. "We
bet he knows where the Barnacle Geese are!" they exclaimed. "Oh no, he doesn't!"