Saturday, July 28, 2007

Eastern Kingbirds at Citizen's Bank Park (and the Phillies Win!)

Vince Elia, research associate at Cape May Bird Observatory, remarked to me a while ago that, "I'm never not birding." So it is with all birders, I think.

So, for example, while enjoying the Philadelphia Phillies' triumph over the Pirates last night at Citizen's Bank Park in the city, I also enjoyed three Eastern Kingbirds which fed from the cables holding up the screen behind home plate. Seeing these marvelous and very wild birds ensconced in such a human-dominated environment surprised me, a pleasure that far surpassed the expected Rock Pigeons, House Sparrows, and gulls floating overhead, and maybe even the game, too.

During the national anthem, one kingbird sallied repeatedly into left field, snatching up moths barely above the turf. The moths, I guessed, were drawn by and then confused by the stadium lights.

As soon as the players took the field and Jamie Moyer threw his first pitch (a strike), the kingbirds flew steadily towards the left field wall and disappeared over it, not to return that night. They had been present and feeding for at least 45 minutes before that point. I wonder how many fans noticed? It helped, I suppose, to be carrying some fine German optics to watch the game, and the birds. . .

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