River talk

Animal antics

By SCOTT RANDO
Posted 1/12/22

It was early morning when I arrived at GAIT Therapeutic Riding Center to volunteer for the day’s classes. The herd of horses had been turned out and some were grazing, while other horses seemed …

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River talk

Animal antics

This is a newly fledged eagle, about three months old, from a nest on the Delaware River. It decided to land on a nearby river bank. It then proceeded to pick up a couple of sticks and chunks of driftwood and play with them. It appears that the eagle is trying to pull the stick out of the ground. Although this is play, they are honing their skills in the process; I have seen an eagle wading in the shallows, and all at once, come up with an eel in its talons.
This is a newly fledged eagle, about three months old, from a nest on the Delaware River. It decided to land on a nearby river bank. It then proceeded to pick up a couple of sticks and chunks of driftwood and play with them. It appears that the eagle is trying to pull the stick out of the ground. Although this is play, they are honing their skills in the process; I have seen an eagle wading in the shallows, and all at once, come up with an eel in its talons.
RR photo by Scott Rando
Posted

It was early morning when I arrived at GAIT Therapeutic Riding Center to volunteer for the day’s classes. The herd of horses had been turned out and some were grazing, while other horses seemed to be involved in play, literally “horsing around.”

Watching horses is like watching other species of wildlife; as you become more experienced at observing particular species, you get more adept at assessing their behavior.

With horses, you can watch their posture, their ears, and their activity and determine whether they are at play or displaying a “Leave me alone” attitude; even horses 20 years of age or older engage in play behavior. It is a tool these very social animals use to interact with the rest of the herd.

With animals in the wild, some “antics” can be seen at any time. Play behavior is especially seen with young animals. Young red-tail hawks sometimes carry sticks into the air and then drop them, only to catch them in mid-air. This may be play, but in doing so, the young hawk is honing its skill in hunting and future defense of nesting territory. Other animal species follow similar behavior patterns.

Other times, animals may be doing their normal routines and do something not normally seen or perhaps get into an unusual situation. See some examples of all in this week’s photos for this column.

This is a newborn fawn which was very close to a main road, prompting the homeowner to call me. We gave it some distance and stood off to either side near the road to warn traffic in case the fawn decided to get up and move toward the road. No antics here; the fawn was just lifting itself to a standing position to get away from the road. Later, fawn and mother were seen in the same area walking together, but not near the road.
This is a newborn fawn which was very close to a main road, prompting the homeowner to call me. We gave it some distance and stood off to either side …

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