|Male Harlequin-you can hunt it in season.|
(Margo D. Beller)
There is still the occasional hummingbird visitor to the feeder. The adult males are long gone, the adult females are leaving and the juveniles are now big enough to feed and travel on their own. The rubythroated hummingbird I've been seeing of late seems to have a tinge of red on its "chin," making it a juvenile male. He perches and takes long drinks. With the accumulated fat he's building he'll soon be heading to the lush tropics for the winter. I hope he survives the trip.
Overhead, the clouds are moving from north to south. In the bird reports I see warblers and other migrating birds showing up in greater numbers on their way to their winter grounds. The north wind is a tail wind, and when September comes that means it will be time for me to look in the skies for southbound raptors.
|Redtail hawk (Margo D. Beller)|
The view of raptors from the top of Pennsylvania's Hawk Mountain, an extremely rugged hike each way, is awesome. No platform here, just jagged rocks. This was one of the many places where sportsmen would see how many hawks they could shoot out of the sky.
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: For over a century, wildlife conservation laws and regulations have been enacted to keep our bird populations healthy. As part of our mandate to conserve birds and their habitats, we administer the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. These acts are at the foundation of the Migratory Bird Program.
|Hawk feathers (Margo D. Beller)|
But was my taking them illegal? Under the law what happens when you kill, say, a Canada goose during hunting season? Can you collect its feathers for sale?
According to this site, created by a person who sells feather art, some situations are legal, some are not. One of my friends, who is handy with crafts, recently found feathers from a great blue heron that was preening in one of her trees. She is angry at what she sees as hypocrisy -- that she can shoot a bird for supper but can't use its feathers for art and commerce.
So she won't be hawking her wares anytime soon. I, meanwhile, will be waiting for autumn to come for real and the north winds bringing the great raptor push southward. Feathers will be flying.