Monday, December 15, 2008

Birding in OOM Country


Winter weather has made it difficult to look for birds lately. Member of our birding forum have reported seeing flocks of Crossbills as well as Bald Eagles, Rough-legged and Red-shouldered hawks and Snowy Owls north of the city. Birding by car along country roads is not without risks when ditches are filled with snow. Pulling over to the shoulder can easily lead to a slide right off the road. ( I know this from experience)


I headed toward Hawkesville one morning last week looking for Crossbills reportedly seen in a spruce grove near the highway. This is Old Order Mennonite country and many horse-drawn buggies use the local roads. The shoulders are ploughed back and are wider than those found in other parts of the region to accommodate them. Traffic is generally light so I could drive slowly if necessary.

Sheds used to sell farm produce at the end of lanes were empty and hand written signs invited people to drive to the house to buy brown eggs, sausage, potatoes, maple syrup and more. No Sunday Sales! Old Order farms are easy to spot by the absence of electical wires to the house. Clean laundry flapped on clothes lines in the icy cold wind.

Old Order Mennonite Parochial School

Birds were very scarce and the winds blew snow from the fields across the roads. I did see several hawks overhead but was unable to identify them. Other than an American Kestrel on a wire, I didn't see much. However, there are always things of interest around here. A buggy dropped two women off at a farm where they walked up the snowy drive to visit someone. At noon hour, Mennonite children at a parochial school played outdoors in the cold. A large ice rink was being prepared behind the building. Older girls huddled near the walls out of the wind while younger children were playing tag.

Wild turkeys cross in front of me

As I drove back toward the city I saw three separate flocks of Wild Turkeys in cornfields. Two turkeys crossed the road in front of me in a fast walk, but decided to wing it as I got closer. I rarely see these turkeys and they made my journey a success from a birding standpoint.

Turkeys safely across the road

Samuel and I went birding on Saturday, another very cold day. I was concentrating on walking and did not take pictures. Check Sam's blog, read his account of the day and see the photos he took. It is a pleasure to take him out. We will find those winter birds sometime!


My World - Click link for more posts from around the world

37 comments:

  1. Your town looks so peaceful and quaint in those pictures. Love the one with the turkey with his feather spread.

    Hope you get to see some other birds really soon.

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  2. Seeing the Mennonite is always so fascinating to me. Fun turkeys too!

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  3. Love those turkeys! We had a flock fly across the road in front of us once. They are such fun to watch.

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  4. Your photos and comments regarding the Mennonite community and their life style take me back to my grandmother's days.

    Lovely wild turkey photos crossing the road!

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  5. Beautiful post. I have lived near Mennonite communities in Iowa and in Kentucky and have always thought that their farms and lifestyle were admirable. Nice pictures of the turkeys, too.

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  6. OOM--oh, Old Order Mennonite. Would you believe I figured it out just as I opened your blog.
    I love the photos, the simplicity, the starkness etc.
    And the wild turkeys--lucky. I love seeing them--so much more interesting than the domestic types.

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  7. Great post. I love the OOM country and your pictures are wonderful.

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  8. Ruth, your pictures of the OOM look identical to some Old Order Amish families we have living around here! Even your turkeys running across the road looks like something I've seen in Minnesota too.

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  9. That was a very informative post.Your pictures showed the life of the OOM in a very clear way.
    I bet they have some wonderful produce and perhaps baking to sell.
    Blessings,Ruth

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  10. Excellent myworld shots this week. Thanks for sharing.

    Cheers!
    Regina In Pictures

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  11. Very nice post! It was fun to read as well as look at the photos.

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  12. all photos are great, I can't choose a single favorite. I love it!!
    My World #5

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  13. You live in beautiful surroundings. Interesting people are those Mennonites. Thanks for sharing! Thanks too for visiting!

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  14. I agree your town looks so peaceful and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. What an interesting collection of winter photos. The Mennonites are so fascinating, and I love the turkey photos.
    Sorry that my "MyWorld" post didn't appear until after midnight my time - please take a look ---
    http://susieofarabia.wordpress.com/

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  16. Your tow looks like a world from a lost era, so peaceful and the bird shots are so much fun.

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  17. Thank you for posting a link to my blog. Too bad we were unable to see Wild Turkeys together.

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  18. Wow, you've had way more snow than we have. Great to see the Buggies and the Wild Turkeys.

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  19. Your photos are wonderful. We have Old Order farms in our area as well - I also love seeing the laundry hanging out on the line. Thanks for the introduction to Sam's blog as well.

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  20. Wow, you are having quite the wintery wonderland. The extreme winds and weather are making it tough here in western WA State to experience the birds too.

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  21. I like these photos very much. The turkeys crossing the road are something special!

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  22. Your town looks so peaceful. Lovely photos, espeically love the first one.

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  23. It looks a lot like the conditions here in northern Michigan. Cold and snowy. Thanks for sharing..

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  24. I really, really liked this post. The photos really helped. Good job.

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  25. Well I've learned something new today, thank you. I've to be be 53 years old and I've never heard of a Mennonite until now. How facinating and what brilliant photos and narrative to support them. Seems like a pefect lifestyle away from all that is crazy around us. Excellent post thank you for sharing.

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  26. Thanks for a descriptive and photographic tour of your world. I find the lifestyle of the Mennonites and Amish fascinating, but have never lived near any of their communities.

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  27. Ruth...we do live in a very beautiful area of Ontario and fortunate to have the uniqueness of the OOM to experience. Wouldn't it be fascinating just to spend one day following an OOM family around? I think we would learn so much.

    Congrats on the wild turkeys! I'm sure that are trying to hide from many Christmas dinner plates. Well they can be safe with me...I'm not a fan of turkey and rather have them for a pet then for dinner.

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  28. Great pictures and interesting story. Thanks for joining this.

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  29. Dirk- I tried to leave a comment on your blog and couldn't get past the word verification. Thanks for visiting. I enjoyed your featured churches.

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  30. Thanks to all my regular visitors who took time to comment. The Old Order Mennonites here are more private than the ones we saw in Lancaster PA. Some are moving further north as the city expands. I always try to be respectful when I take pictures of them.
    And I was respectful of the turkeys and did not try to get one for my Christmas dinner. ;-)

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  31. The turkeys look very large.

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  32. Just popped back from Birdman's site. Sorry about your knee.
    The pictures of your world and the comments about the Menonite community were brilliant. It all took me some 60 years back. Thank you.

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  33. Ruth: That was an interesting trip through your world, thanks so much for sharing. I love to see wild turkey.

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  34. happy tuesday ruth...love these shots. the wild turkeys are a hoot running across the road.
    a very interesting post and loved all the pics.
    thanks for sharing.

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  35. My local list of WNY is reporting the same birds along with short-eared owls..everyone is very excited...

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  36. Wonderful post today. Thank you for sharing these images. Great capture of the two turkeys. Did you bag one for christmas dinner?

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  37. Wow, lots of snow in your area! Loved your shots & stories of the OOM, they are an interesting group. We see lots of turkeys around here in the spring.

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