This morning I set a personal record for the number of American Kestrels in view simultaneously...three of them. My previous high count on numerous occasions was two birds in view at one time. The interesting thing about these birds was the location...a grassy vacant lot behind Best Buy on 3rd street. Two of the Kestrels were perched near each other in a small tree. The third Kestrel was in another small tree about 100 feet away.This lot is also bordered by Barnes & Noble, a church, an auto repair shop, and numerous apartment buildings. I can't recall seeing many Kestrels in an urban setting like that.
I also recorded a personal high count of seven Pileated Woodpeckers on one outing. As I stood at the far north end of the IU cross country course I could hear four individuals calling from the woods to the north. As I headed south I flushed one from a tree out in the middle of the XC course. As I exited the XC course on its south side I saw two more in a patch of woods near the road. My previous record was five, set less than three weeks ago. Pretty cool!
Finally, I've been observing some interesting crow behavior lately. A couple of neighborhood crows apparently recognize me now. I've been going out in the yard a couple of times a day to put bird feed on the ground for the juncos and winter sparrows. A small flock of crows has been showing up on occasion to eat some of the feed, usually right after I put it out. A couple of days ago I noticed that one or two of the crows will get excited when I walk out the door, even if I'm not carrying bird feed. They don't act this way when other people leave the house or walk by. This morning on my way home from my morning walk I cut through an apartment complex parking lot. I passed under a tree where a crow was perched and the bird started calling excitedly. It then proceeded to follow me home. Of course I put out some fresh bird feed. :-)
For those of you who might be thinking I'm anthropomorphizing a bit about the crows, there is research that suggests that crows can differentiate between different humans. For example, see: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18429-if-you-think-a-crow-is-giving-you-the-evil-eye.html