Meet the Tanagers

Meet the Tanagers

Lately I’ve been hearing the Summer Tanager singing and singing all day long. They say the song sounds like that of a lazy robin…

I do know that they can be difficult to spot because they like to hang amongst the leaves in the treetops.

I was lucky with this one, he landed on a wire above my head.

The males are a bright rosy red all over their body, while the females are yellow. Below is a young male, he is a mix of yellow and red, but will eventually be all red.

The Summer Tanager and then Scarlet Tanager both will spend their winters in the tropics.

The male Scarlet Tanager is a deep red bird with black on its wings and tail. The female is a yellow-green.

I don’t see as many of the Scarlet as I do the Summer since there are far less of them in my area. The Scarlet also seems to sing less and stay higher up in the trees than the Summer.

Both of these Tanagers will eat mostly insects, including bees.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

It’s in the Eyes…

It’s in the Eyes…

Birds get their names for sooooo many different reasons. Some of their names are so obvious, while others make you grab your computer and look up just how the name came to be!

Here are a couple of Vireos that I caught peeking at me the other day, can you guess what their names are?

Zoom in and take a good look at its eye. Yup, this is the White-eyed Vireo. This bird is very bold, it will actually come out of the dense cover to check you out if you are birding near it. They are very vocal and common in the Southeast. In Bermuda they are know as the “chick-of-the-village” because that is what it sounds like when it sings.

Now zoom in and take a good look at this one’s eye… It’s the Red-eyed Vireo! They are one of the most numerous birds in the eastern woods during the summer. Not as bold as the White-eyed Vireo, it will usually stay out of sight, but you will hear it singing over and over again.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

A Few More Birds…

A Few More Birds…

Here are some of the birds that I’ve been seeing lately. Springtime is great, because the birds are singing so much, but sooooo many leaves make it hard to get good photos…

Here’s the Blue Grosbeak. They will spend the winter in the tropics. Insects and seeds make up their diet, which they get mostly while walking along the ground.

The Eastern Towhee will breed up into New England and down into all of the East Coast. Most of the southern birds don’t migrate at all and you can spot them all year long, while the ones in the North will migrate south for the winter.

This Ovenbird has a very loud song that sounds like it’s singing “teacher, teacher”. Usually they are hard to spot, but you know that they are there because you hear them! They forage for insects as they walk along the leaf littered ground.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Birds, Birds, Birds…

Birds, Birds, Birds…

Lately life has been pretty much of the same thing… we keep going to the same birding locations, so I feel like I’m in a bit of a rut…

Fortunately it’s the springtime and with that we’ve have the bird migration. That has helped a lot! I’ve been able to spot a few different birds migrating through lately and many others have returned to my area from their winter homes.

Here are a few birds that I have spotted lately…

Eastern Kingbird. They will winter in South America, living in flocks and foraging for berries. In the spring and summer they will eat mostly insects.

Yellow-breasted Chat. Mostly they will spend the winter in the tropics. It’s the largest warbler we have in the US. They will forage in the dense low tangles, eating insects.

Eastern Wood-Pewee. They will winter in the tropics. They don’t arrive back in North America until May and will be gone again come October. Its diet consists almost entirely on insects, very seldom will they eat berries.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Meet the Wood Duck

Meet the Wood Duck

The Male is very colorful and well actually, pretty! Though the female isn’t quite as colorful, she is still beautiful…

They will make a loud wooo-eeek call when startled into flight…

This is a photo of the male Wood Duck, see his dark green head and bright red eye!

Here is the female, her head is gray and she has a white eye-patch as well as a beautiful patch of blue on her wings.

They breed mostly in the east, but also can be permanent residents on the west coast. They will pair off in the winter, then the males will follow the females to the nesting range. Some years a male might end up migrating close by, while the next year he may go farther up north (they get a new mate each year)…

They nest in tree cavities near water which can be up to 65 feet above the ground! Often females will lay their eggs in others’ nests, leaving that female to incubate the eggs.

Young ducklings jump to the ground the day after they hatch!!!

Mom will take care of them for about 6 weeks.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

New Bird Book

New Bird Book

I wanted to let you all know that I just finished another book!

This one is about a Bohemian Waxwing that I saw in an apple orchard a few years ago. It was a lifer for me and the only time that I have ever seen the Bohemian Waxwings.

If you get a chance, check it out on Amazon. I created it as an ebook and a paperback. I give out a lot of the paperbacks to the kids I know, I find that it helps to get them interested in birds and nature.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Lucky Find…

Lucky Find…

During the bird migration, sometimes you’ll find birds that appear in your area that will stay and breed there. Other times birds will be just passing through on their way further north.

Here is a Solitary Sandpiper that I recently spotted…

They breed up in Canada and winter mostly in South America and unlike most all other sandpipers that migrate in flocks, the Solitary will usually be alone.

Also, most other sandpipers will nest on the ground, but not the Solitary, it will use old songbird nests that are high up in trees…

The Solitary was definitely a lucky find…

Can you tell which bird this is? Take a good look at its eye. It’s the White-eyed Vireo! You can just make out its white eye peaking around the branch at me.

They seem to have exploded into the woods, swamps and fields recently! I’ve been hearing them everywhere. They are very loud and aren’t afraid to let you know that they are around!

These birds will stay and breed here, so I’m sure to be hearing them for months to come…

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Bird Migration

Bird Migration

The bird migration is on! Birds have started to be on the move to their breeding grounds and luckily I’ve been able to find a few of them…

This is the Prothonotary Warbler. This male is a beautiful bright yellow with blue-gray wings and tail.

I heard him singing first, then I began to look around to find out just what bird it was. This one was checking out the dead tree behind him possibly for a nest. As he was checking it out a pair of Carolina Chickadees were letting him know that they were also interested in that real estate!

I went back a few days later and no one has claimed the prime location, maybe next time someone would have moved in and called it home…

I noticed this Eastern Kingbird by its “dazee, dzeet” calls. I found them in two different wildlife refuges recently, they all seem to come back at the same time… they do migrate in flocks, so that might explain it.

This beautiful Palm Warbler is just passing through, so I feel very lucky to have seen it!

They will breed up in Canada and winter in Florida.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Birds Out My Window…

Birds Out My Window…

Since I’ve been staying home far more than normal over the past year, I’ve been seeing a lot of birds in my backyard while I look through my window…

I thought I would share them with you.

Here are a couple of Bald Eagles that I see hunting in the lake almost everyday. They have a nest further down the lake, but I haven’t found it yet…

This Bald Eagle actually caught a turtle! They will eat turtles, birds and other small mammals when there is a shortage of fish.

I didn’t know that there was a shortage of fish in the lake, but in the past I have seen groups of 100+ Double Crested Cormorants having a feeding frenzy, so the lake is possibly over fished…

This Wood Duck got spooked out of the water, so he flew up to the safety of the trees.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!