Every time I hear the loud call of the Pileated Woodpecker as it flies through the woods, I stop and listen. Being the largest Woodpecker in North America has earned some respect (17 inches)!
It has also earned a ton of respect by making a good comeback throughout the 1900s, after its species had become rare in the North East due to all of the clearing of the forests that was done.
These birds live throughout most of Canada and from Central US to the East. They are mostly permanent residents, but will wander around a bit…
More than half of their diet consists of carpenter ants, they forage by prying and excavating dead wood looking for them. They are known for leaving big rectangular holes in dead trees. You can often see them breaking off big pieces of dead bark from stumps or fallen logs.
Fruits, berries and nuts make up about 1/4 of their diet.
This one is a male, you can tell because the forehead and mustache are red on the male and black on the female.
So in my previous post I was going to write about the Waterthrush that I saw. I had downloaded the image into the post and I was looking at it as I wrote a bit about the bird.
I was writing how I hardly ever see the Louisiana Waterthrush, most years I don’t see it at all. This one was just walking along the edge of the stream foraging for insects.
But as I continued to look at the photo, I thought the bird looked a bit different than the Louisiana Waterthrush that I had seen earlier in the year.
Here is the photo of the Waterthrush that I saw last week…
Now here is a photo of the Louisiana Waterthrush that I saw in May…
Can you see the differences? It took me a bit of looking at it, then I stopped writing the post, searched through my photos until I found this one of the Louisiana Waterthrush and realized that the bird that I actually saw last week was the Northern Waterthrush!
The Louisiana Waterthrush has a brighter eyebrow, longer bill, pinkish buff tinge on flanks and the throat is usually plain.
I didn’t notice the size difference in the bills, but I did notice that in the 1st photo (the Northern Waterthrush), the bird has a yellow tinge underneath and its throat is heavily streaked.
This gives me 1 more new bird for the year and my only new bird for the month of August, got to love birding in the summer…
This is the Louisiana Waterthrush. They are similar to a thrush because they can be found walking along the water’s edge foraging for food, but they are actually a warbler.
Often times you’ll see them walking with their backend bobbing up and down. They will turn over leaves on the ground near or in the water looking for insects or crustaceans.
I saw this one along a river, I think I spooked it, so up it flew to a branch above my head. Later it went back down along the edge of the water and started foraging for food. Both the male and females look identical, so I don’t know which this one was…
We’ve had a few cooler days here lately, not really cold, but cold enough for the birds around here. The birds have been eating a lot maybe because they know that it is supposed to get even colder in a few more days???
Today was rainy and all the birds were at the feeders getting wet until a hawk came by, then they all flew away!
Here are a few birds that have been visiting my feeders lately…
Here is the Downy Woodpecker. I see a pair of them everyday, a male and a female. The male has a red patch on the back of his head. They really do love the suet.
This is the Carolina Wren. For such a little bird they certainly can be very loud! They will perch on my back deck and sing early in the mornings…
This is the White-throated Sparrow. They can be found mostly foraging on the ground. They like to stay under the feeders, eating the seeds that fall to the ground.
This is the hawk that keeps coming around my bird feeders when the birds are trying to eat! I’m not 100% sure which hawk it is, it’s either the Sharp-shinned Hawk or the Cooper’s Hawk. I haven’t gotten a great look at the tail yet, the Sharp-shinned is straight across, while the Cooper’s is rounded. They are close to the same size and look very similar, so I haven’t made the “call” yet, but it keeps zipping in and out of my backyard, so I’m sure one of these days I’ll catch a good look at it…
The other day while I was looking out back at my feeders, I saw a duck landing in the water nearby. It was only there for a couple of minutes before it got spooked by a couple of Double-crested Cormorants.
It was the Ring-necked Duck. I hadn’t seen one yet for the year. I took a couple of photos of it before it took off. (Luckily I had my camera nearby).
They breed up in Canada and will winter in Southern US and into Mexico. Their diet consists mostly of aquatic plants and insects.
Usually they will forage by diving around in the shallow water.
Though they are named the Ring-necked Duck, the ring on their neck is hardly ever visible.
A couple of days after I saw this one show up, a flock of about 50+ appeared and have been foraging in the shallow water across the lake every morning since.
The male Eastern Bluebird is really a beautiful bird… I’ve been seeing a few of them at my feeders this winter.
They don’t seem to eat any of the seeds, but they love the suet. During breeding season they can be seen throughout the east coast over to central US. In the winter they usually migrate to the southern states.
This year though my brother has seen them up in New England. Not sure if the Bluebird knows that maybe it is going to be a mild winter up north and that is why some of them didn’t migrate south???
Off to the Wildlife Refuge again, this time we decided to take a long walk instead of driving, stopping, birding, driving, stopping, birding…
While we were hiking the 2 mile loop around a large swamp I heard a flock of birds off in the wetlands across from the swamp.
At first I thought it was a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds, but after watching them for a while as they moved through the wet woods, I realized that there was no red on their wings…
I know it’s a tough photo, but that is a non breeding, adult male Rusty Blackbird. They breed throughout Canada up into Alaska.
They got their name for their fall coloring of rusty feathers and not from their calls which sound like a squeaky rusty gate…
The other bird I saw was a Northern Bobwhite. I had heard a rustling in the brush near me as I stood next to a cut down cornfield. I moved around trying to get a better look, only to sneak a peek or a female Bobwhite just before she flew off.
So now I am up to 102 species for the year and counting…