A Few Orioles…

A Few Orioles…

There are 10 Oriole species listed on the Audubon site as being possibly seen in the US. I have seen 6 of them.

Most of them have bold, beautiful colors making them some of the most brilliantly colored songbirds in the US.

This is the Bullock’s Oriole. They can be found from the center of the US west to the Pacific Coast. They will winter in the tropics.

Here is the Hooded Oriole. They can be found in the Southwest US states and winter in Mexico. Their diet includes insects, berries and nectar. Often visiting hummingbird feeders, sometimes if the feeders are kept out throughout the winter, the Hooded Oriole will not bother to migrate south.

This is the Orchard Oriole. Probably the least colorful of all the Orioles, it is chestnut and black. You can find this Oriole from the East Coast, west to central US. They will winter in the tropics.

Stay happy 🙂

The White-tailed Kite is Something to Watch…

The White-tailed Kite is Something to Watch…

Have you ever seen a White-tailed Kite, or any Kite species? The way that they hunt for food is just amazing to watch!

You will see them flying over open areas, then they’ll pause and hover (just like a toy kite), floating in the air, just searching the ground. Once they spot prey, they’ll dive down and catch it in their talons.

They prefer to eat small rodents that are out and about during the day, such as voles and house mice.

Here is an adult hovering over a low brushy area near the ocean.

Next is a photo of the bird after it caught a mouse.

Next are photos of a juvenile White-tailed Kite. Notice the adult is gray and white, where as the juvenile has brown on its chest and back.

See the color difference between the adult and the juvenile.

The young will be able to fly about 30 days after hatching. Parents may nest a second time and if they do, they often will drive the first batch of youngsters away from the nesting territory.

This may have been the case with this juvenile, there were 2 of them hunting together.

You can see the White-tailed Kite in California, Arizona and southern Texas.

Stay happy 🙂

Meet the Kingbirds

Meet the Kingbirds

In the birding world there are some birds that are so similar that unless you study the bird up close and personal, the only way to tell them apart is by their location.

You can see that in some of the Eastern birds vs. the Western birds. Like the Eastern and Western Meadowlarks, Eastern and Western Screech-Owl, Eastern and Western Bluebird and Eastern and Western Wood-Pewee, to name a few…

But this is not the case with the Eastern and Western Kingbirds. You certainly wouldn’t have any problem identifying these two birds from each other…

This is the Eastern Kingbird, a bold black and white bird with a wide white band on the tip of its tail. It can be found throughout most of the US except for the far western states.

They will winter in South America where they usually live in flocks eating berries in the tropical forests. The rest of the year you can see them foraging alone on a perch, flying out to catch an insect.

Here is the Western Kingbird, they are so different from the Eastern Kingbird, with their bright yellow belly and light gray chest and head.

They can be found from the west coast east to the Great Plains in the US. They winter in the tropics. They also forage by watching from a perch then flying out to get insects.

I’ve seen them going after crows that got too close to their nest, it didn’t seem to be afraid at all to take on the bigger bird!

So if you ever see either of these two birds, you should be able to easily tell them apart, but identifying the Western Kingbird vs the Cassin’s Kingbird or Couch’s Kingbird, well that’s a whole other story…

Stay happy 🙂

This Snowy Plover is sooooo Adorable!

This Snowy Plover is sooooo Adorable!

You can find them along the Pacific Coast as well as the Gulf Coast. They look a lot like the Piping Plover, but unlike the Piping Plover, the Snowy’s black chest band is always incomplete.

Often overlooked when you’re walking along the beach, these little ones are only around 6 inches!

Unfortunately, because they are so hard to spot, their population has declined. Humans will hang out on the beaches and not even notice that they are keeping the Snowy Plover from its nest. On many beaches now they have started to rope off areas just for the Plovers to build their nests in.

Unfortunately, the Plovers don’t always get the memo… so keep a look out for them whenever you are walking the beaches during nesting season.

The young leave the nest only a few hours after hatching, they are able to feed themselves and will be able to fly around 30 days later.

Don’t forget to check out my book on Amazon called Snowy at the Beach, about the adventures of a cute Snowy Plover.

The Black-crowned Night-Heron

The Black-crowned Night-Heron

I recently saw this bird hanging around a small pond that I was birding at. I have already seen this bird this year and didn’t need to add it to my count, but I enjoy getting its photo. I think the reason I try to get photos of the Black-crowned Night-Heron is because they don’t move much, they don’t flutter around, they aren’t too skittish, they don’t fly off when I stop nearby, they just sit quietly letting me take my photo.

Have you ever seen the Black-crowned Night-Heron’s eyes? The dark red eyes, kinda looks like a shiny marble.

Sometimes they’ll walk slowly through the shallow water, but they’re often seen just standing still.

Most of the time they forage throughout the night. During the day you usually see them in groups just sitting in trees near water. They will mostly eat fish.

They are found throughout the US and are found nesting on every continent except Antarctica and Australia.

It is thought that they forage at night because during the day all the other herons and egrets forage, making it difficult for the Black-crowned Night-Heron to compete for food.

Recent Birds…

Recent Birds…

Here are a few photos of some of the birds that I’ve seen lately. Not many new birds for me, but I keep looking anyway…

This is a male Prothonotary Warbler. He is such a beautiful bright golden yellow, you can really spot him when he is flying around the swamps and rivers.

I saw this Green Heron in the swamp foraging for fish. They’ll usually stand still or walk very slowly in the shallow water just waiting for small fish to come by. Occasionally they will drop a feather or twig on the top of the water, as “bait,” to lure fish closer to them.

This is a Killdeer. They are found throughout all of the US, Canada and South America. They can be found nesting in fields, lawns, river banks and even airports.

Usually they eat insects. They’ll run a few steps, pause, run again, looking for something to eat off of the ground.

Who’s Been Eating all my Bird Seeds?

Who’s Been Eating all my Bird Seeds?

In the past couple of months my bird seed has been disappearing faster than it should for the amount of birds that I’ve been seeing around.

I do have a lot of squirrels, but they aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed! They have yet to be able to get up to the bird feeders, so I know it’s not them…

Well the other night I saw this creature at the feeder, his glowing eyes peeking back at me when I turned on the flood lights.

Then today he decided to boldly come for a snack, well the jokes on him, I haven’t filled the feeder in a while, so there was nothing for him!

I do have to take the feeder down (double gloves), and give it a good wash before I put it away for a couple of months. Maybe during that time, this raccoon will find a different place to get its snacks!

Barred Owl Nap Time…

Barred Owl Nap Time…

A few days ago I saw this cutie sitting on a low branch in my backyard. This is the Barred Owl. Often heard at night with it’s loud rich baritone hoo, hoo, hoo-hoo call, other times they can be heard making barking and screaming calls…

This one was just trying to take a nap. No other bird was around, no one was bothering it (except this crazy human taking photos)…

Occasionally it would peek at me, just to make sure I was still social distancing.

They are permanent residents throughout Canada and down through the eastern half of the US.

They will eat mostly small mammals. Usually eating mice, but also eats other small rodents, squirrels and rabbits.

On a couple of occasions the owl has come zooming into the backyard so fast and so close to me that I thought it was going to crash into me! It came around the corner of the house and didn’t see me standing in the backyard, luckily for both of us it is really good at flying!!!