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!

Greater vs Lesser Scaup

Greater vs Lesser Scaup

Many birders find it difficult to identify which Scaup they see. You really do have to get a good look at the bird before you can say for sure just which one it is!

The other day while I was at the wildlife refugee, my husband spotted a flock of Scaups in a small pond. I got out of the car some distance away as to not scare them off.

I walked a few steps and took some photos, then a few steps more, then more photos…

There was one group of about 20 and then a separate group of 4. I made sure to get photos of both groups.

Here is what I saw.

These are Greater Scaups. They were in the smaller group, swimming off to the side of the bigger group. Luckily I was able to get these photos, so that I could do my “homework” and study them on my computer when I got home.

Take a good look at their heads, that is where you’ll find the best way to identify the Scaups. The Greater Scaup has a more rounded head with the higher point in the front. The Lesser Scaup’s highest point of its head is toward the back.

Here are a few Lesser Scaups.

Do you see the difference? Sometimes its hard to get a good look at them when you’re out walking, that’s why I take the photos.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Water Birds…

Water Birds…

Here are a few water birds that I’ve seen lately. I’m very lucky to live on a lake, so that I can see these birds!

This is the male Hooded Merganser. Mergansers are the only US ducks that specialize in eating fish. They forage by diving and swimming underwater. Fish is found by sight, their eyes are adapted for good underwater vision.

This Great Blue Heron is also looking for fish. They usually forage by standing still or walking slowly in the shallow water, when a fish swims near, they strike them with their bill. I’ve seen them eat some very big fish and it amazes me how they manage to swallow them without choking!

The Canada Goose can be found throughout all of the US and Canada. Years ago they used to migrate, but now many geese remain as permanent residents to their area.

Their diet consists almost entirely on plant material. They “honk” or talk to each other in their flocks. I usually hear them honking when they are about to fly off to another area, sometimes I hear them honking in the middle of the night (for no good reason at all except to wake me up)…

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Ring-necked Duck = 103

Ring-necked Duck = 103

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.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

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???

This one was waiting his turn for the suet…

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!