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!!!
If you’re looking for this falcon, just take a drive down to Rancho Palos Verdes in California. Go to the Point Vicente Interpreative Center and take a look down over the cliffs and you should see a pair of Peregrine Falcons flying around. The center is a great place for birding. Each time I go I see the Falcon as well as a few species of seabirds since I am right on the ocean. Here you will also see volunteers looking each day for whales, they’ll do a daily count of the whales that pass by.
The Peregrine Falcon is a large and powerful bird that can reach speeds of well over 100 mph when its diving for it’s prey. They are one of the world’s fastest birds. It will often hunt by flying very high then diving down to strike their prey out of the air! Other birds especially pigeons are the favored prey for the city falcons, while ducks and shorebirds are what the coastal falcons favor.
This Falcon may mate for life. Usually they will nest on cliffs, but due to limited availability of nesting sites and prey they’ll often relocate into cities. Building ledges make for great nesting sites and there are plenty of pigeons around… The Peregrine Falcon can be found on all six continents, but not often seen. Due to the use of pesticides during the 1940s-1970s there was widespread failure to reproduce for this falcon. They all but disappeared from their former breeding range. Luckily, due to conservationists helping to ban the use of bad pesticides in North America, the Peregrine Falcon has been reintroduced into many areas and their population has become stable or possibly increasing! This bird is considered one of the noblest and most spectacular of all the birds of prey!
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…
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.
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!
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!!!
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.