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!

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!

Birds in my Backyard…

Birds in my Backyard…

Here are a few more birds that I’ve seen lately in my backyard…

This is the Red-bellied Woodpecker. Even though most of the time it is difficult to see the red on their bellies and they clearly have a red on their heads (my guess is that the Red-headed Woodpecker was named first, so that when this one was found they had to come up with something else…)

This one eats the seeds most of the time, but occasionally the suet too.

This male Pine Warbler loves the suet and shows up almost everyday!

The male Eastern Bluebird loves the suet too! He comes almost everyday too, with a female and a juvenile (probably one from its last brood). They usually have 2 broods a year, but sometimes 3, I’m pretty sure the ones that nested in my yard had 3 broods this year.

Remember to stay healthy and stay safe!