Friday, March 25, 2016

Feathers on Friday for 3/25

Red-shouldered Hawk

Happy last Friday in March! Sorry, I haven't posted much lately. I have been working a lot on the Bald Eagle watch program.   I should have more to share soon.  I went with my old reliable in a shot of the male Red-shouldered Hawk from this week.  I haven't seen the female in awhile so I'm assuming she incubating the eggs.  The male has been very active lately hunting.  It is probably because he is feeding two right now.  Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!  

More Feathers on Friday Post:

Prairie Birder

Bird Boy

The Cats and the Birds

Wolf Song Blog

Another Day in Paradise

A Day in the Life

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Happy Birding!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Feathers on Friday for 3/18

Eastern Bluebird

Happy Friday! I had a quick visit from two Eastern Bluebirds this week.  This one stayed on my picnic table long enough for me to snap a shot.  This is by far the earliest I have seen a bluebird.  They usually show up in my yard in late summer.

More Feathers on Friday Posts:

Prairie Birder

Bird Boy

The Cats and the Birds

Wolf Song Blog

A Day in the Life

Happy Weekend and Birding!  Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Feathers on Friday for 3/11

Dark-eyed Junco

Happy Friday! I got a visit this week from this little cute guy.  He sat on our porch for a few minutes before flying down under the porch for something.  

More Feathers on Friday Post:

Enjoy your weekend and Happy Birding!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Which is Which?- The Answers

Sharp-shinned Hawk or Cooper's Hawk?

How do you think you did?  Telling these two birds apart can be very tricky and gets more tricky with the immatures.  

1.) Answer-Adult Cooper's Hawk

This is a quick shot I got in my backyard.  At first, I thought it was a Sharp-shinned because it was pretty small bird.  Then when I looked at it closer, I saw the black cap, less color on the breast, and more rounded feathers of the Cooper's Hawk.  

2.) Answer- Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

photo credit: Manjith Kainickara/Wikimedia Commons
The larger head, larger legs, larger body and thin streaking on the breast all help to identify this one as a juvenile Cooper's Hawk.  

3.) Answer- Adult Sharp-shinned Hawk

photo credit: Michael/Wikimedia Commons
The more colorful chest and the "hooded" head help to identify this one an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk.

4.) Answer- Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

photo credit: H. Gilbert Miller/Wikimedia Commons

The "capped" head, larger head, rounded tail feathers and larger legs help to ID this one as a Cooper's Hawk.  The yellow eyes make it not quite an adult though it appears to have all of  the adult plumage.

5.) Answer- Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk

photo credit: Cuatrok/Wikimedia Commons

The smaller body, smaller head, and skinner "Sharp-Shinned" look where they get their name help ID this one as a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk.

How did you do?  Stay tuned for more "Which is Which?" posts.  Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.

Spring is Coming Soon!

The Sounds of Spring Coming

The mid-seventy temperatures yesterday have kicked started spring.  There are many reports of birds migrants coming back to the my area.  The buds are showing up on the trees.  Here are the sounds of my backyard this morning.  There are noticeably more birds singing.  

Happy Birding and enjoy the sounds of spring!

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Tale of the Squirrels and Hawks part 2

The Squirrels are at it again!

The squirrels continue to mess with the Red-shouldered Hawk pair who have been spending a lot of time in my backyard this last week.  The breeding season has started and they have been copulating a lot in the last two days.  The female should soon be laying her eggs in the nest.  It got me to thinking if this curiosity of the squirrels was due to some pheromones being released by the breeding hawks? I guess it's possible.  It just seems that the squirrels are drawn to the hawks like two magnets.

Right before this shot, these two were beak to nose.   This is the squirrel heading back down the branch after the encounter.  Maybe, it is something about the scent of the breeding hawks that is drawing the squirrels?  We'll probably never know the reason but it sure has been entertaining to watch.   Read part one of the tale here.  Stay tune for the answers to the latest "Which is Which- Cooper's or Sharp-shinned hawk?" post.  You can look at it here.

Happy Birding and the start of the breeding season!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Feathers on Friday for 3/4

Red-bellied Woodpecker 

Happy Friday and March!  Spring is coming soon!  Sometimes there is a bird you just can't get a good shot of them.  This guy was that bird for me until I finally got a few decent shots of him this week.  These shots aren't perfect but he stayed long enough in one place to get these few photos. 

More Feathers on Friday Posts:

Happy Birding! Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Which is Which?

Sharp-shinned Hawk or Cooper's Hawk

It's that time again to sharpening up your bird identifying skills.  The Accipiter family of hawks can be tricky group to ID especially, between the Sharp-shinned and Cooper's.  These woodland hawks are very skillful at chasing birds on the wing through tight spaces in the woods.  I'm going to be make it even more trickier by adding some immatures.  Can you tell them apart?






How do you think you did?  Post your answers in the comments or on the Facebook page.  Stay tuned for the answers and don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  I will credit the photos on the answers post.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bird of the Week

Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)

The Hairy Woodpecker is larger of the two almost identical woodpeckers.  The Downy Woodpecker being the smaller one. They are a common woodpecker in North America in mostly medium and large tree forests.   The medium-sized Hairy Woodpecker's diet consists mostly of insects usually those that are in the larvae stage.  One of their favorite snacks are the larvae of wood boring beetles which they peck away at bark and trees to get at.  This makes them a good pest controller and can help the overall health of woodlands.  The Hairy Woodpecker is a frequent visitor to seed and suet feeders too.  Seeds and berries make up about 15-20% of their overall diet. 

 The Hairy Woodpecker excavate a nest cavity in a dead or partially dead tree.  They line the cavity with just a bed of wood chips for the eggs and hatchlings.  Typically, they have between 3-6 eggs and have one brood per breeding season.  

Fun Facts about the Hairy Woodpecker

-The Hairy Woodpecker is known to follow around their larger cousin, the Pileated Woodpecker. They clean up the insects that the larger woodpecker left behind

-The oldest known Hairy Woodpecker was almost 16 years old.  

-The Hairy Woodpecker will sometimes drink some leaking sap from a tree.

If you have a favorite bird you want highlighted send me an email or comment on the Facebook page.   Happy Birding! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Happy Pair

Getting Ready for the Breeding Season

I have watched this pair of Red-shouldered Hawks for three years now.  They were the first "neighbors" to welcome us to the neighborhood.  I noticed them in our backyard within the first two weeks that we had moved into our new home in mid February.  This was their turf before we had cut down some of their trees to build a house but they seemed to like the new open area to perch and hunt.  Around this time, every year they are starting the breeding season.  I have seen them mating on several occasions in our backyard.  They sound the alarm loudly when any other birds of prey are in the area.  The chased off two Turkey Vultures this week that were soaring over the trees too close for the pair's liking.  

Today, they were perched close enough to get a shot of them both.  The larger female is on the left in the photo doing some grooming.  She has a lighter head while the smaller male has a darker reddish head.  

Here is the male with his handsome reddish head.  
Update-The two were perched even closer together today. The female is in the front.  

Here is the female after the male had flown off.

Here is to another successful breeding season for these two.  They have fledged at least two hawks that I have seen.  Do you have nesting birds that frequent your yard? Tell us about it in the comments or on the Facebook page.  

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.  Happy Birding!