Monday, August 30, 2010

American Redstarts

Ready for some art-y shots? Often, it is hard to convince a bird in the hand that you are not doing it any harm and only want to capture its image. This adult male American Redstart was one of those examples of a bird who had his new jewelry (band) and was ready to get out. He did sit quietly for a moment, so you can see the great profile and long tail of this bird.

The next two shots show a HY (hatch year) male. He doesn't look like the adult, does he? And last - an adult male who is molting his head feathers and looks more like an alien than a bird.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Continuing the "this happened a while ago and I am just getting to posting," was excited about an Ovenbird that had a brood patch a few weeks ago. Ovenbirds get their name from the type of nest they build. It is on the ground, made of leaves and grass, and looks like a domed oven. When I did an undergrad study on birds and window collisions, this species was represented strongly - meaning, in several cities that were recording bird strikes, Ovenbirds were always near the top of the lists of casualties recorded.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Misc But Really Cool Birds

Still catching up with posting some cool pics of birds while banding. The first two are of a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (with a brood patch!!!), and the second two are of a Warbling Vireo. The latter certainly has the Vireo head shape and the tell-tale little hook at the end of the bill. The flycatcher took some time in the books to make sure we had identified her correctly.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Couple of Neat Songbirds

WHOA - who is that awesome Ecto-Cooler colored honey? Anyone want to take a guess before I tell you? It's a HY (Hatch year) Chestnut-sided Warbler! An adult male looks much different than this bird. It was hard to tell if this bird was hatched at Springbrook where it was banded, or an early migrant moving south since it was August that we banded it.

Here is a Hatch Year Common Yellow-throat! They actually have a pretty distinctive beak shape. The last shot is a male, with his tail obviously coming in from a molt.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not exactly birds

Como Zoo in St Paul has a wonderful butterfly exhibit. I sometimes forget to take in some of the great things while I am there doing my volunteer gig. It is through Labor Day - do yourself a favor and check it out!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More SD

South Dakota has a veritable cornucopia of hawks and other raptors, so your ID has to pretty much be "game on" all the time. Swainson's are almost as populous as the Red-tails and when it is winter, they head south and are replaced in numbers by the Rough-leggeds. Here is a Swainson's on a telephone pole, followed by two shots of a second year Red-tail (as he is flying away, note the two red tail feathers coming in), and an adult Red-tail saying "sayonarra".

No SD trip would be complete without a Meadowlark. The ones that I see and hear the most are the Western.

When I came through the front door, breathless, and told my mom that there was a Dickcissel calling, the expression clearly said that she thought I had used a word not suitable for all ears. It really exists - and it is a great bird!

Monday, August 9, 2010

South Dakota part one

Visited my folks in South Dakota a few weeks back. I was a little early for the big migration of shorebirds, but waterfowl were still very much present. American Avocets are one of my fave shorebird species, and luckily they were around in fairly nice numbers. Also got to see some Black Terns - mom was still feeding some of the kids. And Upland Sandpipers are always ones you look "up" to find - they are usually on telephone poles or fence posts instead of at the water's edge.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Non birding photos

I suppose (wo)man does not live by birds alone. Hence - here is a small break in the common theme for the blog. These are some photos from the cabin I spent this past weekend at. The cabin was very near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, so needless to say, it was very pretty. All taken from a boat.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Osprey gangsters

Okay - I lied about the end of the osprey posts, but this was just too cool. Was at a friend's cabin this weekend, and got to see resident osprey put the smack-down on an adult bald eagle. Friend Margaret had told me about a couple of resident osprey who, on the lake in Northern Minnesota where her family's cabin is, had a habit of physically taking fish from eagles in the air, as well as unseating them from choice perch spots. The last time I was up several years ago, I did get a chance to see some squabbling where an osprey did try it. This time I did get a couple of crappy frames of an osprey who did succeed in knocking the eagle off a perch. We saw the eagle first, just sitting and enjoying the sun. Then saw osprey come in, and set his/her wings in a definite line straight for the eagle. The osprey took three swipes at the eagle until he/she succeeded in knocking him/her out of the tree. After that, the osprey took off, and didn't perch in the spot he/she just made vacant.