Monday, March 28, 2011

Bald eagles

A trip down to Wabasha then on to WI yielded some fantastic views of bald eagles. Conservatively we saw over a hundred on each side of the river. March is really a month of change - birds heading back to breeding grounds north of here -birds heading back to MN since they are the breeding grounds - and birds just using the state as a tranportation stop going either direction. I was a little tickled at the gutsy group of starlings who thought that ganging up on an eagle really was a good idea.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Couple of great articles

Couple of interesting articles - birds and power lines, and birds and multiple man-made objects.

And I just had to add this one - who doesn't love an attention-grabbing headline like, "Cuckoo in Egg Pattern Arms Race?" One in which egg forgery skills are elaborated upon?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crane Cam

Since it is the first time in nine years I haven't made it out to NE to say hello to about 300,000 of my closest friends, the Crane Cam from Rowe Sanctuary will have to do. Check in mornings to see liftoffs, and evenings to see the roosts in the river.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wild Turkeys

Spring is officially, finally here. I don't care about the upcoming snow. We had eastern Bluebirds, Turkey Vultures and Red-winged Blackbirds start to show up in the Twin Cities in the last few days (that I saw - haven't seen the Eastern Phoebes or Fox Sparrows for myself I have heard about). Geese and other waterfowl moving through. Flocks of American Robins are moving. Did some great traveling with friends to see Bald Eagles, Peregrines and some other tasty, sexy birds. But - in preparation - here are some Wild Turkeys!!!! I think I am going to entitle one of these shots "Color Me Unimpressed." Apparently those females are awfully fickle.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Overheard Recently

A recent converation overheard . . . .

Okay, squirrels. I know you're in there. If you don't come out, I'm coming in.

I warned you. It will only get worse if you stay in there.

When. I. Say. Get. OUT. I MEAN IT!

If you think I'm kidding, I'm not. Squirrels?

Yoo-hoo - Squirrels?

Okay, I can hear you breathing in there.

You'll be sorry when it's no more Mr. Nice Hawk.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sax Zim in March

Spent a great weekend in the Bog with some good friends! Some nice specialties seen included Black-billed Magpie (carrying nesting material!), Northern Hawk-owl and Rough-legged Hawks. Also had some wonderful encounters with some of nature's real characters - Boreal Chickadees and Gray Jays, aka the Whiskey Jacks. Had such wonderful luck with great images that I just pulled a couple for this post.

Got a couple of great shots of Common Redpolls, and the more elusive Hoary Redpoll. We had a great birder with us who could point out some of the differences (that did not include just the ligher plumage). Look at how much shorter the bill is on the bottom photos (the Hoary) than the Common Redpoll (shown with more pink/red in the plumage).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Banding Record and Age

And - one more time - with feeling - THIS IS WHY WE BAND BIRDS!

We already knew that pelagic birds tend to have some of the highest records for age in the bird world. The oldest known U.S. wild bird – a coyly conservative 60 -- is a new mother. The bird, a Laysan albatross named Wisdom, was just spotted recently. Here is the full article. Almost as amazing as being a parent at 60 is the number of miles this bird has likely logged – about 50,000 miles a year as an adult – which means that Wisdom has flown at least 2 to 3 million miles since she was first banded. Or, to put it another way, that’s 4 to 6 trips from the Earth to the Moon and back again with plenty of miles to spare. If you want to look up ages of other oldest reported species you can click here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Great Horned Owls nesting

People ask me all the time where to find owls. I always tell them that they are all around us, and several species seem to not only survive but flourish in metro/urban areas. A pair of Great Horned Owls in the Uptown/Minneapolis area are working on their family for this year. It is hard to see - but I put a red circle around the tail of the female as she is sitting on her eggs in this squirrel nest.

The fact that the male obviously knows I am here means that I was not as sneaky as I should have been. The crows in the area let me know where they were, and so I was probably not his biggest concern, but it is always a good idea to not interrupt their lives too much with human presence. I wish them luck! It is not done being cold yet!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Petition to keep Wind Farms Safe

This is an online petition by The American Bird Conservancy to make wind farms more bird friendly. They quote about one half million birds died in wind farms in 2009 and it is especially a problem with raptors in California. Their website is
They make it really easy. A couple of clicks and your petition is on the way. Wind energy is a great resource - but let's make it more safe for birds.