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Bird Watching

Posted by youreit z9b CA SSz8-9 (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 30, 06 at 10:11

Last Monday, I saw this little fella in my front yard. So handsome!

Then, on Thursday, I saw his mate! Pretty girl!

So, I finally decided I should try to figure out exactly what kind of woodpeckers they are. According to the Audubon Watchlist, they're Nuttall's woodpeckers! (The Ladder-backed is quite similar, but the red on the male extends all the way up to the forehead on the Ladder-backed.)

From there, I arrived at eBird, where I signed up and registered my sightings. It's just so exciting to know that these 2 little darlings picked my yard (and pond/creek)! I'm like a kid at Christmas. :D

Any other great bird stories out there? (I know there are!)

Brenda


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bird Watching

Beautiful pictures of some very beautiful birds Brenda.

We mostly have the red tailed hawks, mourning doves, finches, sparrows and starlings right now. Very few song birds are at the feeders lately as the weather is very mild.

These two are an example what might happen when one forgets to take the eggs out of the nest:

Image hosting by Photobucket
Image hosting by Photobucket / Photograph C3D /Reproduction of image allowed only by written permission , Mr. iVillage!

Ring-necked doves. The one on the left is all white with red eyes.

Chick with 3Ds and 2 more doves :-)


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RE: Bird Watching

Brenda, that is exciting - are you putting out suet for them?

I've not had much time this winter to devote to bird watching and the short days make it tough to do any at all during the week. I do have an oregon junco that has been present for over a month, not a rare bird out west (according to USGS's range map below) but very unusual for Ohio. Gee, a bird that has a worse sense of direction than me!

I also have a pair of fox sparrows which is not a typical yard bird. I really enjoy watching these fox sparrows, they jump backwards in the leaf litter to uncover the seeds - very comical! I've been trying to coax them out of the leaf litter to get a better picture - so far this is the best I've gotten...

Speaking of foxes, I had a pair of foxes that were sleeping in our woods last week, they were so cute all curled up in a little ball. I got some pictures just as they were waking up (from about 100 feet away).


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jeanner you so much made my day with the fox pics!


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Quick! Get the pellet gun!

Oh! There's a fox! Get the HOUNDS!!!

All kidding aside, great pics... I realized I hadn't filled my feeders in a while the other day, so I got some more suet and other food while at Wal-Mart... couldn't remember what I was low on, so I got several things I THOUGHT I was low on, and it turned out I wasn't... Then I got home and was preparing to fill the feeders, and had to run inside to do something, so I put the food in the storage bin, and there it still sits...

SOMEBODY PLEASE REMIND ME to fill those feeders tomorrow!
:)

P.S. Jean, you get such CRISP, sharp-focus pictures... I don't know HOW you do it! They always look so great!


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Yooooohoooo Jeff!!! Go fill those feeders!

*she said, remembering the two bags of seed waiting at the back door*

Brenda, I'm so jealous... all I get is the usual selection of winter back yard birds. There is one pair of cardinals among them, I'm always thrilled to see them.
The only unusual birds we've seen this winter was a flock of cedar waxwings. (We are in their normal range, they just don't show up often.) They alighted in our crabapple tree on Christmas morning, right outside the family room window, and when they left there were hardly any little crabbies left. We didn't go to fetch the camera - we were just mesmerized watching them and dind't want to move and scare them away.

:) Mary


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C3D, are those 2 new (as in recent) babies? I know I've seen some other pics you've posted of some cuties! So cuddly!

Jean, your pics really make me wish we had purchased a camera with much better zoom. (I was only shooting from inside my house, through the front window to the tree, and I zoomed as far in as possible. They still turned out hazy, even with some photo editing.) That fox sparrow is so precious, and those foxes are absolutely amazing!

As for the suet, I wasn't sure I would need to set out any, since these woodpeckers are considered year-round residents. Should I get some, anyway? Last year, before seeing the Nuttall's, I put out some suet to attract whatever I could, and I didn't have any takers. I finally took the stuff down when warm temps started melting it. LOL

Brenda


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Jean, those are LOVELY photographs! As always you somehow get the subject to strike the perfect pose! :-)

I've not seen foxes here other than 2 that are kept as pets and are patients.

Hi Brenda. The picture I posted is from a 2005 scanned 35 mm print. ~~sigh~~ I still don't have a digital camera but the NEW babies are just like from the picture. One is fawn and the other white. Need some doves? I can mail 'em to you if you like.

Chick in 3D


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Brenda, I've starting making my own suet - partly because it was getting expensive (I go through a couple of blocks a day) and partly because the store bought tends to go bad in the heat. The recipe that I use is more crumbly and doesn't melt, it gets a little gummier in the summer but not as bad as the store bought. I use peanut butter, lard, yellow cornmeal, flour, chopped peanuts and walnuts, raisins and cranberries (dried but softened by steaming with hot water). You might have to train them to go to a suet feeder. Some people will smear the suet on the tree branch or trunk. Heres a website with tons of recipes and ways to offer suet, it's geared towards blue birds but will work for other birds too.

http://www.sialis.org/suet.htm

Have you ever heard about digiscoping? Some photographers use point-and-shoot cameras with their scopes and the results are absolutely amazing! You can get much closer shots than with any zoom lense. I have heard of people using binoculars instead of scopes. The first cameras that were used were Nikon Coolpix because the zoom was internal but I think people are making adapters now to use with other cameras. It's tough to get the quick birds (chickadees, warblers, etc) but woodpeckers, thrushes, etc are good candidates. Do a search on digiscoping, although most use scopes, but look around and I think you will find some have used binoculares. I wanted to try it but my point-and-shoot broke before I could.

Last summer I was using a point and shoot Nikon with a 3X zoom lense and a 5X EagleEye lense (which makes it a 15X zoom). I got some pretty good pictures with this lense. It adapts to alot of cameras and if your camera isn't listed, you can send them an email to see if they have an adapter. I still have the lense and it won't work on my current camera so if you are interested in trying it, let me know.

EagleEye
http://www.eagleeyeuk.com/what_do_I_need.htm

An EagleEye dealer in the US
http://www.photosolve.com/Shop/shopexd.asp?id=61

C3D - how did you get your post before mine??? I swear it wasn't there when I replied, is that a new feature that I missed? Your babies are so ugly, they are adorable - look at those beaks! What fun to watch them mature.


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"Have you ever heard about digiscoping? Some photographers use point-and-shoot cameras with their scopes and the results are absolutely amazing!"
----hmmmm, i gotta remember that one! now, just need a tripod for our scope b/c i can't hold it still.


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Hi Jean.

I've noticed that since iVillage improved GW sometimes there are posts that do not appear or sometimes there are photographs that do not appear at first glance.

After going elsewhere or doing the old refresh/reload thingy, posts and photographs magically appear! I've noticed that here and other GW forums a lot lately.

Add it to the list of things that make you go hmmmmmm.

Yes, baby birds generally are ugly little things aren't they? I love seeing the metamorphosis they go through.

Chick in 3D


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while you northern folks miss your song birds, I'll let you know that they send their regards and wish y'all well through the rest of the Winter. We have a pair of cardinals who come down in the afternoon and eat peanuts with the squirrels.

G'day,
Scott


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RE: Bird Watching

Thank you very much, Mary!

You'll be happy to know that this afternoon (before reading this forum again tonight) I filled all 8 of my currently hanging feeders (and went to Home Depot after supper to get some more twine to hang my cake feeders, whose twine finally bit the bullet after a couple years), plus I hung an ear of corn from the bottom of my thistle feeder using an adapter I made by hanging an empty Christmas paper roll from the bottom of it.

So now I have three full suet feeders (at 98 cents, each, for the "high-energy" suet at Wal-Mart, I don't mind the price too much, and they do well in my hanging suet feeders -- I keep them in the plastic they come in, so they don't crumble or wash out too fast when it rains, and I DO have all three varieties of local woodpecker, plus some other birds and both regular and flying squirrels visit them).

Put safflower in my "satellite" feeder, the thistle feeder, of course, filled the big, metal, "squirrel-proof" feeder with black-oil sunflower seeds, and two small decorative feeders that hang under the patio roof... one with sunflower chips, and the other with the "nut-and-berry" mix.

And with my new twine, I'll be hanging a couple of block feeders tomorrow, plus a new different type of "squirrel-proof" feeder that has a "cage" around the feeder part my mom gave me for Christmas, which I'll probably put in the front yard, tomorrow.

Will be HAPPY BIRDS HERE, I hope! :)

My flowering Apricot is in full bloom, so I got some pics of that, and now I should be ready to get lotsa new birdie pics... Think I need to set up my tripod for better stability, though, on those 12X shots.

I haven't tried "digiscoping," but I'd mention that for the past 2 or 3 years, Panasonic has had 12X Lumix digital cameras (actual zoom, NOT digital), with built-in digital image stabilization to compensate for shaking hands or moving subject.

I have one of their first models, the DMC FZ10, which is only 4 Megapixel but has a flat F2.8 all the way from 1x-12x and has pretty good looking digital zoom all the way out to 36X... Their latest model has some major improvements... It's the DMC FZ30, with 6 Megapixels, and although the improved CCD on it DID lose a little on the F-stop, with a sliding minimum F-stop from F2.8 to something like F3.7 (I think), at 12x, it has digital zoom to 48x and some nice features mine doesn't, such as focus assist in low light.

Mine is still available, for about $400, I think... but you can get the Z30 for about $500 online, if you shop around... In the meantime, some of the OTHER camera manufacturers have finally gotten around to including some cameras with a decent mechanical zoom on them, too, but Panasonic was the first with this quality and length of zoom -- especially below $500... They also have several other models,including one that's in about the $300 price range, I believe, and still has the 12X mechanical zoom on it.

There are a number of good sites online where you can see what's available, and I don't know all of them, but I'm going to link the one where I did MY initial research for anyone who's interested.

From what I've seen on here, I'm thinking the mid-to-high-end Nikon cameras may have crisper images than my Panasonic does, but then maybe it's the photographers... maybe it's how they have their cameras set, vs. how I have mine set... could also be I try to shoot in poor light and they don't... could also be they tweak in Photoshop first, too, and I'm just finally getting around to getting Photoshop for Windoze...

At any rate, I'd do some shopping around if you're looking at getting a new camera, consider ALL the factors -- especially image quality, as in the long run that will count as much as or more than zoom (higher megapixels = more zoom, anyway, since you can crop in tighter), and if possible, test the cameras at your local stores before buying them online for the good deals :)

Happy Birdwatching!
Jeff

Here is a link that might be useful: Steve's Digicams


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I missed your post right before mine, Mary! Oh, I'd love to have cardinals, though! The scrub jays are a beautiful color, but seeing a red cardinal would be incredible.

C3D, I'll gladly take 2 doves and call you in the morning. :D They aren't ugly to me in the least, but then I'm used to having Pug dogs around. LOL

Speaking of pugs, I'll be heading up to my folks' to babysit Malone (full o' baloney) the Pug from Thurs.-Tues., but when I return, I'm going to practice making some suet! Thanks for the tip on that, Jean!

I'll also look into that digiscoping, too, since this camera is still pretty new to us, and I'd hate to run out and buy another one already. I just didn't realize how attached this camera would be to my hand, or how many little (and far away) things I'd like to capture. I'm excited at the new prospects digiscoping could bring! :) My model isn't listed there (Canon PowerShot A95), but I'll Google "digiscoping", and see what I can find out.

Brenda


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Oh Brenda. Pugs are GREAT dogs! Hard to get anything more cute than a pug puppy! :-)

Only 2 doves though? I can send you 10-12 if you like !

Watching the birds at the feeders my mind wanders. (Good thing it is a fenced in yard.) Seems some birds have an "attitude" and others just go with the flow. I was thinking who has the biggest attitude at the feeders.

I believe in this neck of the world my vote would go for the Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata). They are a beautiful bird and seem to be aware of it! They have a bit of an arrogant attitude as a result. They arrive with a flourish in the middle of the feeding area. Most others land on the edge of the feeding area and mingle in politely. Not so the Blue Jay.

~~"Look at me. Handsome. Got a crest on my sculptured head. I am blue! I can scream, uhh, I mean call louder than any of you commoners.

Oh sure... The Cardinal too has a crest but really ... They have RED feathers. What kind of fashion statement is THAT? And look at their beak? What's Mr. Cardinal gonna do with that little nub of a beak? Attack a sunflower heart? Yeah right. What a tough guy. I'm shaking in my down!

And those starlings... A rowdy bunch of birds. Hey, Kramer! Why don't you take your feathers to the cleaners and get those spots washed off your boring brown feathers? Plus just look at them. Got a figure like a bowling pin! Not the sleek and slender and handsome look of the Blue Jay! Your name, S. vulgaris was NOT just a coincidence now admit it!

Yes I'm a Blue Jay and you other commoners are so jealous! I must admit that the sparrows do produce delicious chicks in the spring!..."~~

I think that sums up their attitude.

Chick-a-3D
__________________
~Worry not that no one knows you. Seek to be worth knowing.~


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Well now I done gone and DONE IT!!!

First, I was wrong about that FZ30... it's 8 megapixels, not 6... second, after linking Steve's Digicams above, I couldn't resist going and browsing, and NOW I've just GOTTA HAVE the FZ30...

Is anyone interested in a slightly used, but like-new FZ10... still works perfectly well... no scratches or anything, I just wanna upgrade to the FZ30... I bought an extra battery for the FZ10, but the FZ30 uses a slightly different battery, so it would come with a spare battery, too, and being the obsessive I am, I still have the original box it came in 22 months ago, along with most of the packing materials, the owner's manual, and all the accessories...

If anyone's interested, email me and we'll make a deal!
Jeff


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C3D - what a perfect description of the blue jays! I call them the screaming meanies, what a racket! And they all have such individual calls, I have one that sounds like a catbird, another that sounds like a pileated woodpecker and one that is just hoarse. Last year I had one bluejay, he was a real treat, this year I counted 15 and that is too much of a good thing. Funny though, I have no starlings or grackles and only one house sparrow that shows up occassionally. I'm still waiting on a mockingbird, have yet to see one in the yard.


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Oh, C3D, you're good! That was the best description of a Jay! We only have a couple hanging around at the moment, but they're plenty loud (and arrogant), though! The Stellar's Jays we encountered while camping in the foothills last year were just as aggressive, but the black crests on their heads made them look more punk-rockish. LOL

We have more Starlings in the back now! I hardly ever see them in the front near the pond, but they line up on the Cottonwood tree, "smooching" like crazy, almost like they're saying, "Hey, baby, lookin' good!" And we have no shortage of house sparrows. They're so cute, though, and I can always tell when a Jay's in the vicinity - they all scatter off of the feeder onto the fence, tree, ground...patiently waiting for Piggy to gulp down some num-nums. :D

We also have 2 yellow-billed Magpies that love to hang around the dumpster. Mmmm, yummy. I love to watch them walk across the street like miniature, dolled-up chickens.

We haven't heard the barn owl lately, but I hope he returns soon to dispatch the pocket gophers!

Brenda


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I love the blue jays. We have very few blue jays this year, funny how that fluctuates. (But lots of starlings. Btw, I love to see them fly over in formation, they make me think of mini jet fighter planes.) I used to put out sunflower seed for the blue jays, but then I discovered that wasn't really necessary... Besides,
- the squirrels eat the blue jay food
- the squirrels eat the bird food
- and the squirrels bury the squirrel food. Go figure.

No kidding. I finally saw what was going on with the disappearing corn cobs! From the bathroom window. We blamed the dogs - they bring the cobs in from the yard - raccoons - but never saw tracks and the cobs disappear in broad daylight - and the crows - but they are usually just pecking away at them and then fly off. So, it was Curly, one of the three grey squirrels! He was dragging along a whole cob across the snowy backyard and buried it in the snow (in the middle of the grass). Drag, drag, drag. Took a little break. Drag, drag, drag. Break. Drag, drag. Then! Dug hole in snow with cute little front paws! Digdigdigdigdig!!! Pushed cob into snow with cute little head! Pushpushpush!!! Patted snow down over the disturbed area to hide the evidence! Patpatpatpatpat!!! Checked if anyone saw him... Patted the snow some more.
Then he ran back to the tree stump. (This is one of the places where I had put the usual two cobs, and there was one left). That one got buried on the neighbor's lawn.
Then Curly hopped to the tree with the two cob holders, ran up the trunk, turned upside down, and started pulling the one leftover cob upwards out of the holder. Carefully lowered himself with it to the ground. Dragged and buried it beyond the wood pile. Back to the tree. Dug around the bottom of the tree and recovered the other cob. That one went near the fence around the neighbor's pool.
All four available cobs taken care of.
I found all of the cobs back later and put them back, but they were gone again the next day.

So now, when we have an in-between snow melt going on, I look around the grass for corn cobs to re-use. And then I put out yet another gallon and a half of birdseed...

:) Mary

*I guess I might as well confess. I like crows. Blue jays. House sparrows. Starlings. Squirrels.*
* (Mice.)*
* (Snakes.) *
*...*


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Hi Jean. LOL!!! I call them the screaming meamies too! There is one who calls three notes, a warped wolf whistle short song. It puts a smile on my face when I hear his call. :-) See?

Our grackles are gone until spring-ish. Not particularly one of my favorite species because they raid the nests of other birds but they too need to make a living, ehh?

Starlings? We have them here! :-) Sometimes there might be 100 or more in our yard at a time. This winter has been so mild there isn't that much activity at the feeders. When it is cold and there is a lot of snow I'll make up a bowl of food for the starlings. I'll soak dry Pedigree dog food in warm water and do the same with mynah bird food and set that out on a tray for them. I'll give them bread too if I have extra to share.

We had a pair of mockingbirds last summer nesting in one of the willow trees.

LOL! Brenda... Magpies walking like dolled up chickens! :-)
The starlings are a smoochy lot aren't they? I saw a tree last week that was just covered with starlings. Rather than have leaves the tree had starlings. Hmmm. That was one of those times I really NEEDED to have a camera with me ~~ but didn't.~~ :-(

We have Eastern Screech Owls hanging out starting in the spring. I believe they were nesting in one of our willow trees too. The poor things. They would be trying to get some sleep in the Blue Atlas Cedar and the Jays and Grackles and Robins would have none of it. How the whole bunch would call and scream that there was an OWL (of all things) in the tree!

Mary ... I **LOVE** your description of Curly and his activities! :-) I can see Curly doing every move!

I feel so bad in the spring when I am going to plant some flowers and come across what has to be a squirrel garden. Sunflower plants, pumpkins, oak trees, peanuts all sprouted, planted on top of each other and growing in a little bundle. We usually let some of the gGarden grow. We even get a ~~huge~~ peanut crop (numbering 4-6) from one plant. LOL!

Oooohhhhh. Aren't mice, moles, chipmunks the cutest things? (next to pugs of course.) We have quite the collection of house sparrows, red finches, house finches and others in our yard. We figure if they want to come and visit our yard, our pond, our food that's very nice of THEM. They are more than welcome. :-)

I think the squirrels come by the feeders to dump out all the seeds so they can help the ground feeders like the mourning doves, right? That is the story they told me.

We have not seen any snakes for 2 years. We do have toads and salamanders though. Last summer there was a ferret going through the yard. No doubt an escapee.

Chick with 3Ds


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Born and raised in Cleveland, and all this time never knew we had snowy owls living at Burke Lakefront Airport until now. Only reason we know now? No snow to camouflage (sp)them. They are so cute. I want to walk down to the airport on my lunch hour just to see them.

Here is a link that might be useful: snowy owls


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Hi Koijoy.

Hmmmm. I didn't know they were at Burke. I know they usually visit Vermilion's Old Woman Creek Reserve in the winter. I saw them a couple of years ago. Major twitch, ehh? :-)

Hope you get to see them in person too.

C3D


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Dang, I was hoping for pictures On that "Plain Dealer" link... maybe next time :)


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Beautiful photographs Jeanner!


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koijoy, did you get to see the owls? A snowy owl is a real treat around here and everybody rushes out to see it when it is spotted. You are very lucky to be so close such a beautiful bird.

Just wanted to share this picture, I finally got the fox sparrow to come out of the leaf litter (not actually but a slight covering of snow covered it up). Isn't he a pretty bird???

I had no idea that the carolina wren had such itty bitty wings - no wonder they hop around so much!


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Yeah, but look at the BILL on that booger, Jean... and they have a reputation for knowing how to use it. In fact, my book on bluebirds says if a wren takes over your bluebird box DO NOT remove or destroy the nest, or they'll find the neareast bluebird nest and kill all the inhabitants -- adults included!

Fierce little birds, huh?


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jeanner:

Didn't get to see the snowy owls. We got just enough snow to camouflage them. Temps are gonna stay in the 20s this week, so snow is going to stay around for a while. Maybe next week.

Jeff:

Tried to find an article that showed pics but it seems they are no longer available. They had videos of them on the news, but didn't archive them. Commissioner of Burke Airport wants them around forever. They keep the gulls off the runways.

Jenny


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Jean, those pics, those birds, are so beautiful! That wren is an adorable little ball. And the fox sparrow is even prettier with snow as a foil.

Thanks so much for sharing your images!

Brenda


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 8, 06 at 11:19

I've had a couple of mystery birds visit my yard lately, and I'm hoping some of you might be able to help me I.D. these little darlings. :) The lack of remarkable markings makes them even more difficult to I.D., especially for a novice like me.

This first one's pretty blurry, but it shows its eyebrow stripe. It visited at the feeder every day for about a week, but I haven't seen it in quite some time. The 2nd pic obviously shows its chest markings. It's slightly larger than the house finches and sparrows that visit.

This next one visited the feeder once or twice, and I haven't seen it since, as well. It's slightly larger than the house finches and sparrows, too.

And FINALLY, this last little chunk normally stayed on the ground to feed, but he made it into the fountain feeder once. I couldn't get any pics of him on the ground, since I was already balancing on the couch, shooting through the dirty front window (hence the lack of clarity in most of these). Anyway, I'm pretty sure he isn't the same as the one on the cedar feeder, but the 2nd image of his body looks pretty similar. When he was feeding on the ground, he was about 2 times as big as the finches and sparrows.

Thanks in advance for any info, bird gurus!

Also, for the first time, I've had white-crowned sparrows visiting my yard! I'm not sure what their range is, but if you ever get them in your yard, they're a real treat to watch. I call them punk rockers, because of the awesome black and white stripes on their little heads. No pics yet, but I'll work on getting a ladder in front of the living room windows! :D

Brenda


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Nice variety of birds! I'll give the ids a go although I really only know the birds that are here and even those I sometimes need help with.

The first one looks like a female red winged blackbird.
Here is Cornells description, if you scroll down you will find similar birds with the differences, it sometimes helps get you pointed in the right direction..

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Red-winged_Blackbird_dtl.html

I'm really not sure about the second one but it looks like a female bunting, I'm not sure what types of buntings you have out there though.

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Indigo_Bunting_dtl.html

The last one might me a female cowbird ...
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Brown-headed_Cowbird_dtl.html

When all else fails I call them LBB (for little brown birds)... LOL

You could try the bird watching forum, they are really good at identifying birds from pictures.

And yes, the white crowned sparrows are so cool! I've only had an adult once, I've a had a juvie all winter but there crowns aren't white so not as distinctive. The white throated sparrows are more abundant here and are one of my favorites too.

I put up a bluebird nesting box this year. Can't see it from the house though so I'm not sure if I have any inhabitants. I see them in the yard but have never had one nest here so I am hopeful.


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Here are what the juvie white-crowned sparrows look like, not as striking as the adults ..

Here is the white throated ...


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 9, 06 at 10:54

Wow, Jean, you're GOOD! I never in a million years would have pegged that first one for a female red-winged! Thanks so much for that! I haven't had any males visit, so that totally threw me for a loop.

I'm pretty sure the 2nd one isn't an Indigo Bunting, since I don't think we get any here. That will have to remain an LBB for now. :D

I'm not sure about the 3rd one being a cowbird, but I was thinking it might be a male juvie Brewer's Blackbird, since he's so plain, and we've been getting a lot of those this year. Heck, maybe it'll be another LBB. LOL

That link you provided has kept me busy researching, but if I can find that little chunkmeister again, I'll try to get some better pics.

That juvie white-crowned is so adorable! And I love the yellow on the white-throated!

Again, thanks so much for taking the time to help me figure these things out, Jean. And I always love seeing your pics. :)

Brenda


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Jean,
I am soooooo jealous of that lens. I've got to have it. I love the fox pictures. They are simply adorable.
Cathy


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Jean,
I am soooooo jealous of that lens. I've got to have it. I love the fox pictures. They are simply adorable.
Cathy


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 25, 06 at 12:51

I'm just curious. Does anyone else have "issues" with sparrows trying to use their hummingbird feeders? It's only been the house sparrows, but they seem to think they like sugar water now! LOL

The hummers are just returning to feed here in my yard, and I saw one sharing the feeder with 2 sparrows yesterday. Maybe it's the water. :D

Brenda


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well, that settles it. california IS weird :)


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, May 1, 06 at 13:04

Doh! The birds visiting the hummer feeder are actually house finches, not sparrows. Not that it makes any difference, because you're right, FTM, CA is weird. :D

Brenda


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RE: Bird Watching

Brenda, I have heard of finches at hummingbird feeders, so it's not just your birds - I have also heard of tanagers so maybe you'll get lucky!

The hummingbirds arrived here last weekend, they always arrive just as the buckeyes are blooming. It's fun watching them flit around the blooms.

I had my first warblers this weekend, I was very excited. Unfortunately it was very cloudy this weekend after an extended spell of beautiful days (Murphy's law, I'm sure). I tried getting some pictures but shutter speeds were too slow to get any clear shots. Besides I am still knee deep in paint and general distruction so little time for any bird watching :^(.

DO you know if warbler migration has started there?


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RE: Bird Watching

Anyone else seen the hummingbird moths? They are smaller than a hummingbird but they hover like one and have a green back so they look very similar to a hummingbird when they go zipping by. I have failed miserably trying to get a picture of one in flight but I found one on a log this weekend - it was a little chilly that day so he wasn't moving quite so fast and stood still while I took a few pictures.


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RE: Bird Watching

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 2, 06 at 13:03

Hey, my mom reported a tanager pair for the first time this year...at her hummer feeder! I can only hope I get a visit!

I can't wait until my buckeye is old enough to bloom. Maybe next year, but more likely, I'll have to wait until 2008.

I'm not sure about warbler migration, or even sure about what birds are warblers. LOL I'm SUCH a novice.

Wow!!! Your hummingbird moths are so pretty! Last year, I had a bunch of them around my star jasmine, but it hasn't bloomed yet this year. I was lucky getting this shot. I looked it up at the time, but I can't recall what kind it is.

THIS year, though, I've been seeing a ton of the white-lined sphinx moths! They sleep under the front porch covering during the day before heading out at dusk to pig out on num-nums. :) I haven't taken a pic yet, but below is a link to what they look like.

Brenda

Here is a link that might be useful: White-lined sphinx moth (hummingbird moth)


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RE: Bird Watching

i love the hummingbird moths! and sphinx moths (duh, ftm), brenda, referring to the ones that look like stealth aircraft.
ooh, oooh, and my birdwatching today consisted of a blackhawk! ooooooooh yaaaaaaaahhhh. landed on the pad about 30 yards from me (but i am a bad judge of distance)

Here is a link that might be useful: sphinx moth lookalike


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RE: Bird Watching

I usually get the hummingbird moths more than the hummingbirds... they like the butterfly bush that grows right under the family room window, so it's easy to get a good look but impossible to get a good photo, because of the screen.
And today! for the first time in my life! and thanks to you, Jeanne, with your crystal clear pictures, I could recognize it, there was a white throated sparrow in my yard. first I heard it sing - I thought it was a chicadee, but it sounded not quite right - then I saw it. It flew up against the chimney bricks at the family room window, looked at Murphy sleeping in her window hammock, looked at me at the computer, showed off its white eye stripes and head stripe and the yellow blotches of eye shadow, and then off it went to the top of the budding green ash to sing some more.
All this in the pouring rain!

:) Mary


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RE: Bird Watching

I had a lunar moth last night, he was beating himself up pretty good at the window so I turned off all the lights, the cats were very disappointed, they were really itching to get at that one!

The sphinx moths are pretty cool, and they have such a variety of markings. Brenda, we are counting on you to crawl under the porch and get a picture of your white lined sphinx, I've not seen one of those!

Last year I used to go out at night and check out what had congregated on the deck where we leave the porch light on for a night light. This sphinx moth was on one of the chairs ...

I like this haploa too, although they are much cooler when their wings are open but never could find one that would open it's wings for me ...

We get alot these spotted tiger moths too ...

Mary, our white throated sparrows are mostly gone but not before they molted into their breeding colors - I was amazed at how much more vivid their coloring is!

FTM, you had me out on Cornell's website looking for a picture of a black hawk and then I realized you weren't talking about a bird - well DUH!


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RE: Bird Watching

Jeanner, I cannot *belieeeeeve* how amazing your photos are! WOW!!!!!! Just incredible!

I had a yellow warbler visit me just this morning. I was so excited that I just sat there on the rock (yes, in my bathrobe) holding my coffee cup like a statue. 10 minutes later, I had slowly pivoted my head with him around the yard and he came to light on a bush TWO FEET FROM ME. I about wet myself. LOL!!! My hand was completely asleep from viciously clutching my coffee mug without moving it (mid air). It was a glorious moment!

Yesterday I had cedar waxwings in my falls...amazing birds!


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RE: Bird Watching

Warblers are soooo fun to watch, they are so little and cute! I've not been able to get that close, lucky you! I had a yellow warbler last fall but have yet to see one this spring. I have had a black throated green, a nashville and a black-and-white warbler this spring. I believe I have a nesting pair of yellow-rumps, I had one hang around all winter. Their breeding colors are so much brighter, it doesn't even look like the same bird. I haven't had much luck photographing them though, it seems they prefer dark days to show their pretty faces.

I was out in the garden tonight and heard a catbird carrying on in the deep under brush just a few feet away from me. Very atypical for a catbird, they usually very secretive. He moved on up the hill making a real racket so I followed him - as soon as I got close, he'd move further into the woods. I finally gave up and returned to the garden. He appeared again, just a few feet away and again moved up into the woods, just chattering away. I followed him again into the woods, rarely getting a glimpse but always hearing him. It finally occured to me that I was probably gardening in an area that was too close to the nest for him (could be a "she", I'm not sure which is the protective parent) and he was leading me away. So I gave up on weeding, I guess it will just have to wait.

I love the cedar wax wings, such sleek birds, but I rarely see them until the berries on the cedar trees are ripe, then I get flocks of them.

I got these shots of a waxwing sunning last year - who knew that this sleek looking bird ...

Could transform into this???

(The open mouth is typical of a bird who is sunning)


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RE: Bird Watching

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, May 10, 06 at 15:34

LOL!! That sunning waxwing looks similar to when I first wake up...ruffled, mouth hanging open, just not fit for visitors. :D Such a beautiful bird! And beautiful pics, Jean, as always.

Being such a know-not-at-all, I always thought "warbler" was just a common term for a bird that sings a lot! Doh!

I saw a new bird in the area behind our house the other day. There were actually 3 of them, one toting nesting material. They were mostly grayish all over, except for the chest and lower body (in the front only), where the gray tinge melded into yellow. They were just a tad smaller than the robins, and it looked like they were chasing each other around (or off). The solar window screen kept me from getting a picture, but I sure hope they return!

Happy birding!

Brenda


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RE: Bird Watching

LOL ... so no morning portraits for Brenda!! It cracks me up that the new hair styles look like "bed head" to me - hey I don't need no fancy salon for that look!

Sorry I can't help much with your new bird, other than it sounds like a mockingbird, except I think their chests are more white - but heck, I have yet to ever see one so what do I know?

I was amazed last year when I started actually paying attention to my bird visitors. I can't believe that I lived here for 5 years before I noticed most of them. My yard list is over 85 now - I'm hoping to hit 100 by the end of the summer and hopefully a mockingbird will be one of them!


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RE: Bird Watching

sorry about that jeanner! there are such a thing, though, (feathered). i would have done the exact same thing. or, maybe i am just ornery that way, knowing someone would think bird :)

gorgeous and hilarious pics!
as usual, brenda, you slay me.


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RE: Bird Watching

Two new yard birds for me today! A pair of great crested flycatchers and a female baltimore oriole and she appeared to be collecting nesting material! Heres a shot of the oriole, unfortunately its been raining and overcast all day so the pics pretty grainy and my tripod was in the car... argghhh.


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RE: Bird Watching

gorgeous!


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RE: Bird Watching

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, May 14, 06 at 13:28

What a beautiful "calico" coloring!! Seeing new birds in our yards is so exciting!

I finally put 2 & 2 together this morning and realized that the magpies have been squawking for a reason, not just cause they're nuts in the head. They've been yelling at a local wandering cat when it gets close to (or IN) my yard! So far, they're my favorite watch birds! :D

Oh, and about 2 weeks ago, I heard a different sort of bird song coming from right outside the front window at early-thirty. I peeked out of the curtain, and saw a western tanager (just ID'd it a few minutes ago!) perched on the hummingbird feeder! I haven't seen it since, though. :(

Brenda


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RE: Bird Watching

Jean, your bird pics are just amazing.

This isn't exactly a bird, but it's a new one for my "life list".

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This little gal was crossing my back yard. My first thought was "box turtle", but she turned out to be a Blanding's. Less rare than box turtles in NH (in fact any box turtles found here are assumed to be escaped pets), but rare enough that the NH Fish & Game Reptile & Amphibian Reporting Program wanted a positive ID. I emailed them these photos, and the gal who replied said I got it right.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I just wish I could have gotten a more natural looking photo. But when she was on the ground she was moving pretty fast.

Sharon


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yay! i think blandings has the same status in illinois.


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RE: Bird Watching

So, did you ever see one in IL, FTM?


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I love turtles, just not snappers who show up in my pond :^(
And look at the neck on that guy!

I was surprised to hear that box turtles are so rare there, they are pretty common here, I see several each year in the yard - probably going after the mayapple blooms. During mating season they will be all over the road and of course I have to stop and help it get across. The distribution map for the Blanding turtle shows it primarily around Lake Erie so apparently I'll not get one of those.

Brenda, have you seen your tanager again?


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RE: Bird Watching

hi sharon. i haven't seen one that i know of. i did move a turtle across the road that i didn't recognize- kinda rectangular shaped instead of your typical painted or red eared slider. i thought best than standing on the shoulder of 55mph+ for too long :)


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, May 17, 06 at 15:11

Wow, what a find, Sharon! Just look at those toots. And those eyes! What are you going to do with her? Or did you already let her go? I say her, but...who knows? :D

No tanager yet, Jean. Gawd, it was so pretty, though. I did get a quick pic of these little sparrow darlings, though. I think they wanted to cuddle. Ok, maybe they wanted to eat, and I wanted to cuddle. LOL

And even though this next one is blurry and cloudy (the weather report through our previously dirty windows LOL), I just had to show you this crazy goldfinch.

Brenda


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So cute, Brenda!

Actually, I referred to the Blandings as "she", because the Fish and Game person told me that the flat plastron (underside) indicates a female, while a concave plastron would belong to a male. So as you can see, she is a she! I guess she should have a name. Blanche Blandings?

I sort of thought at first that Blanche might be an escaped pet, but I didn't know how best to care for her and was rushing to get somewhere, so I just released her near my stream (a natural vernal one), and hoped she knew how to care for herself. Turns out that was the right move.

FTM, so maybe you've seen a Blandings, but I don't blame you for not hanging around that highway!

Sharon


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RE: Bird Watching

Look at those wide open mouths! Great shot Brenda!

I needed a little R&R this evening after a crazy week at work and trying to get caught up with the grass after two weeks of rain and trying to get ready for installers next week, so I decided to spend some time this evening with the birds and the camera. And the bird gods smiled on me as I saw my first mockingbird! A common bird for many but I had never seen one so now I can add it to my yard-list. I was sitting in the garage mounting the camera on the tripod when he landed on the driveway and stood real still for his portrait.

Shortly after that an indigo bunting appeared. This is the closest I have been able to get to one, they usually stay in the tops of the trees. They have a cheerful song and sing all through the day and evening so a wonderful bird to have around. This one is either still molting into his bright blue attire or is a first year male and still developing his mating colors.

And an interesting shot of his tongue!


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RE: Bird Watching

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, May 21, 06 at 13:16

Oh, MY! Just look at him shouting from on high! He just looks so darned proud of himself. Like Stuart on MadTV - "Look what *I* can do!" LOL

That is such awesome timing with the mockingbird, Jean. The hairs on his chinny-chin-chin are so cute, too! And those loooong legs! Did you get to hear him sing? They are so elusive around here. I can pinpoint their song to a certain tree, but I have never actually seen one.

Brenda


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RE: Bird Watching

Congrats on the mockingbird sighting, Jean, and how amazing you were set to shoot his pic!

When I was in college I listened to a mockingbird all one summer, singing his heart out from a TV antenna atop one of the dorms. As a music major, I was especially amazed by his repertoire of calls, which he seemed to go through in a loop. He would sing, with occasional breaks to fly up and back down to the antenna, as if to say, "here I am, ladies! Up here!" Once while I was walking past his post I looked up and whistled a bird call I had learned as a kid in the Maine woods. Without missing a beat the bird whistled it right back! I felt sort of guilty for impersonating a lady mockingbird!

But, oh, my, wouldn't I love to add indigo bunting to my life list! I'll have to look it up, as I'm not sure if they live around here. I've seen a few bluebirds, but never an indigo bunting.

Sharon


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RE: Bird Watching

I love the pictures on the page, especially Jeanner's fox and wren pictures in the snow. (Being a transplant from the north, I miss the snow!)

Check out the BirdPeeps website, especially the Bird Migration Map (http://www.birdpeeps.com/migration/ganim.php) to see a neat animation of bird migration. You just might see that lost junco in Ohio on next year's map!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bird Peeps


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RE: Bird Watching

spotted a bird thrush like markings same size but very skinny pronounced red plumage on for the want of better description its shoulders any Ideas will try and photo it tomorrow
Jimboca


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