Tag Archives: Today’s Feathered Friend

~Friday’s Feathered Friend – The Boat-tailed Grackle~

 

Boat-tailed Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle

 

The Boat-tailed Grackle – brown or dull yellow eyes, long keel-shaped tail, black overall, iridescent purple on head and back, black legs and black bill.

~

Added to my Birding Life List on 04/10/93

(West Palm Beach, Florida)

~

 

The Boat-tailed Grackle is a very large, glossy black bird.

The Boat-tailed Grackle’s common name refers to its long tail, often held in a V-shape to form a “keel.”

Found along the coast from Texas to Long Island, this songbird prefers salt and brackish marshes, where it breeds in colonies and socializes in noisy flocks.

The Boat-tailed Grackle has been expanding its range northward since the 1940’s, probably due to milder winters north of the Carolinas.

The female is a light, warm brown with dark brown wings and tail. The female’s “ear” is darker brown under a pale eyebrow. The eyes of both sexes are yellowish.

 

Boat-tailed Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle

I photographed this beautiful bird while visiting the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge this past week.

What a beautiful black bird
What a beautiful black bird

 

Just as I am! Every Friday you may participate in Feathers on Friday at Prairie Birder.

Here is Charlotte’s Blog web-site:

http://prairiebirder.wordpress.com

This is another great Blog to learn about Birds!

~

Enjoy Birdwatching!

It can be entertaining as well as educational!

~

 

Note:Some of my information for this post was taken from Field Guide to Birds of North America.

 

~Friday’s Feathered Friend-Tufted Titmouse~

 

~Tufted Titmouse – tufted dark gray head, straight black bill, whitish gray underparts, gray upper parts, rusty sides and flanks, gray tail.

~

Added to my Birding Life List on 04/15/98

(Jefferson, LA)

~

 

Coming in for a landing
Coming in for a landing

Interesting facts about the Tufted Titmouse:

Very intelligent

The largest Titmouse

Not afraid of  people

Will scoop down and pluck out a human hair to use for its nest

Will learn to eat out of your hand

Very social

Eats insects and their larvae, spiders, snails berries, acorns, nuts and seeds

Feeds its mate during courtship

 

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse waiting its turn for a bath

As I sat on my coach sofa looking out the window on The Farm, I observed many species of birds flying in and out of a cavity in a large, old Pecan tree with this Tufted Titmouse being one of them. Notice the cavity in the Pecan tree above.

At first I didn’t realize what they were doing, but when a bigger bird landed in there and I saw water flying up into the air I knew. Ahh, a refreshing bath. I think the Titmouse was waiting for its turn.

When Howard asked my brother if he could put this rope in the tree to assist him in setting up some amateur radio antennas, my brother should have said NO. It kinda takes away from the photo.

 

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

 

Just as I am! Every Friday you may participate in Feathers on Friday at Prairie Birder.

Here is Charlotte’s Blog web-site:

http://prairiebirder.wordpress.com

This is another great Blog to learn about Birds!

~

Enjoy Birdwatching!

It can be entertaining as well as educational!

~

 

Note:Some of my information for this post was taken from Field Guide to Birds of North America, Smithsonian Handbook, Birds of North America and Cornell Lad of Ornithology and their website All About Birds.

~Friday’s Feathered Friend~(Canada Goose)

~Canada Goose – black head and neck, white chin strap, blackish bill, brownish gray upper parts, white under tail coverts.

~

Added to my Birding Life List in July of 1984

(while on vacation in Yellowstone National Park, WY)

~

 

A Canada Goose drinking a sip of water
A Canada Goose drinking a sip of water

 

The Canada Goose is the most common, familiar and widespread goose in North America.

They are native to North America and breed in Canada and the northern United States in a variety of habitats. The Great Lakes region maintains a very large population of Canada Geese.

Canada Geese occur year-round in the southern part of their breeding range, including most of the eastern seaboard and the Pacific coast. Between California and South Carolina in the southern United States and northern Mexico, Canada Geese are primarily present as migrants from further north during the winter.

Mini and Moe (they mate for life and are Monogamous.
Mini and Moe
(they mate for life and are monogamous

Canada Geese will mate for life. Like most other geese, family units remain together through winter and until they return to breeding grounds. Incubation is 25-30 days by the female, young leave nest at 2-2 days, young feed themselves with the help of  their parents. 

 

Black head and neck, white shin strap, black bill, white under tail coverts.
Black head and neck, white shin strap, black bill, white under tail coverts

 These geese are called dabblers and grazers, feeding on a variety of aquatic and terrestrial plants.

IMG_6892
IMG_6894

I am sure you have been treated to the familiar honk-a-lonk song of these geese and have seen them flying over in their distinctive V formation!

I had a wonderful time photographing these geese while staying at Meaher State Park in Spanish Fort, Alabama. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Canada Goose, please visit this web-site or any other birding web-site:

http://www.allaboutbirds.org

~

Enjoy Birdwatching!

It can be entertaining as well as educational!

~

This is another great Blog to learn about Birds! – http://prairiebirder.wordpress.com

Information on the Canada Goose was taken from several birding books and web-sites to include: DK Smithsonian Handbook on Birds of North America, National Geographic Society and Wikipedia.

 

~Friday’s Feathered Friend~ (Tricolored Heron)

~Tricolored Heron – slate-gray upper parts, white underparts, long yellowish bill with dark tip, reddish brown streaks on fore neck, dull yellow long legs

Added to my Birding Life List on April 14, 1993

White breeding plumage, white belly, reddish brown streaks on foreneck
Slate-gray upper parts, white belly, reddish brown streaks on foreneck

Interesting Facts:

~Tricolored refers to the dark upper parts, white underparts and the reddish brown strips on the fore neck

~The Tricolored Heron measures about 26 inches long and weighs 13 ounces, with a 36-inch wingspan

~The only heron with a dark body and white belly

~One of the most abundant herons found in the Deep South

~Formerly called the Louisiana Heron

~In breeding plumage there are white plumes on the back of the lower neck, crown and back

~Stalks its prey in shallow or deeper water, goes deeper out in the water than other herons

"Do you see my breeding white plumes?"
“Do you see my white plumes?”

Breeding and Nesting: Three or four light blue green eggs are laid on a platform nest made of stems and twigs, occasionally lined with grass; nests in mixed-species rookeries on coastal islands, although some may nest in swamp forests. Both parents incubate eggs for about 21 days.

Long yellowish legs, long dagger bill with black tip
Long yellowish legs, long dagger bill with black tip

Range and Habitat: Breeds in southeastern New Mexico and Texas, on the Gulf Coast, and along the Atlantic coast north to southern Maine (rarely). Spends winters along the coast from Texas and New Jersey south to northern South America and West Indies. Preferred habitats include swamps, bayous, coastal ponds, salt marshes, mangrove islands, mudflats, and lagoons.

Peek-A-Boo
Peek-A-Boo

I captured these photos on March 9, 2014 while staying at Meaher State Park in Spanish Fort, Alabama. He was hunting along the shore of the Bay. The entire time he was searching for food one of the two resident alligators was slowly swimming toward him. I don’t know what I would have done if the alligator got close enough to strike – scare the heron away or let nature take its course.

~

Just as I am! Every Friday you may participate in Feathers on Friday at Prairie Birder.

Here is Charlotte’s Blog web-site:

http://prairiebirder.wordpress.com

This is another great Blog to learn about Birds!

~

Enjoy Birdwatching!

It can be entertaining as well as educational!

~

Note:Some of my information for this post was taken from Field Guide to Birds of North America, Smithsonian Handbook, Birds of North America and Cornell Lad of Ornithology and their website All About Birds.

~Friday’s Feathered Friend~ (Laughing Gull)

~Laughing Gull~ (adult) Black hood, black legs, white underparts, white crescent marks above and below eyes, reddish beak, broad white collar.

Added to my Birding Life List in April 10, 1993~

Laughing Gull
Laughing Gull
"Go Away"
“Go Away”
"I'am getting bored"
“I’am getting bored”

Laughing Gulls  were named, because they have a laughter like call! They are medium-sized gulls with fairly long wings and long legs that impart a graceful look when they are flying or walking. They have stout, fairly long bills. Adult Laughing Gulls are medium gray above and white below.

Summer adults have a crisp black hood, white arcs around the eye, and a reddish bill. In winter, the hood becomes a blurry gray mask on a white head.

The legs are reddish black to black. Immatures are much browner and more subtly patterned than adults; they take 2-3 years to gain adult plumage.

In the early 20th century, the Laughing Gull was threatened by the feather trade. Today they are common, stable over much of their range and numbers have been increasing in the northeastern US in recent years.

If you are interested in learning more about the Laughing Gull, please visit this web-site or any other birding web-site:

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/laughing_gull/id

Close Up
Close Up

I found the fact that they take 2-3 years to gain adult plumage very interesting. I took these photos on a beach near Destin, Florida about a week ago. Notice the white tail, therefore I think it is an adult in winter plumage. Some people don’t like gulls; however I enjoy watching and photographing them. I believe they serve a purpose along our shorelines.

This gull was standing about 10 feet from the edge of the Gulf, looking out over the waves, perhaps waiting for a  Pelican to drop a morsel of food at its feet.

~

Just as I am! Every Friday you may participate in Feathers on Friday at Prairie Birder.

Here is Charlotte’s Blog web-site:

http://prairiebirder.wordpress.com

This is another great Blog to learn about Birds!

~

Enjoy Birdwatching!

It can be entertaining as well as educational!

~

Some of my information for this post was taken from Field Guide to Birds of North America, Smithsonian Handbook, Birds of North America and Cornell Lad of Ornithology and their website All About Birds.

~Friday’s Feathered Friend~ (Brown Thrasher)

~Brown Thrasher~ reddish-brown above, streaked below, yellow eye and down-curved bill

Added to my Birding Life List in January of 1988~

Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher

~

"Can you see me, I am hiding?"
“I’am trying to hide”

~

This Brown Thrasher was a frequent visitor to a wooded area near our campsite. I was delighted to see this bird and amused watching it hunt for food. At times it looked like a jack-hammer, repeatedly stretching upward and then coming down pounding the ground with its large bill. At times you would see dead leaves and pine needles flying in all directions as it sweep the forrest floor with its curved bill.

~

Jack-hammer Thrash
Jack-hammer Thrash

~

A nice view showing its streaked body and white-wing bars
A nice view showing its streaked body and white-wing bars

If you are interested in learning more about the Brown Thrasher, please visit this web-site or any other birding web-site:

 http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown_Thrasher

It can be tricky to glimpse a Brown Thrasher in a tangled mass of shrubbery, and once you do you may wonder how such a boldly patterned, gangly bird could stay so hidden. Brown Thrashers wear a somewhat severe expression thanks to their heavy, slightly downcurved bill and staring yellow eyes, and they are the only thrasher species east of Texas. Brown Thrashers are exuberant singers, with one of the largest repertoires of any North American songbird. (description as taken from All About Birds)

~

Enjoy Birdwatching!

It can be entertaining as well as educational!

~

Just as I am! Every Friday you may participate in Feathers on Friday at Prairie Birder.

Here is Charlotte’s Blog web-site:

http://prairiebirder.wordpress.com

This is another great Blog to learn about Birds!