Tuesday, April 28, 2009

House Finch

House finches are apparently in their mating plumage. The bright reds are very attractive to females.

(See more photos and information about House Finches HERE.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blue Jay

The Blue Jay is easily recognized by its bright blue color, and black necklace. Chances are, you'll hear it before you see it. Its "Cat! Cat! Cat!" call is one of the most common of all. The Blue Jay can also mimic the calls of Red-Shouldered Hawks, Red-Tailed Hawks, Ospreys, Crows, and even a neighborhood cat! (I didn't know that either.) Blue Jays eat nuts, berries, insects, and even carrion.

This Blue Jay appears to be building a nest in one of our trees. Jays around here are difficult to photograph, because they insist on keeping branches between them and the camera.


Monday, April 13, 2009


The Killdeer is the actor of the bird world. If you come too close to its nest, it will act as if it is hurt in an effort to lure you away. It almost always works with predators. They are famous for acting like it has a broken wing, but this one used a broken leg act - its left leg. The Killdeer is found virtually everywhere in the United States, including the panhandle. It will at times leave this area in the winter, but is generally here year-round. This handsome bird forages for insects with a run-and-stop technique.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Black Crowned Night Heron

These herons typically hunt at dusk as the sun disappears below the horizon. An attractive bird, they sport two white plumes trailing from its crown during breeding season. They feed with the stand-and-wait method, waiting to ambush prey in the shallows from shorelines. While many people think that the Black-Crowned Night Heron has a short thick neck, my photo below seems to discount that belief. In fact, they are able to stretch their necks out reminiscent of others in the heron family. The panhandle is in their breeding/summer range.

This heron displays its white plumes during breeding time.

Seemingly admiring himself, this Black-Crowned Night Heron assumes his hunting stance.

For some reason, this heron (bottom right) chases off a Snowy Egret.

Apparently rarely seen doing it, the Black-Crowned Night Heron can extend its neck, much like others in the heron family.