Monday, July 12, 2010

Red-Headed Woodpecker

May 20, 2010 - I was on my way out of the house to attend a Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin field trip hoping to see a Kirtland's Warbler when I took a quick look in the backyard and spotted a Red-headed woodpecker at a feeding station. I had never before had this bird in my yard and could hardly believe my eyes! I was gone all weekend (and DID see the Kirtland's Warbler!) but when I returned home this fellow was still hanging around. Managed to get a few photos from quite a distance and was thrilled to have this as my 27th species in the yard during spring migration.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Funky Nests in Funky Places

Celebrate Urban Birds on Facebook
Check out the Funky Nests in Funky Places photo album.

photos from Celebrate Urban Birds

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bathing Beauty

This American Robin (Wisconsin's state bird) seemed to be enjoying his bath more than the look on his face would lead you to believe. Photos of birds galore can be enjoyed at Bird Photography Weekly - go check it out!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Three Stages of Song Sparrows

The Song Sparrow seemed to be my "bird of the week" last week. First, a colleague mentioned that she had a nest in her holly bush with some just-hatched chicks in it. She invited me over to take a look - and a photo. I couldn't tell what they were just by looking at these blind and naked little bodies with gaping mouths but within a few minutes a chirping adult Song Sparrow could be seen perched nearby and then coming and going from the bush. At home I consulted my book on nests, hatchlings, etc. and this nest type seemed to fit the bill for Song Sparrows. This weekend while walking down the driveway a lot of chirping from a tree caught my attention and I spied this juvenile Song Sparrow at the edge of our swamp. This must be a favorite spot for them since I see them here every summer. A little farther down the road, I saw this adult sitting on a branch and realized I had come full circle with this bird. Nest, hatchlings, fledgling, adult. A pretty common little bird but not every week that you see all the stages in their life cycle! Check out more birds and their photographer's stories at Bird Photography Weekly.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cedar Waxwings

I happened upon a pair of Cedar Waxwings while on a hike in our neck of the woods this holiday weekend. They seemed to be collecting nesting material and I thought they were getting kind of a late start but then read the following information regarding their nesting habits: Late Nest Builders Waxwings generally nest later in the summer than most songbirds since they synchronize hatching with fruit development. Both sexes bring nest material but females do most of the nest building, lay 4 or 5 pale blue or blue-gray eggs with black or gray blotches and incubate them for 12 days. Nestlings spend another 13 days in the nest before fledging. 1 - 2 broods raised. This makes sense since the big pin cherry tree in our yard is full of fruit that is not yet ripe. The cherries usually ripen up mid-July and I've seen loads of Cedar Waxwings feasting there in the past.
Coincidentally, there was a nest visible very near where I spotted these two. I think this nest might belong to a Red-eyed Vireo however. Fly over to Bird Photography Weekly for more bird photos from all over the world.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Golden-winged Warbler Banding

On Saturday, I had the privilege to participate in a Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin field trip banding Golden-winged Warblers. The GWW are being studied by Amber Roth, Forest Science PhD candidate out of Michigan Tech University, as part of her work on cellulosic ethanol. With growing interest and small-scale use of forest waste and biomass for electricity generation and cellulosic ethanol for automotive fuels, it is important that we understand the demands and management tradeoffs this requires of our northern forests. In particular, can we find a balance between biomass extraction for bioenergy and the habitat needs of forest birds?
The first bird in the mist net was a bird Amber had banded in 2007. New data was collected and stats on this bird were updated.
A short while later an unbanded bird hit the mist net. It was banded, had blood and feather samples taken, weighed and greatly admired by all in attendance. It was a new life list bird for me - #146! Find interesting stories and great bird photography at Bird Photography Weekly.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bird Photography Weekly - Common Loon on Nest

We've had a pair of loons nesting in the bay of the lake we're on for several years now. Last year they successfully raised one chick. This past weekend, I was lucky enough to catch them changing places on the nest. Not being very well suited to walking on land, it was quite a process! The adult that left the nest and took to the water kept a watchful eye on the sky and sent up an alert call when an eagle was overhead. The adult on the nest left it and swam a short distance away. As soon as the eagle moved on, the nest was once again occupied. To see more interesting birds from all over the world, visit Bird Photography Weekly.