Archive for Passerines (perching birds)

Golden-crowned Kinglet 11/22/17

Kinglets are the smallest of all songbirds and come with twittering perky personalities. They are difficult to photograph on account they seem to never stop foraging for insects and spiders to keep their metabolism going. How they manage to find enough to eat during the long New England has always been a mystery to me. They come in 7 species around the world, 2 of them found in North America including the Golden-crowned. Males have a reddish streak in the middle of their yellow crests which can be erected. Kinglets are not warblers.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler juve 11/13/17

Yellow-rumped Warblers are the last of the migrating warblers to move through New England in any numbers, though even in November it’s not unusual to find stragglers of other species. This was one of a half dozen juves I found on the beach at Fort Foster, flitting down from a low tree branch or up from a piece of driftwood on the beach to catch brine flies on the wing, with astonishing acrobatics.

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Palm Warbler 10/06/17

Palm Warblers breed east of the Rockies across Canada and the northern US in boggy areas common to the great boreal forest. A more western and browner subspecies winters on the Pacific coast. This is the eastern “yellow” subspecies that will winter in the southeastern US, Gulf states, Caribbean, and Central America. Spring breeding males have bright rusty caps and more colorful breast streaks.

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Lapland Longspur 10/5/17

Lapland Longspurs are common songbirds breeding around the Arctic tundra regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. In New England we only see them in during the winter months in nonbreeding plumage. Longspur refers to their elongated hind claw. You’ll find them in open areas foraging for seeds, sometimes singly like this one, but also in large flocks of hundreds or even thousands. I often find the along the coast mixed in with flocks of Snow Bunting or Horned Larks.

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Baltimore Oriole male 5/19/17

As colorful as they are, Orioles belong to the blackbird family Icteridae, which also includes grackles, bobolinks, oropendolas, and caciques. For a time it was thought that Bullocks and Baltimore Orioles were the same species and were together renamed the Northern Oriole, but later it was discovered they didn’t hybridize as much as was previously thought, and the earlier nomenclature was reinstated. When Baltimore Orioles first return in the spring they are still on a winter diet of fruits and nectar, and will come to feeding stations providing oranges and jellies, but then soon switch to a diet of insects and invertebrates.

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American Crow 5/15/17

Often in spring you’ll see American Crows strutting around the lawn, foraging for worms and other insects. Other times when there are several, they may take turns holding forth with their opinions like at a town meeting. Crows are one of the most intelligent of all birds and mate for life when they are 3 to 5 years old.

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Hermit Thrush 4/30/17

Hermit Thrushes are arriving, I came across half a dozen at once the other day, just inside one of Fort Foster’s woodland paths foraging for insects and berries on the forest floor. They are a smaller thrush than a robin but larger than a bluebird, and like its cousins will often droop its wings below the tail. They’re most easily recognized by their brown backs contrasting with reddish tails. They sing in a melancholy minor key with descending flutey trills that many consider the loveliest of birdsongs.

 

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