Archive for July, 2016

Wild Turkey hen and poults 7/10/16

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Wild Turkeys make the rounds of my neighborhood regularly. Being omnivorous they prefer a mix of hardwood forest and open areas where they can forage for a variety of food sources as the seasons change. The big toms have nothing to do with the rearing of the poults which are “nidifugous,” meaning they leave the nest shortly after hatching. Young poults stay with their moms and as they grow, the hens and their broods join up into larger groups. In the 1500s, Wild Turkeys from Mexico were imported to Europe and the Middle East and became very popular on account of their size, and from these domestic turkeys were bred. Meanwhile, Wild Turkey populations slowly disappeared from most of their original range on account of overhunting by the early 20th century, but since the 1940s have been successfully re-introduced so they can now be found in all the US states except Alaska.

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House Wren pair 7/9/16

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In New England House Wrens are migratory, but south of Mexico and all the way to Tierra del Fuego they are year-round birds. They come in many subspecies varying in both color and song, with some of the Caribbean subspecies being endangered or even extinct. But together, House Wrens are the most widely distributed bird in both Americas, missing only from the far north. This pair built a nest and raised a brood in a clay pot underneath my deck. I’d characterize their song as a loud and insistent burble, repeated several times a minute.

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Northern Waterthrush 7/8/16

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Northern Waterthrushes look like a small forest thrush but are actually a large warbler closely related to the Ovenbird and the similar-looking Louisiana Waterthrush, but both of those species have pale pink legs. This one is awash in reflected green light, but they have mostly brown topsides and cream colored underparts with heavily streaked breasts (the woodland thrushes are spotted not streaked). They forage for invertebrates on the forest floor with a constant tail-bobbing habit and occasionally wander into the water and sometimes even catch small fish. They breed from the Maritimes to Alaska, and winter in the Caribbean and Central America. Like Ovenbirds they are loud singers but are more musical. Sexes are alike.

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