Archive for October, 2016

Northern Cardinal female 10/9/16


A pair of Northern Cardinals live in my backyard year round and here’s the female cruising the cherry tomatoes. Her last batch of 5 youngsters are over in the lilacs with dad, they look much like her but lack the coral-colored beaks of adults. There are 2 other members in the Cardinalis genus, the much grayer Pyrrhuloxia of the southwest and the Vermilion Cardinal of South America, but the extensive cardinal family (Cardinalidae) also includes tanagers, chats, seedeaters, new world buntings, and a number of grosbeaks.


Hermit Thrush 10/8/16


Pink legs and feet, a white eye-ring, and a tail much redder than its back are what differentiate Hermits from the other spotted thrushes. They rummage for insects and invertebrates on the forest floor but in wintertime their diet will also include berries and other fruit. Hermit Thrushes breed from Alaska to Newfoundland and some migrate as far south as Central America, but here on the southern Maine coast it would be most unusual if I also didn’t see or hear of one or more braving the New England winter. They have one of the loveliest songs of all birds—very flutey. Sexes are alike.