Archive for March, 2018

Fox Sparrow 3/31/18

This is just one of a half dozen Fox Sparrows scratching up my backyard yesterday. They get their name on account of their foxy colors, so it should be no surprise that such a group of them is called a “den.” They’re one of my all time favorite sparrows, but then I say that about almost all of the sparrows. They have an energetic 2-footed kick-scratching to turn up bugs and seeds, and that they’re so big they’re often mistaken for a thrush. In New England they migrate through on their way to the Canadian boreal forests in spring, and back through to the southern states in the fall, but it’s not unheard of to see one or two of them in the winter months.

Comments

Barred Owl 3/14/18

Barred Owls are common in eastern North America and are also known as hoot owls and wood owls. They like open old growth woods where they can hunt small mammals and the occasional bird or herp.  They are tuftless or earless compared to say the Great Horned or Eastern Screech, some being more gray while others more brown. They belong to the genus Strix with 23 species worldwide and out west they are considered invasive for the negative competitive impact they’ve had on their smaller Spotted Owl cousins. With their big dark brown peepers, they’re one of just a few owl species that don’t have yellow eyes.

Comments

Red-winged Blackbird male 3/12/18

Everyone has their surefire harbingers of spring, Red-wing Blackbirds singing konk-a-ree are mine.

Comments

Cedar Waxwing 3/9/18

Cedar Waxwings flock up in wintertime and roam far and wide in search of fruits and berries which compose the bulk of their diet. Their high-pitched jingly trills always bring a smile to my face, even when I can’t see them. From any distance they look much like what birders call LBJs (Little Brown Jobs) but close up they are strikingly beautiful with their crested heads, black face masks, silky blend of brown to lemon breast feathers, yellow (sometimes orange) tail bands, and the small beads of scarlet wax on the wings of mature adults which you can’t see in this photo. In winter flocks, keep an eye out for the larger Bohemian Waxwing which often mix in with Cedars. They are larger and stockier, have distinctive cinnamon under-rumps, and more extensive red waxy droplets on their wings.

Comments