A couple of week ago I discovered a new park with a pond not far from home and this beautiful male Wood Duck was there among the mallards and geese.
I heard there was a female there too but, I never saw her. She too is quite striking and pretty. Here’s an image I made last year along the river of a female Wood Duck checking out a tree for a nesting spot I thought as they nest in holes in trees or if available a nesting box. They have claws that can grip bark so they can perch on branches.
The Wood Duck is one of the prettiest ducks of all the waterfowl.
Natural cavities for nesting are scarce, and the Wood Duck readily uses nest boxes provided for it. If nest boxes are placed too close together, many females lay eggs in the nests of other females.
Wood Ducks pair up in January, and most birds arriving at the breeding grounds in the spring are already paired. The Wood Duck is the only North American duck that regularly produces two broods in one year.
The Wood Duck nests in trees near water, sometimes directly over water, but other times over a mile away. After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and make their way to water. The mother calls them to her, but does not help them in any way. The ducklings may jump from heights of over 50 feet without injury.
The oldest recorded Wood Duck was a male and at least 22 years, 6 months old. He had been banded in Oregon and was found in California.
We got a good snow dump during the night and early morning hours on Tuesday. It made everything so pretty! As I write this (Thursday) we’re supposed to get more snow today. #1 Grandson will be celebrating his 9th year on this planet next week. I hope we can get over the mountains to see him to help him celebrate. 9 years old! Time is flying by.
What are you doing this week-end, anything good? Have you finished your holiday shopping?
Continuing on with the newest “lifers” that I’ve picked up this year I present Lifer N° 2 for 2021…the Warbling Vireo.
I confess I would have missed this bird had I not been out with a local birding group. The leader for that day’s outing recognized its song, and I started peering into the foliage and spotted something flitting around. Hoping for it come out in the open for peek I waited, and waited. Finally a brief look!!
Then just as quickly it flew to another bush behind a branch and began singing its morning song.
These are the only decent images I was able to get of it, but I’m happy to have them!
They have a large range in the United States, but breed here in the Summer months.
Since this little one is singing in the last image I thought I’d try to add a sound file so you can hear one of its songs. Nuts! The link didn’t embed the sound file.
Clicking the link will open a new window with the recording of the Western Warbling Vireo
Warbling Vireos have a good name—the males sing a fast, up-and-down, rollicking song that suits the word “warbling.” The early twentieth century ornithologist William Dawson described the song this way: “fresh as apples and as sweet as apple blossoms comes that dear, homely song from the willows.” The highly variable song usually ends on a high note, leading the birder Pete Dunne to describe it as sounding “like a happy drunk making a conversational point at a party.”
Across their wide range, Warbling Vireos differ from one population to another in several characteristics, including overall size, bill shape, plumage coloring, molt patterns, wintering areas, and vocalizations. The differences are significant enough to lead ornithologists to recognize six separate subspecies of Warbling Vireo, and at one time divided them into two species.
Brown-headed Cowbirds frequently deposit their own eggs in the nests of Warbling Vireos. In some instances, the vireo pair incubates the alien egg and raises the young cowbird until it fledges. Female vireos in some eastern populations, however, tend to puncture and eject interlopers’ eggs.
Researchers speculate that Warbling Vireo song is at least partially learned rather than hard-wired. They base this supposition in part on observations of one individual whose song more closely resembled that of a Red-eyed Vireo than that of its parents. The garbled song, they concluded, probably resulted from a flawed learning process during the bird’s development.
The longest-lived Warbling Vireo on record—a male that was originally banded in July 1966—was at least 13 years, 1 month old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in California.
I hope you enjoyed seeing these Warbling Vireo images today, and I hope your Friday is going well, and you have a lovely week-end and I wish an early Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s in the US!
My neighbor and I have begun taking our cameras on our walks because we’re seeing more and more of the Spring migrating birds passing though. Last week on a longer walk to another neighborhood we spotted this guy eating those Russian Olives. Don’t they look like pearls?
They are the smallest of the Thrashers and love the sagebrush of the western states. We’re on the western edge of its breeding territory. They mimic other birds while they sing. I didn’t hear this one singing though.
I was surprised to see this one up in tree! They usually are hanging around the sagebrush and will hide in it.
I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you’re watching the game I hope your team wins.
This week’s theme for Lisa’s weekly Bird challenge is Waders. In April and May, I was looking for them but saw only a few here, but they’re a pretty few.
American Avocets in breeding plumage:
Black-necked Stilt- I think this one is a male. I love their pink legs! I think they look fancy and classic with their black and white feathers and pink legs. Also, they have the sweetest big eyes!
and a White-faced Ibis- in breeding plumage: It was the only one in the pond. I see a good size flock of them flyover every morning and evening but have no idea where they go or come from. I hope to find the flock one day.
Now that we’re in Summer many of the migrating birds are gone like these waders. I look forward to their return in the winter and spring.
We’ve been having some hot and windy days with thunder a couple of days which brought lightning along and now there are a couple of bush fires in the area we’re watching. It’s supposed to cool down on Sunday but the wind isn’t going anywhere soon.
I hope you’ve had a good week, and your week-end is a good one too!
When it was snowing last week my neighbor and I took our cameras for a walk and had a lovely couple of hours birding our own neighborhood. We’ve been keeping 6 feet apart and she’s in my very small group of contacts that I am seeing as we get through this pandemic.
These are Lesser Scaups that migrate and winter here. There are currently several pairs staying in a couple of the ponds at the golf course that meander through our community.
They are in the dipping/diving duck family and are the most abundant diving duck in North America.
I have no idea how much longer they’re going to be here, but I’ve enjoyed seeing them here.
This is a group of both males and females that got skittish as we got closer to their end of the pond.
Going for walks when I can have been great for my mind and spirit. I hope you’re all finding ways to keep your spirits up during this self-distancing and quarantine time.
We’ll get through this! 🥰
Fuji X-T3| Fujinon XF100-400mm LM OIS| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 21.0.3