Friday’s Feathered Friends-Northern Cardinal Male

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DO NOT USE MY IMAGES WITHOUT EXPRESSED WRITTEN PERMISSION!

Hello! I’m back from taking a short blogging break. I have a few exciting things to share but, I haven’t been able to turn my mind to writing about them or processing my images yet. When I got home from my latest trip I came home to find #1 Grandson here for a summer visit!! He’s staying until next week then we’ll take him home. His school resumes in late August! It seems like summer is going by too fast. Already it’s dark here by 8:30 P.M.!

I’m so far behind processing and sharing images I fear I’ll never catch up, but let’s go back to my trip to Illinois which was in July this year. The day after my son’s wedding I went birding and He-Man came along for the walk, while we were at The Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center I ran into a birder and we got to chatting about birds we’d each seen so far that morning, and I asked him if he’d seen any Northern Cardinals in the area and he said he had just up the trail!! We were off on the hunt. It wasn’t long too long after that I saw a red streak fly by in the trees ahead. I raced forward, He-Man raced forward as now he too was excited and on the hunt!! I saw it dive into the bushes but, couldn’t see it then suddenly it flew up to a dead tree snag and perched!!!

Northern Cardinal-Male

I’ve been dreaming of seeing this bird for what seems my whole life…more so since I started birding more seriously in 2010. Can you see me doing my happy dance? 💃💃 I still am so excited to have finally see this beautiful bird! One day I hope to see the Female so that’s still on my list.

Northern Cardinal-Male

I saw one other “Lifer” here at this Nature Center that I’ll be sharing soon, and I’ll be telling you all about my trip to Wyoming where I met up with Janet from This, That, and the Other Thing!!

I hope this finds you all well, you have a wonderful week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm @ 400mm| PS CC 23.4.2

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Red-Tail Hawk Chick

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DO NOT USE MY IMAGES WITHOUT EXPRESSED WRITTEN PERMISSION!

The Red-Tail Hawk is back using the same nest as last year for this year’s breeding season. Yipee!

On the 15th while on my walk I think I spied a little head so when I got home I grabbed my camera and went back out to take photos of the nest and sure enough there was a chick in the nest and Mom too.

Red-Tail Hawk and sleepy chick

It wasn’t long before Mom took flight to stretch her wings. She flew into a tree across the way a bit to keep watch and once in awhile she called out letting the chick know she was near…I think. I kept waiting hoping the chick would sit up and it paid off.

Red-tail Hawk Chick

Look how fuzzy and soft it looks! 2 weeks later look how big it is and there’s less fuzz and more brown.

Red-tail Hawk Chick

The tree has leafed out quite a bit too making it a bit more difficult to see the chick. This is heavily cropped as well.

I’ll keep checking in on it and hopefully, I won’t miss the fledging like I did last year.

Fun Facts-gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • The Red-tailed Hawk has a thrilling, raspy scream that sounds exactly like a raptor should sound. At least, that’s what Hollywood directors seem to think. Whenever a hawk or eagle appears onscreen, no matter what species, the shrill cry on the soundtrack is almost always a Red-tailed Hawk.
  • Birds are amazingly adapted for life in the air. The Red-tailed Hawk is one of the largest birds you’ll see in North America, yet even the biggest females weigh in at only about 3 pounds. A similar-sized small dog might weigh 10 times that.
  • The “Harlan’s Hawk” breeds in Alaska and northwestern Canada, and winters on the southern Great Plains. This very dark form of the Red-tailed Hawk has a marbled white, brown, and gray tail instead of a red one. It’s so distinctive that it was once considered a separate species, until ornithologists discovered many individuals that were intermediate between Harlan’s and more typical Red-tailed Hawks.
  • Courting Red-tailed Hawks put on a display in which they soar in wide circles at a great height. The male dives steeply, then shoots up again at an angle nearly as steep. After several of these swoops he approaches the female from above, extends his legs, and touches her briefly. Sometimes, the pair grab onto one other, clasp talons, and plummet in spirals toward the ground before pulling away.
  • Red-tailed Hawks have been seen hunting as a pair, guarding opposite sides of the same tree to catch tree squirrels.
  • The oldest known wild Red-tailed Hawk was at least 30 years, 8 months old when it was found in Michigan in 2011, the same state where it had been banded in 1981.

I hope you all have a lovely week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm lens| PS CC 23.2.2

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Allen’s Hummingbird Male

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DO NOT USE MY IMAGES WITHOUT EXPRESSED WRITTEN PERMISSION!

While visiting Big Baby Boy and The Dark Haired Beauty earlier this month I went out early one morning to photograph the flowers that were in bloom and saw to my delight an Allen’s Hummingbird male flitting around and landing on a Bottlebrush Bush.

Going for a sip
A bit miffed and ready to fly
ByeBye!

I haven’t seen these or hardly any Hummers where I live now so this really was a treat seeing this one. Aren’t his colors wonderful.

Fun Facts: gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • Male and female Allen’s Hummingbirds use different habitats during the breeding season. The male sets up a territory overseeing open areas of coastal scrub or chaparral, where he perches conspicuously on exposed branches. The female visits these areas, but after mating she heads into thickets or forests to build a nest and raise the young.
  • Allen’s Hummingbirds breed in a narrow strip of habitat along coastal Oregon and California. But within their tiny range two subspecies occur. One (Selasphorus sasin sasin) migrates to a small area in Mexico for the winter while the other (S. s. sedentarius) stays put in southern California year-round.
  • The Allen’s Hummingbird is a remarkably early migrant compared with most North American birds. Northbound birds may depart their wintering grounds as early as December, arriving on their breeding grounds as early as January when winter rains produce an abundance of flowers.
  • Like other birds, Allen’s Hummingbirds use their feet to help control their body temperature. When it’s cold outside they tuck their feet up against their bellies while flying, but when temperatures soar, they let their feet dangle to cool down.
  • The oldest recorded Allen’s Hummingbird was at least 5 years 11 months old when she was captured and rereleased in California during banding operations in 2009. She was banded in the same state in 2004.~allaboutbirds.org

It’s going to be blustery and chilly here this week-end with maybe some snow and rain in the mountains so, I’ll be near home this week-end. I hope you have something fun planned!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm Lens| PS CC 23.2.2

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends- A walk by the slough

Copyright ©2022 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last week I met up with some local Audubon club members for a bird walk. Here’s some of the exciting birds we saw.

This first bird was a neat sighting. It’s a Graylag x Swan hybrid we discovered. The ebird monitor for Washoe county wrote me after seeing my images of the goose this. “Your documentation shows this is a “Domestic goose with a mix of Graylag and Swan Goose (aka Chinese Goose) ancestry. The dark stripe from the top of the head down the back of the neck, and the bulging forehead are Swan Goose traits, while the orange bill and a few other features are Graylag traits. ” P.H. Isn’t that interesting! It’s a handsome goose and several people we ran into while admiring and photographing it told us they named him. One family called him Barney, and another one calls him Harry. He’s quite the celebrity there.

Graylag Goose

Another exciting sighting was a large group of White-fronted Geese. We don’t see those a lot here so, we watched and photographed them for awhile too.

White-fronted Goose

Saving the best for last, and it was the last bird we saw on our way back to the parking before we finished up was the Immature Audubon’s Yellow-rump Warbler. This was a lifer for me! Isn’t it cute!

Audubon’s Yellow-rump Warbler-immature

I’ll be birding with friends this week-end and hoping to see lots of birds. I hope you all have a great week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm @400mm| PS CC 23.2.0

more to come…

Whatever Weds. Red-tailed Hawk Immature

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Red-tailed Hawks are the most common hawk in North America and certainly the one I see most often. While birding with the birding group a few weeks ago another lady and I veered away from the group a few minutes to check out another path and saw this Red-tail perched with its back to us. It stayed for a good bit then turned and flew right over our heads. That’s when I got this shot. It’s probably a 1st year since it doesn’t have its red tail feathers yet.

Fun Facts- gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • The Red-tailed Hawk has a thrilling, raspy scream that sounds exactly like a raptor should sound. At least, that’s what Hollywood directors seem to think. Whenever a hawk or eagle appears onscreen, no matter what species, the shrill cry on the soundtrack is almost always a Red-tailed Hawk.
  • Birds are amazingly adapted for life in the air. The Red-tailed Hawk is one of the largest birds you’ll see in North America, yet even the biggest females weigh in at only about 3 pounds. A similar-sized small dog might weigh 10 times that.
  • The “Harlan’s Hawk” breeds in Alaska and northwestern Canada, and winters on the southern Great Plains. This very dark form of the Red-tailed Hawk has a marbled white, brown, and gray tail instead of a red one. It’s so distinctive that it was once considered a separate species, until ornithologists discovered many individuals that were intermediate between Harlan’s and more typical Red-tailed Hawks.
  • Courting Red-tailed Hawks put on a display in which they soar in wide circles at a great height. The male dives steeply, then shoots up again at an angle nearly as steep. After several of these swoops he approaches the female from above, extends his legs, and touches her briefly. Sometimes, the pair grab onto one other, clasp talons, and plummet in spirals toward the ground before pulling away.
  • Red-tailed Hawks have been seen hunting as a pair, guarding opposite sides of the same tree to catch tree squirrels.
  • The oldest known wild Red-tailed Hawk was at least 30 years, 8 months old when it was found in Michigan in 2011, the same state where it had been banded in 1981.

The Scrub Jays here mimic the Red-tail Hawk’s call and has been fooling me a lot lately! I’ve been listening to calls so I’m not so easily fooled next time. Ha!!😂

After the group broke up I headed east in search of another bird, but had no joy finding it but, the river was pretty. I saw a few mallards, and Yellow-rumped Warblers and people so headed home for lunch.

Truckee River Bend

The image of the Red-tail looks so bad here on WordPress! I’m beyond frustrated with this happening all the time. I haven’t changed the way I process and resize my images in a decade so it must be WordPress! I need a tutorial! Any help or pointers would be greatly appreciated.

My images look fine and the way I want them to on flickr. Here’s the link to the same image of the Red-tail. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dmzajac2004/51529739409/in/dateposted/

See what I mean? I’m really not happy with WordPress at the moment! Any ideas for a not savvy computer person to fix it?

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 22.5| iPhone 7Plus

more to come…

Friday’s Feathered Friends-Warbling Vireo

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/110999

Fun Facts: Gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • 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!

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm| PS CC 22.4.2

more to come…