Archives for Birds

Closing out November

Categories: Birds, The Garden 2018, and What's Been Happening?.

~ It is lovely and sunny today but the wind is very strong and cold.  We had some snow this morning and at times it was like being in a snow globe.  The wind was blowing the snow around and around.  It’s the perfect day to stay inside.  November is coming to an end and winter is still making an appearance even though there is a month to go before it officially starts. I recently made another batch of the all season suet I use.  This time I used cardboard tubes cut about 6 cm or 2.5 inches high and
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The Pileated Woodpecker

Categories: Birds and Lens Friends.

~ What a thrill to see a pileated woodpecker in the back garden. There she was at the base of the old dead tree drilling away in search of insects. A bit of research in the birding books told us this was a female.  On the male the red on the head goes all the way down to the beak.  Also the males have a red stripe to the side of the beak. At other times she visited the feeders.  Here she is trying out a bird cake recipe that I make.  Homemade suet is quick and easy to make and once
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The Kestrel and His Prey

Categories: Birds.

~ The American Kestrel has been spotted a couple of times in and around the garden. Here it is just after it landing on top of the light pole.  We live in the country so don’t have the usual number of street lights that urban areas have.  In fact this is the only light on our part of the road just across from the house, which we pay for. The kestrel has obviously captured some prey and was sitting on the post enjoying a nibble.  I cringed a little when I realized he had captured something, thinking it might be
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Slate Coloured Juncos

Categories: Birds and Lens Friends.

~ The little slate coloured juncos are frequent winter visitors to the gardens.  Juncos are found across North America and they vary slightly in appearance from east to west. Here in my part of Ontario, Canada we see the slate coloured juncos.  They are mainly end of Fall, winter, early spring visitors.  They certainly enhance our winter bird viewing. It has a solid black/dark grey head, neck, back and wings.  The rest of the little body is white.  The males are a bit darker than the females. They are mainly ground feeders and can be seen in groups under the
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Partial Albino Grackle

Categories: Birds and Lens Friends.

~ We had a rare visitor to the flat feeder August 10, 2018 –  a partial albino grackle or a leucistic grackle.  Thanks to help from an online friend Elaine, some bird forums, and internet searches we were able to correctly identify this bird. The head of a grackle is usually all bluish, but this one has white features throughout. The eye has the same yellowish circle with the black pupil. You can see similar features to the common grackle – the longish tail, sturdy beak, and long legs. Here are a few more shots as it moved to different
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The Turkey Vultures

Categories: 2sDay, Birds, and Lens Friends.

~ For 2sDay I’m sharing some photos of two turkey vultures that was saw on the roof of an old barn along our road.  It was a sunny morning as we were driving home and the vultures were just coming in to land on the roof.  We were able to pull over to the side of the road and get some fantastic photos.  It pays to always take the camera when we go out. I love the lightening rods on the roof of the barn. At first only one of the vultures or buzzards had its wings spread.  They can
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Quails for Q

Categories: Birds, British Columbia, and Lens Friends.

 We loved seeing quail on our visits to British Columbia.  Some research tells me this is a California quail, found along the Pacific coast of the USA and Vancouver Island and the southern part of British Columbia.   They are small to mid size birds in the pheasant family. The distinctive head markings on the male are lovely and don’t you just love that little plume feather on the top of its head?  It’s made up of 6 feathers that curl towards the front.  The female has a little top knot but it doesn’t curl as much as the male one. Here
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The Nuthatches

Categories: Birds.

We just love watching the various birds that visit the backyard feeders.  Most of the feeders are set up so they are within good viewing distance of the windows. The cameras are always ready to capture the birds through our lenses.   We are getting much better at identification but the birding books are always close at hand.  We’ve learned to look at beaks, eye markings, belly colours, tail lengths and more. Nuthatches, sometimes called the upside down birds, are the birds that go down the tree head first.   There are 2 varieties of nuthatch … the white breasted
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G for Goldfinches

Categories: Birds.

The American or Eastern goldfinch, Carduelis tristis, belongs to the finch family. These cheeky little birds frequent the garden in all seasons.  They flock to the feeders, especially before a storm, and will also flit from flower to flower in the garden looking for seeds.  Here they are in their winter plumage.   The markings on their wing and tail feathers is lovely and seems a lot darker when the birds are in their summer plumage.  You can pick out the finches as they fly through the garden as they move in an undulating or up and down flight path. They
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In the Flicker of an Eye

Categories: Birds.

The Northern flickers are ground feeding woodpeckers that usually come in April through October as they pass through.  They mainly eat ants and beetles but will eat fruit and seeds. I am always thrilled to see this bird especially just a few days after my cataract surgery in 2015 and recognized it right away, without even having my glasses on.  Just a week before the surgery I would of had to been wearing my glasses and then zoom in with the camera to make the positive identification. The flicker has a long curved beak to peck into the ground.  As
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