Bird droppings

Bits and pieces from here and there:

  • Karl Riggle of Zanesville, Ohio, shared this recent picture he took of a hawk in his area:

Can anyone tell me what kind of hawk it is? A young red-tailed, maybe?

  • The News Tribune’s Andrew Krueger found this interesting street sign along the Echo Trail near Ely:

Looks like somebody up there likes woodpeckers.

  •  Brad Snelling of Duluth shared this picture of a black bear checking out their feeders on East College Street on Friday morning:

Brad wonders if the bear is another wannabe birder.

  • I’m told the Duluth News Tribune’s Sunday Scrapbook section is dedicating an upcoming issue to birders and wannabe birders. You can send your bird stories and memorable snapshots to or by real mail to Scrapbook, DNT, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. Include your city of residence and phone number. The deadline is Wednesday, July 28. And of course, you can send your bird stories and snapshots to me anytime at:

The Young and the Restless

Our faithful contributors are continuing to do a wonderful job of photographing birds in the process of growing up and just being birds.

These are from Lyle Anderson of the Park Point neighborhood in Duluth:

I laugh every time I look at this picture of young tree swallows at home. Lyle says they stayed through the Fourth of July, perhaps for a good view of the fireworks, he speculates. The next two are also of tree swallows:

Lyle calls this picture "Feed me" …

… which I guess means we could call this one: "Ok, already."

A little house wren with a big feather.The two wrens have been busy bringing a lot of food to their young, Lyle says. On June 28, the food included mayflies.

Lyle caught this image of a catbird. I had catbirds at my feeders a couple of summers ago, but they haven’t been back.

A colony of Canada geese with a view of the harbor.

Lyle’s caption: "A friend of ours called to ask if my wife and I wanted to see a young bald eagle that had recently left the nest near by. She said it would sometimes sit on their canoe for an hour and at times would also perch on the car."

And speaking of eagles, here’s a somewhat famous eagle’s nest:

Lyle took this picture of the eagle’s nest near the future Duluth East High School. The presence of this nest caused changes in the plan to renovate and expand the former Ordean Middle School to convert it into a high school.

Your bird pictures and stories joyously welcomed at:


Cardinal kids

First, I apologize for how long it took me to get this on the blog. Technical difficulties. Specifically: Wannabe birder error.

Patti Stenhammer, who lives in Gary-New Duluth near the St. Louis River, says they’ve had a pair of nesting cardinals in their vicinity for each of the past seven years! Here’s a picture of this year’s young ones, at the feeders:

I think it was worth the wait!

You can write to me (or send pictures to me) at: Thanks!

Bringing up the kids, Volume II

Dianne Buelow, who lives near Ashland, checked back on some young kingbirds up the road and managed to get a picture the day before they left the nest. She found some other young kings sitting on the power lines:

Your bird stories and pictures eagerly welcomed at:


A lifer

I hiked one of my favorite trails today, the Twin Lakes Trail near Silver Bay, and although the views of those idyllic little lakes are reward enough I also was rewarded with a glimpse of my first evening grosbeaks. It was such a brief glimpse that I ordinarily wouldn’t count it, but what else could they have been? They were the right size, and the yellow was in the right place and the white was in the right place — as they flew out of sight and stubbornly stayed out of view.

So I didn’t get a picture. Instead, here’s a picture of the approximate location where I saw them:

Imagine a pair of male evening grosbeaks flying through the lower center of the picture, and you’ll be seeing what I saw. Although, as I mentioned, the location is approximate.

I also got to watch a pair of loons on Bean Lake — always a treat.

And I finished the hike in the way I always seem to finish hikes on the North Shore — with a five-layer chocolate pie at the Rustic Inn in Castle Danger. Also a treat. One of these times, I’ll try a different pie.

Hello, Phoebe

Although the colors are odd, the consensus on yesterday’s mystery bird is that it’s an Eastern phoebe.

Those who weighed in via e-mail included famous ornithologist Laura Erickson, author most recently of "101 Ways to Help Birds."

She wrote:

"It’s an Eastern phoebe. But the weird belly color? It’s either wet or dirty or has some serious pigment issues. The black may be bare skin. … Females have a brood patch, and this one may have for some reason lost additional feathers.

"Lots of possibilities about why the belly looks weird, but the fact remains that it’s an Eastern phoebe."

That’s enough for me. Meanwhile, I’ve yet to see my first Eastern phoebe. I’m almost sure I heard one the other day on a hike of the Brewer’s Ridge section of the Superior Hiking Trail in West Duluth. But I couldn’t get it to show itself.

Have a safe and exuberant Independence Day, everyone.

You can write to me at: Pictures always welcome!

Bringing up the kids

Dianne Buelow shared some wonderful pictures taken outside her home in the Ashland area. "Bringing up the kids" could be seen as a common theme. I’d never get tired of watching the activity shown in these photos:

This flicker left the nest early and in this picture is just outside the door. It seems to be getting along OK …

… with a little bit of help …

… and by hiding in a tree.

Stunned humming bird after an encounter with a window.

A hummingbird at the feeder, with just a bit of web attached.

A pair of young bluebirds pretending they’re part of a lawn decoration.

This looks alarming, but Dianne tells me this is how a bluebird suns itself. I suppose some of us look alarming when we’re sunning ourselves, too.

Dianne tells me that she built 10 bluebird houses and put them all around the property. So what did the bluebirds choose? A decorative duplex not designed for bluebirds at all.

Thanks, Dianne, for a wonderful set of pictures.

Your pictures and stories ecstatically welcomed at: