The albino chickadee of the North Woods

Andrew Krueger called my attention to the October 2010 edition of the online Sawbill Newsletter. You can look at it here: http://www.sawbill.com/www/news/archives/2010/10/index.cfm#003065
The folks at Sawbill Canoe Outfitters on the Sawbill Trail near Tofte report they’ve had an albino chickadee feeding at their feeders lately, and they’ve got several nice pictures to document it.

Your bird pictures and story affectionally received at: jlundy@duluthnews.com

Birds of Lake George

Matt and Deb Marsh live in the Paul Bunyan State Forest near Lake George, Minn. These pictures were taken from the back deck of their home. The birds are common, but the pictures are works of art:



They are, from the top, a white-breasted nuthatch, a chickadee and a goldfinch in its fall and winter colors.
Thanks for the beautiful pictures!
Your bird pictures and stories exuberantly welcomed at: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

Birds on TV

A couple of upcoming programs on PBS might be of special interest to bird-watchers.
Both are part of the “Nature” series. Publicist Donald Lee offers this synopsis of the two programs:
* ” ‘Murder of Crows’ explores the cleverness of crows and finds out how scientists are changing the public perception of crows from spooky to smart. … Experts believe crows learn from each other’s experiences and are able (to) pass that knowledge to succeeding generations.”
* ” ‘Braving Iraq’ follows one man’s mission to restore the Mesopotamian Marshes, thought by biblical scholars as the original Garden of Eden. The marshes were systematically destroyed by Saddam Hussein as an attempt to eradicate the indigenous Marsh Arabs who rebelled against him. They were once a thriving habitat that served as a breeding ground and sanctuary for millions of native and migrating birds, including the marbled teal and the Basra reed warbler.”
Locally, “A Murder of Crows” will be seen at 7 p.m. this Sunday (Oct. 24) and again at midnight Monday on WDSE and WRPT (Channels 8.1 and 31.1). It also will be seen at 10 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. on Tuesday on what PBS refers to as 2ndChance (8.2 and 31.2) in the brave new digital world.
All of the times and stations are the same, only two weeks later (Sunday, Nov. 7, Monday, Nov. 8, and Tuesday, Nov. 9) for “Braving Iraq.”
When did TV get so complicated?

P.S. … If you see Rink & Run blogger Kevin Pates today, wish him a happy 60th birthday.

Your bird pictures and stories welcomed with tears in my eyes at: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

Mystery bird(er)

Jan Dunlap, author of the Birder Murder mystery series, will be at Wild Birds Unlimited in Duluth from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. this Thursday (Oct. 21) to sign books and visit with birders and readers.

Dunlap, who is from Chaska, Minn., writes books featuring “a Minnesota birder with the knack of finding bodies along with the birds,” in her words.

That could sure ruin a trip to Sax-Zim bog.

The third and latest in Dunlap’s series is called “A Bobwhite Killing.” More information is available at her website:www.jandunlap.com.

Bob Heller at Wild Birds Unlimited is host for the event. The store is 1709 Mall Drive, across from Miller Hill Mall.

Your bird stories, mysteries and pictures euphorically accepted at: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

Red … bellied?

Who names these birds, anyway?

As Bernie St. George’s picture clearly shows, the red-bellied woodpecker does not have a red belly:

It ought to be called a red-headed woodpecker, except that there already is such a thing as a red-headed woodpecker. One thing that red-headed woodpeckers and red-bellied woodpeckers have in common is that they aren’t often seen this far north. But this picture was taken next to a lake 13 miles east of Solon Springs, Wis. Bernie says the woodpecker was snacking on “Scotts Songbird” mix.

Your bird pictures and stories welcomed vehemently at: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

Out of reach

Marlene Hiltner submitted this picture, taken of one of her cats by her friend Bill Merrill:

“It makes me laugh every time I see it,” Marlene wrote.

I laughed, too, although I think the chickadee may have had a different perspective.

Your bird photos and stories gleefully welcomed at: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

Another mystery

Tony Mitchell took these pictures of this charming little bird a couple of days ago:

“I think this bird is part of the thrush family, but haven’t found a positive ID,” Tony writes. Thanks to Tony’s hint, I’ve narrowed it down to what I think are a couple of strong possibilities, but I’m torn between them.

What do you think?

Your bird pictures, mysterious or otherwise, and stories received with delight: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

Unidentified flying objects

Tony Mitchell shared a couple of recent pictures for the annals of mystery birds.

The first one was from a trip up the North Shore from Lester River to Stoney Point. In addition to gray jays, a bald eagle, white-crowned sparrows, yellow-rumped warblers and other familiar birds, Tony spotted this bird that he couldn’t ID. Ideas, anyone?

The second came much closer to home, when a warbler flew into the window on Sunday morning. Tony has it narrowed down to a northern parula or a magnolia warbler. What do you think?

Whatever it is, it sports a very yellow yellow, especially for this time of the year.

Your bird photos — mysterious or otherwise — and stories joyously welcomed at: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

Birding at Sam’s Club

Tony Mitchell took another amazing collection of pictures at the slough (pond?) outside of Sam’s Club in Hermantown.

Tony said he wasn’t sure about the bird in this first batch, although he has settled on juvenile great blue heron. For a while, he thought it might be a juvenile sandhill crane. Spectacular pictures, either way:

He also offers this wonderful image of ducks that he says are probably blue-winged teals:

Thanks, Tony. You’ve proven once again that interesting birds can be seen almost anywhere.