Bird droppings

Selected short subjects …

Karl Riggle of Zanesville, Ohio, has been having ruby-throated hummingbirds over for an early breakfast, and he shared a few of his pictures. Here are a couple of males:

And a female:

A female ruby-throated hummingbird doesn’t have a ruby throat, just as a female rose-breasted grosbeak doesn’t have a rose breast. (And for that matter, female cardinals aren’t very cardinal.) The males are almost always the showier birds.

Jana from Proctor raised this question:
“I’m thinking about getting a fountain/birdbath. I’m wondering if it will in fact attract more birds. Do you have any personal info on them or know anyone who has one?”
My answer was no and no. But I’m guessing someone out there has some experience with this kind of birdbath. Thoughts, anyone?

Your bird stories, pictures and questions courageously addressed at:

On Golden Wings

I came across this lovely photo essay on the Minnesota Public Radio website, and I thought it was worth sharing. You can see it here.
The photos are by MPR’s Ann Arbor Miller and show researchers tagging golden-winged warblers on June 9 at the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge near White Earth, Minn. According to MPR, half of the golden-winged warblers in the world spend summers in northern Minnesota. They spend winters in southern Central America and northern South America, which doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Your bird stories and pictures welcome here:

Eagles on Eagle Lake? Oh, yes

When Sandi Paulson sent me the picture shown in the previous post, of the pelicans on Pelican Lake, and mentioned that she grew up along Eagle Lake, I wondered if there were eagles on Eagle Lake.
Oh, yes.
Sandi’s husband, Trevor Lee, who took the pelican picture, sent me these pictures he took last year during the Fourth of July weekend on Eagle Lake:

Trevor said he took these pictures around 7:30 in the morning. A bald eagle likes to perch on that spot, and Trevor had been trying to get a picture for several years. “[I] could not believe my luck when the bird stayed there long enough for me to get about five or six decent shots,” Trevor writes. “The second picture was after the eagle had had enough of my picture taking and decided to fly away. I was amazed at the whiteness of the tail feathers and how far up the backside they went.”
Me, too. I’ve seen lots of eagle pictures, but I’ve never seen one quite like that.
Every time I hike the Twin Lakes Trail past Bear and Bean lakes, I wonder if there are bears on Bear Lake. I suspect that there are.

Your bird photos and stories eaglery awaited at:

Pelicans on Pelican Lake

Writing from Concordia College in beautiful Moorhead, Minn., Sandi Paulson reports that she and her husband saw quite a few pelicans on Pelican Lake during this past weekend.
She shared this gorgeous photo taken by her husband:

Sandi says she grew up along Eagle Lake, which is near Pelican Lake, and there didn’t use to be many pelicans on Pelican Lake. But the numbers have grown noticeably during the past couple of years.
She didn’t mention whether she saw eagles when she lived on Eagle Lake.
Bruce Stahly sent me a note saying he was surprised by my comment that I go entire years without seeing a chestnut-sided warbler. Where he lives, in Cook County on the first ridge in from Lake Superior, chestnut-sided warblers are the most common of the warblers, followed closely by black-throated green warblers. So the fact that I saw a bunch of chestnut-sided warblers when I was hiking in Cook County was obviously no fluke.

Your bird stories, pictures and comments gleefully welcomed at:

Birding the North Shore

Tony Mitchell says he skipped Park Point on Saturday because he figured it would be crowded with rummage-sale shoppers. So he headed up the North Shore instead.
That’s another one of the great things about bird-watching: You can always go somewhere else.
Here’s what Tony found …
At the Lester River,
a few common loons, including this beauty at the mouth of the river:

Some double-crested cormorants, and this common merganser family:

He also saw a belted kingfisher.
At Agate Bay in Two Harbors, by the Edna G, he saw a barn swallow, eastern kingbird and a clay-colored sparrow. And finally, a northern mockingbird. In spite of the name, mockingbirds are common in the South (I understand it’s a sin to kill one), but exceedingly uncommon in the North. Here’s Tony’s mockingbird:

My most recent birding excursion — really, the bird-watching was incidental — was a hike last Monday to Carlton Peak in Cook County. The surprise to me was that chestnut-sided warblers were everywhere. I go entire years without seeing a single chestnut-sided warbler; on this hike there were a pair calling to each other at every turn. But I didn’t see much else except for an American redstart.

Your bird stories and pictures gratefully received at:

Waxwings, grosbeaks and a sapsucker

In these parts, people tend to see Bohemian waxwings in the winter and cedar waxwings in the summer. Cedars are smaller and not as showy as their Bohemian cousins, but still exquisite.
Jennifer Worden, who lives near South Range, Wis., had a flock of 100 or more cedar waxwings in her crabapple tree a few days ago. They fed on the flowers/buds, then vanished — but not before Jennifer got these pictures:

The Wannabe’s crabapple tree is at full blossom, but so far I haven’t detected any cedar waxwings checking it out.
From his cabin, also in Wisconsin, Bernard St. George snapped photos of two rose-breasted grosbeaks: a grownup and a youth. Here they are:

Fantastic birds.
In the meantime, the yellow-bellied sapsucker continues to visit Todd Fedora’s house in Duluth for a bedtime snack of suet every night. Todd shared this photo:

I’ve only seen yellow-bellied sapsuckers once (Park Point, late summer), and I didn’t get nearly this good of a look.

Your bird photos and stories welcome at:

It’s rustic, but it’s home

What does a turkey vulture consider a good place to lay its eggs?
Judging from what Michael McIlvain found during a Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area trip last weekend, a place that doesn’t require much in the way of nest construction.
Michael and his party were fishing on Basswood Lake when they decided to take a break and stretch their legs by a large rock face. “As I was climbing down I had a turkey vulture pop out and take off about 6 feet in front of me,” Michael writes. “Surprised the heck out of me. The nest is in a cavity between the boulders. It starts by going down about 2 feet, and then back almost 4 feet in total. Pretty dry back there, but somehow I expected more of a ‘nest.'”
The eggs were about twice the size of a chicken eggs, Michael said. He and his party quickly left once Michael took these pictures, so the mother turkey vulture could get back to the business of tending her eggs.
Here are the pictures:

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