Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Downy Woodpecker male

Downy Woodpeckers don't come to my suet feeder very often, probably because there is not much suitable habitat for them nearby. However, this male was dining here today. Maybe that's because the recent windy mix of snow and rain is causing insects, like most other living creatures, to stay under cover most of the time.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Yellow-rumped Warbler

This Yellow-rumped Warbler has been staying close to the suet feeder during this wet, chilly week, adding some welcome variety to the regular clientele of Juncos and Finches in my yard. The lack of a white line over the eye (the supercilium) and the pale gray ear coverts and nape indicate that it must be the "Audubon's" form. From another angle the throat also showed a faint, but definite yellowish tint.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

White-tailed Kite nest location

A recent conversation among Oregon birders has focused on White-tailed Kites and the type of habitat they use in Western Oregon. A pair of Kites nested for several years in a patch of tall evergreen trees (mostly Sitka Spruce) about 1/4 mile from the Little Nestucca River in Tillamook Co. In 2001 the nest was about 80 or 100 ft. high in one of the tallest trees in the grove, shown here by the yellow circle. (Click on photo for enlarged view.)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Townsend's Warbler, front view

A Townsend's Warbler spent some time brightening my back yard today, but I have not been able to determine if it's a female or an immature male. Does the black area on the throat indicate that the mature male's black throat is coming in? Maybe the bird will be here again tomorrow to give me another look.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Barred Owl in Salem, Oregon

Barred Owls were first found in Oregon in 1974, but since then have expanded into most forested areas of the state. In fact, they are now being found in wooded parks in many towns and cities. This photo was taken in northeast Salem by the grandson of a friend of mine. The location is somewhere near the Oregon State Fairgrounds. A recording of the Barred Owl's call can be heard at:

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Swan i.d.

From a distance it can be difficult to distinguish Trumpeter Swans from Tundra Swans, unless they "trumpet." Today while I was watching a flock of swans feeding on stray corn kernels in a muddy field near McMinnville, I had a chance to compare the two head-to-head. The Trumpeter (on the right) shows the characteristic massive black bill with no yellow spot in front of the eye. The Tundra (on the left) obviously has a smaller bill, and the yellow spot can be clearly seen. Not only are Trumpeters no longer considered an endangered species, they are actually said to be "doing well" in the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, February 05, 2007

"The Passing Wisdom of Birds"

"It is the birds' independence from predictable patterns of human design that draws us to them. In the birds' separate but related universe we are able to sense hope for ourselves. Against a background of the familiar, we recognize with astonishment a new pattern."
From *Crossing Open Ground* by Barry Lopez