Saturday, May 24, 2014

Juvenile Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco

This juvenile Dark-eyed Junco and its siblings hatched in a nest somewhere in my yard. Now just a few weeks old, and having been fed by their parents until a few days ago, they are learning to find the thistle seeds that the Goldfinches drop. (Click on photo for enlarged view.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Red-breasted Nuthatch feeding activity

To watch a short video of the Red-breasted Nuthatches now feeding their young at the opening of the nest cavity, go here:

Notice that the nestling rejects one item of food, and then produces a fecal sac for the parent to dispose of.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Osprey with fish pursued by crows

Yesterday I happened to be standing on the shore of the Columbia River in the town of Hood River, Oregon, when an Osprey glided by into a strong west wind about 100 ft. above the surface of the water. Suddenly it plunged straight down into the water and came up with a fish. Almost instantly there were several crows swooping and diving at the Osprey, apparently trying to cause it to drop the fish, but to no avail. The Osprey had a firm grip with both feet, and soon the crows gave up the chase.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Red-breasted Nuthatch use of pitch

I had read about the Red-breasted Nuthatch's practice of placing sticky substances around the opening of the nest cavity, but had not had opportunity to observe it until this one chose to nest in my yard. I touched the stuff to see how sticky it is, and also to smell it. It feels and smells exactly like the pitch from a Douglas Fir tree, with which I am very familiar.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Violet-green suddenly serious about nesting

Sunny weather returned yesterday, and apparently that triggered the nest-building urge of the female Violet-green Swallow. She is busy today, and many items of grass, feathers, leaves, etc., have suddenly appeared in the nestbox.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Red-breasted Nuthatch nest

A pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches are busy feeding nestlings in this cavity in a hawthorne tree in my yard. Some of the food items being brought to the nest appear to be small spiders. A short video recording of some of the activity is here:
Red-breasted Nuthatch nest activity

Monday, May 05, 2014

Killdeer baby

At least three of the Killdeer eggs I photographed on April 16 hatched successfully. The youngsters are now running around on the ball field, and "hiding" like this one is doing when someone shows up with a camera.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Spring birds

Spring migration is interesting because of both who is arriving and who is leaving. I still have a small group of Golden-crowned Sparrows in my yard here in Oregon, and they are supposed to be on their breeding territories somewhere in British Columbia and Alaska in just a few weeks. How do they know their patch of boreal forest is still snow-covered? But also today a House Wren was checking out a nestbox here. I wonder if he wintered in California, or possibly in Costa Rica, and what adventures he had getting here.