Sunday, February 22, 2009

Exciting Rarity at My Feeders-Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker!!

I was so excited to see a yellow-bellied sapsucker (YBSA) at my feeders today!!!! I was washing dishes at the kitchen sink watching the birds out the window and spouted an expletive upon seeing the YBSA. Holy &*%^!!! And here's a first, my camera was locked and loaded on the kitchen table from some shooting I'd done yesterday. Hurray!! My hubby, who thinks (knows) I'm crazy anyway just shook his head as I ever so gingerly opened the sliding glass door onto the deck and snapped a few photos. I e-mailed my birding instructor, Jerry McWilliams, with the news and photos and he told me that yellow-bellied sapsuckers are very rare here in winter and in 45 years of birding he's only seen a couple during winter!! I also had both Carolina Wrens, which he said was good because they often don't survive harsh winters like this one. Oh, yeah, and the Oregon Junco is still hanging around! My feeders were very busy today with 15 different species counted. I took many photos but am reserving this post for the yellow-bellied sapsucker:)

Isn't he a handsome gent!?!?

Friday, February 20, 2009

What's Missing Here?

Recently I was telling Toni (A Spattering) about a Mourning Dove (MODO) I had at me feeder that was missing something. I knew right away there was something different about her (the bird, not Toni:)) but it took a few minutes for me to realize what the problem was.

Can you tell what's missing?

Does this help?

Compare their back ends...Yes! I knew you'd get it. Her tail feathers are missing!

It didn't seem to bother her at all. In fact, I think I was more distraught than her. I'm not sure what the other MODOs were thinking but one got a little violent with her.

She just took it all in stride and kept on eating.

A few posts on PABirds stated that missing tail feathers in MODOs can be caused by their tail feathers freezing to the surface on which the bird is perched. The bird takes off and leaves her feathers behind. OUCH!! It can also be caused by predators such as a hungry, but just a little too slow, cat. I'm not sure how poor little "No-Tail" lost her feathers, but I hope they've grown back by now and she is again strutting her stuff.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Raptor Rapture

We took a ride up to the Pymatuning/Linesville area last week just for a quick getaway. The lake was almost completely frozen over so we didn't see many waterfowl or gulls but we did get to see a few raptors along the roadside. One new one I can add to my list (I do have to start keeping one!) is this red-shouldered hawk. The in-flight shot is an adult, while the one perched on the wire is an immature. If you look closely (photo 3) you can see the anomaly in the lower mandible (beak) of the immature. It is twisted and juts out and past the upper mandible. I've been told that this may be due to an old injury and that it may keep growing, like a fingernail, since there is nothing there to impede its growth. As for now s/he looks pretty healthy and well-fed.

This past summer we pontooned on Pymatuning Lake and I had seen and photographed a barred owl that had a nesting box in the woods near the picnic area where we had docked for lunch. As luck would have it we drove around and were able to find the picnic area and not one but a pair of barred owls:) As before, they were fairly cooperative and allowed me to get a few shots.
Barred Owl August 2008

Barred Owl February 2009

I'm sure we'll go back up to Pymatuning to pontoon and kayak again this summer. Maybe there will be some baby barred owls then:)