Dark-eyed Junco [Junco hyemalis]
2nd May 2013
2nd May 2013
8th Oct 2013
another Junco [& friend] at the fountain, cooling off on a hot day. 12th June 2014
Barred Owl [Strix varia]
21 May 2014
Red-breasted Sapsucker [Sphyrapicus ruber]
13th May 2014
10th June 2014
Western Tanager [Piranga ludoviciana]
photographed July 2014, and has hung around for a week
Red-breasted Nuthatch [Sitta canadensis]
23rd March, 2014 at feeder
California Quail [Callipepla gambelii]
on the Contorta branch, Rufous Hummingbird [Selasphorus rufus]
Anna’s [Calypte anna]
27th September 2013
Spotted Towee [Pipilo maculatus]
Great Horned Owl [Bubo virginianus]
Hearing a great ruckus being made by a raven, I found this owl in the Douglas fir woods, apparently one of three by the sounds of their wheezy hissing. We believe the nest is along the power-line clearing, which runs toward the base of Mt. Work. I thought this was a chick, but further research [on-line] indicates, it is likely one of the parents of what we believe are three chicks.
“Both members of a pair may stay within the territory outside of the breeding season, but they roost separately… According to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, between 1966 and 2010 their populations were stable in the U.S. but declined in Canada, resulting in an overall population decline just under 1 percent per year (resulting in a cumulative loss of 30 percent). Partners in Flight estimates the global breeding population at 6 million with about 45 percent of the population in the U.S., 14 percent in Canada, and 7 percent in Mexico.”
5 Aug 2014
Band-tailed Pigeon [Columba fasciata]
A backwoods relative of the ubiquitous Rock Pigeon, the Band-tailed Pigeon is common in forests of the Pacific Coast and the Southwest. A sociable bird with a mellow coo, it forms large flocks in mountain forests where it feeds on seeds and fruits. As flocks pass overhead, these large, swift-flying pigeons can resemble Rock Pigeons, so look for the long tail with a wide, pale band at the tip. Up close, a distinctive white neck crescent adorns its pastel gray plumage.
Like other doves and pigeons, Band-tailed Pigeons can suck up and swallow water without raising their heads.
The Band-tailed Pigeon is occasionally called the “blue rock,” because of the blue-gray hue of its back and its resemblance to the closely related Rock Pigeon. The two species are similar in size, posture, movements, and behavior. While the Rock Pigeon is a widespread introduced species, the Band-tailed Pigeon is native to western North America.
Band-tailed Pigeons are common within their range, but according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, North American populations declined 2.7 percent per year between 1966 and 2010 (amounting to a cumulative decline of 70 percent). Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 2 million, with 39 percent spending part of the year in the U.S., 8 percent in Canada, and 37 percent in Mexico.
Northern Pygmy-Owl [Glaucidium gnoma]
17 Nov. 2014
“Usually perched inconspicuously within tree canopy, they can often be located by watching for scolding songbirds.” [The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley]
Monogamous pairs form in the spring. Northern Pygmy-Owls nest in natural tree cavities or old woodpecker holes. Small songbirds often mob them, and imitating the call of a Northern Pygmy-Owl will often bring songbirds close in for observation.
[note the hummingbird in two of the photos, it was dive-bombing the owl continuously].
Like all members of this genus, it has false eye-spots, black outlined in white, on the back of the neck. The photo to the right shows these false eye-spots.
The photo below shows the owl looking forward a moment later.
” … very aggressive, diurnal bird-hunters… found in oak-conifer woods, have been known to take prey as large as a Mourning Dove.” The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley.
[in this photo, note the size of the talons.]
Steller’s Jay [Cyanocitta stelleri]
Steller’s and Blue jays are the only North American jays with crests. The Blue Jay is expanding its range westward. Where they meet, the two species occasionally interbreed and produce hybrids.
Sooty Grouse [Dendragapus fuliginosus]
This bird landed on our roof, 10th May 2015.
One of North America’s largest grouse, the Sooty Grouse used to be considered the darker, coastal subspecies of the Blue Grouse. Recent DNA evidence supports the spilt of the Blue Grouse into two separate species, the Dusky Grouse and the Sooty Grouse. The male’s deep booming call is hard to locate.
This time, we found the same or another grouse strolling up our hill, 25th May, just after 8:00 pm.
The Sooty Grouse is the third largest grouse in North America, and one of the largest in the world. The two sage-grouse are the only larger American species.
The number of tail feathers a bird has is usually constant within a species (and usually numbering around 10). The Sooty Grouse, however, can have from 15 to 22.
Almost always nests on ground with variable amounts of cover; from open, recently burned areas to dense coniferous or mixed coniferous forests.
Spends most of its time on the ground foraging, but will also forage for buds in deciduous trees and needles in coniferous trees.
Bald eagle [Haliaeetus leucocephalus]
23rd June 2015, taken from water side while kayaking on Prospect Lake, off Estelline Road.
The Bald Eagle dwarfs most other raptors, including the Turkey Vulture and Red-tailed Hawk. It has a heavy body, large head, and long, hooked bill. In flight, a Bald Eagle holds its broad wings flat like a board.
Adult Bald Eagles have white heads and tails with dark brown bodies and wings. Their legs and bills are bright yellow. Immature birds have mostly dark heads and tails; their brown wings and bodies are mottled with white in varying amounts. Young birds attain adult plumage in about five years.
Rather than do their own fishing, Bald Eagles often go after other creatures’ catches. A Bald Eagle will harass a hunting Osprey until the smaller raptor drops its prey in midair, where the eagle swoops it up. A Bald Eagle may even snatch a fish directly out of an Osprey’s talons. Fishing mammals (even people sometimes) can also lose prey to Bald Eagle piracy.
Bald Eagles can live a long time, with a longevity record of 28 years in the wild and 36 years in captivity.
Black-headed Grosbeak [Pheucticus melanocephalus]
20th July 2015
Male: “the flashy black, white, and cinnamon males sing from perches in suburbs, desert thickets, and mountain forests. At feeders they effortlessly shuck sunflower seeds with their heavy bills. The showy male puts in equal time on the domestic front: both sexes sit on the eggs, feed the young, and feistily defend their nesting territory.
Females and immature males are brown above with warm orange or buff on the breast, and some have streaks on the sides of the breast. All have grayish bills. In flight, they flash bright yellow under the wings. The male Black-headed Grosbeak does not get its adult breeding plumage until it is two years old. First-year males can vary from looking like a female to looking nearly like an adult male.
Medium to long-distance migrant (resident in parts of Mexico). Individuals from across western North America spend winters spread across central Mexico. Males tend to head south before females and young, and they return earlier in spring.
Attract Black-headed Grosbeaks by setting out sunflower seed feeders, and don’t be surprised to find them at nectar feeders set out for orioles. They’ll even nest in backyards and gardens where enough cover is available and water is nearby.”
Turkey Vulture [Cathartes aura]
25th April 2016. Photos taken on Kerryview Drive at 5:45 a.m.
Very large, long-winged raptor; mostly dark with paler brown on wings. Bright red, unfeathered head; sharply hooked white bill.
Adult in flight
Long, broad wings, two-toned white and black underneath. In flight, wings often bent and held up at “v”-shaped angle. [here, the early morning sun caught the quill shafts just at the right moment]
Number of Broods
Egg Description: Creamy white tinged with gray, blue, or green, and spotted with purple to brown.
Condition at Hatching: Downy, often blind, and defenseless beyond a quiet hiss.
Nest Description: Turkey Vultures don’t build full nests. They may scrape out a spot in the soil or leaf litter, pull aside obstacles, or arrange scraps of vegetation or rotting wood. Once found, many of these nest sites may be used repeatedly for a decade or more.
Nest Placement: Turkey Vultures nest in rock crevices, caves, ledges, thickets, mammal burrows and hollow logs, fallen trees, abandoned hawk or heron nests, and abandoned buildings. These nest sites are typically much cooler (by 13°F or more) than surroundings, and isolated from human traffic or disturbance. While they often feed near humans, Turkey Vultures prefer to nest far away from civilization.
Calls: Turkey Vultures lack the vocal organs to make proper songs. Most of their vocalizations come down to a form of low, guttural hiss made when they are irritated or vying for a better spot on a carcass. They also may give a low, nasal whine while in flight.