Thursday, February 05, 2009

Red-Bellied Woodpecker Enjoying the Maple Sap

I believe that the sap is beginning to run on the maple trees. A good indicator is that the red-bellied woodpecker was observed pecking the maple tree bark. With a little luck in the next view weeks, we'll observe the yellow-bellied sapsucker, which has only been observed during February in the Colvin Run Habitat.
This second photo shows the red-bellied woodpecker beginning his flight from a position of clutching the bark.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tufted Titmice

Along with the Carolina chickadees, the tufted titmice come to the feeders in the Colvin Run Habitat every day. They help to consume the one and a half gallons of sunflower seeds consumed by all of the birds each and every day.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Red-Shouldered Hawk in Flight

Some more red-shouldered hawks for the Owlman. In three of the last four days, a red-shouldered hawk has been observed in the Colvin Run Habitat. Today, this hawk was perched in a tree and observed at sundown. With his dark brown back facing me, the tree being about 50 yards away, and his static position at sundown, he was very difficult to see.
Our house, located on a hill, overlooks a meadow that is about 40 feet below. As I approached the hawk, he took off for the meadow. The result was a rare opportunity to photograph the hawk from above while he was in flight. In this photo, you can see the white barring and striping on the top of the tail and wings. Even in the dim light of dusk, this is a large and beautiful predator.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Day of the Hawks: Cooper's Hawk

In addition to the pair of red-shouldered hawks today, this Cooper's Hawk also was observed. I got a photo of the Cooper in one of the azalea bushes, but also observed him on the ground under the bird feeder as he attempted to grab one of the smaller birds to eat.
As the Cooper's and red-shouldered hawks are about the same size and have some similar color traits (feddish chest, reddish under the wings), here is how I tell the two apart:
>Cooper's back is dark gray while the red-shoulder's back is dark brown with some white specks.
>Both have barred tails - Cooper's is black bar, red-shoulder's is white
>The red-shoulder's neck is much thicker than the Cooper's. When observing them with a bright or blue-sky background this can be very helpful.