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Any Bird Watchers In Here?

(62 posts)
  • Started 3 months ago by redglow
  • Latest reply from cossackjack
  1. redglow

    redglow

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    I've got a backyard full of Orioles, Hummingbirds, Woodpeckers and Goldfinch tonight.

    I sure do like coming home from work, lighting up my pipe and watching these birds visit the feeders.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  2. aquadoc

    aquadoc

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    We are covered up with various thrushes, warblers, a young bobcat, too many turkeys to count, and a large pack of coyotes. Oh, and a skunk.

    "If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and sex, you don't actually live longer; it just seems that way."
    Posted 3 months ago #
  3. mothernaturewilleatusallforbreakfast

    mothernature

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    I enjoy bird watching. I miss the Brown Creeper on the pear tree. It's the usual Goldfinches, various Woodpeckers (mainly Hairy), Wrens, Cardinals, and Nuthatches here. I did spy some Warblers and Indigo Buntings a couple weeks back while in Cincinnati. The Indigo Buntings at Otto Armleder are insane.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  4. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    Mostly robins, cardinals, blue jays, & mockingbirds here. When there aren't hawks. Oh, yeah, & buzzards.

    Bill

    Head Black Frigate keelhauler, boss powder monkey, & troublemaker 1st class.
    Posted 3 months ago #
  5. mso489

    mso489

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    I love to spot and identify birds. I'm chastened by having known a few real birders who did most of their identification by ear, and learned species on other continents by ear and by sight before foreign travel, and would laugh hysterically when inappropriate bird calls were used on movie sound tracks getting swamp birds in deserts, etc. We had Carolina wrens nest in a watering can on our car port and fledge a few chicks right under our noses. They're bold little birds, round little bodies, with pointy little bills. They'll almost roost on your nose; they know no fear. We have some nice brown thrashers, plagues of Canadian geese, and lately right in the middle of town groups of four or more buzzards feeding on a dead squirrel or deer. We always saw buzzards circling in the country, but they've moved into suburbs big time now. They look like overweight old gents in top coats. We must have at least 30 species visit regularly including hawks, Towee, chickadee, cardinals, house wrens, etc. We had an owl across the road for a while and I loved the night call, but it didn't stay.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  6. warren

    warren

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    Mostly predictors and water fowl. I photograph them regularly. Got a Falcated Duck last week. First and only one ever seen on the Continental mainland. Usually only seen in the far western Aleutian Islands. A very lonely male, a long ways from home.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 3 months ago #
  7. cossackjack

    cossackjack

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    Broadtail Hummingbirds this evening, over 1 dozen females frantically vying to feed before their bedtime, so I put out another feeder.
    We got 10" of snow overnight, & sub-freezing nighttime temperatures for the past two nights, which will continue for a few more nights.
    More snow expected tomorrow night into Thursday.
    I am hoping that most of the Hummingbirds will make it.

    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
    Specialization is for insects!" - Robert Heinlein
    Posted 3 months ago #
  8. aquadoc

    aquadoc

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    I have worked as a field ecologist since the 80s and many of my jobs were to census T&E birds to develop management and recovery plans. These days my work is aquatic in nature and I only bird for fun.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  9. irishearl

    irishearl

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    I took up the hobby when I retired 7 weeks ago. Am lucky to have 2 major wetlands very close by, Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira NWR, in Kansas.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  10. daniel7

    daniel7

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    I'm a nature conservation engineer so yup, I watch and identify a lot of birds.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  11. mso489

    mso489

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    To clarify my post, the expert birders I have known locate the birds by ear, but then of course they follow the sound and eventually usually locate the bird and set up their spotting scopes or use their binoculars. They certainly do observe them visually, but the bird calls are the key to finding them. They also know what to listen for based on the terrain. I like to browse bird guides and learn what I can, though I'm just your basic bird spotter without the developed instincts. One friend taught me to call in screech owls at night making a trill in the throat (frankly gurgling some saliva while whistling). He warned to quit the bird call once the screech owl moved closer so as not to encounter a male dive bombing to protect his territory with talons extended.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  12. newbroom

    newbroom

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    Oh yeah, I watch 'em. I'm not much at identification, 'specially the little guys.
    I've got a nice open field, a 'lake' and several trees in the 'back yard' which consists of the ground between the 14th and 15th fairways of the golf course there.
    I often get out right as dawn is just breaking, stand at the ridge at the bunker at 14, the high point out there, and check out the sky and watch birds get on their way.
    Before the sun is really up, I regularly see a pair of Great Blue Heron fly off to somewhere.
    Next will be a black bird or a crow, for some reason that flies over the pond and around to check out the neighborhood.
    A partial list of birds I will be likely to spot on any given day: Ibis, Egret, Great White and White heron, red-tail hawk, osprey, swallow tailed kite, vultures, morning doves, mocking birds blue birds, cardinals, boat tail grackles, all manner of woodpeckers, including Pileated, Canadian Geese (yep, there's a pair that hung around here), Sand Hill Cranes are always about, and there's a leggy blond walking by right now on the cart path.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  13. tuold

    tuold

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    I do enjoy sitting out in the backyard with binoculars, coffee, my pipe and a smartphone app called iBird Pro. If you are a casual bird watcher like me you will really appreciate that app.

    iBird Pro Page

    The pipe is an instrument of civilization.
    Posted 2 months ago #
  14. renal923

    renal923

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    I'm not much of a bird watcher, however a couple of weeks ago I did spot a Cardinal up in a tree by my ex's house (while picking up my daughter). Was a cool sight, as they are rarely seen up in Phoenix, and usually are found in the southern reaches of the state.

    Posted 2 months ago #
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    jeff540

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    Enjoy the various songbirds and feed them year round. We have the usual suspects(cardinals, jays, grackle, woodpeckers), and just today I spotted a lot of yellow finches.

    Speaking of other fauna, the black bear population consistently destroys our bird feeders and I have to fend them off our trash cans nightly during April and May (my back yard goes into the national forest and Appalachian Trial is at top of ridge behind my house).

    Posted 2 months ago #
  16. brassmonkey

    brassmonkey

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    I live on a peninsula that is known as the wildlife capital of New Zealand, i'm just a short distance from the only mainland breeding site of the Royal Albatross which has a 10ft wing span. There are also 2 penguin species that live nearby plus lots of native bush birds and many different waders and shore birds. Some of the birds include Tui, Pukeko, Bellbird, Herons, Oystercatchers and of course lots of Sea Gulls. Before NZ was populated by people there were no mammals on the land (except for a native Bat) just birds and insects, so there is quite a diverse range of birds here.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  17. didimauw

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    We get lots of finches, pilleated woodpeckers, Robins, black birds, Hawks, and now lots of Orioles too. So we HAD to buy some bird seed, and we got 6 feeders a couple weeks ago. Now we need to put out some oranges for the Orioles.

    "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
    Posted 2 months ago #
  18. redglow

    redglow

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    Glad to hear there are some others here that enjoy the birds.

    didimauw, I feed the Orioles too. Get some grape jelly for them if you can. Orioles love it and it lasts a lot longer than oranges. The sparrows/other birds wont come in and devour it in a matter of hours. At least that's my experience with feeding oranges to the Orioles.

    I'll have to try out that Ibird Pro app. Sounds helpful!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  19. didimauw

    didimauw

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    Grape jelly! I'll have to try that!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  20. mothernaturewilleatusallforbreakfast

    mothernature

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    Got a Falcated Duck last week.

    Holy Shit! That's a beautiful bird. Any chance of a photo Warren?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  21. warren

    warren

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    I used to be able to post a photo. Better do a bit of research.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  22. warren

    warren

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    Probably blew in from the Aleutians.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  23. mothernaturewilleatusallforbreakfast

    mothernature

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    That's great stuff. Thanks for posting the photo... best thing I've seen all day.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  24. warren

    warren

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    You are most welcome.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  25. didimauw

    didimauw

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    Yeah I've never heard of that duck. It really is beautiful. All I get by me is mallards, and wood ducks.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  26. aquadoc

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    How about some Green Heron chicks? I took this photo before banding. Low resolution photo.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  27. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Cardinals mostly occupy my yard and feeders, but I see the occasional odd bird at the feeders that makes me wonder if someone's parakeet has escaped. I'm not as good at identifying them as my wife is. We also have a large owl that likes to perch outside my studio, and quite a few redtail hawks.

    Michael
    Posted 2 months ago #
  28. redglow

    redglow

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    My neighbor had a parakeet frequenting his feeder a couple of years ago. I guess that's what makes bird feeding interesting. You never know what's going to show up.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  29. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    After the hurricanes, I have seen some parrot-like birds show up at the feeder also, but it has been years ago. They probably got blown here, and probably didn't survive the environmental conditions... or a python or boa constrictor got them. We seem to get the strangest things down here.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  30. shanez

    shanez

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    I don't get too many birds in my back yard except some scraggly looking pigeons that looks like they spent a little too much time near the test site.

    I do however have a field guide I can recommend:

    Posted 2 months ago #
  31. pappymac

    pappymac

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    Cardinals, Blue Jays, Robins, two different species of doves, Red-Headed Woodpeckers, Mockingbirds and numerous small birds and a lot of Finches which have escaped from home cages. We also get what looks to be two different species of blackbirds - some solid black and some with red/orange flashes on their wings.

    And then there is the occasional large hawk that lands on the grandkids play set and freaks out all the other birds and the squirrels.

    I forgot the hummingbirds.

    I am glad we have a good admin and responsible moderators.

    Heave to you dark colored ship under sail! Prepare to be boarded!
    Posted 2 months ago #
  32. dukdalf

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    In the garden mostly blackbirds, a few species of finches, doves and lots, lots of jackdaws. Their social life is quite interesting, if a bit noisy. Spotted a pair of Eurasian jays the other day from quite close up, and at night a barn owl is teaching her chick to hunt. The little one sits high up in a pear tree, yelling at her mother every few minutes. Once the pear starts setting its fruit the yearly invasion of ring-necked parakeet will start and I'll have to get out the airsoft gun. In the water, aside from very well-fed ducks, there are cormorants, crested grebe, moorhen and coot and the occasional pair of mute swan swimming along.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  33. mso489

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    Though I'm not a golfer, I think birding, like golf, is an impelling excuse to get outside and move around, which is most often a really good idea. It can definitely capture your attention and energy and become a sort of calling. I've never heard anyone say they spent too much time playing golf or birding. Cormorants are some of the less evolved birds. Though they are water birds, they haven't evolved necessary oil to waterproof their feathers, so they sit around in the sun and/or wind to dry off. They are some of the more convincing evidence that birds are evolved dinosaurs.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  34. dukdalf

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    As for birdwatching as a good excuse to get outdoors, I'm all with you. As for the cormorant, I fear you may be off the mark. Rather than being under-evolved, the cormorant (like the very similar darter) has a greater distance between the 'beards' of their feathers to let in more water and it has heavier bones than most birds. The lack of oil on their coat is also not without reason. Cormorants hunt deep and long, so too much buoyancy would hinder them. The price they pay for hunting completely soaked is having to dry out inbetween meals. As for hunting behaviour in cormorants, last year I watched six of them perform a sort of synchronized swimming act. They would dive and come up almost simultaneously, at a good speed and keeping perfect distance from one another. This went on for more than fivehundred yards. Weirdest thing I ever saw.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  35. warren

    warren

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    Yup, cormorants are well developed/evolved/adapted for their lifestyle. All birds are, fantastically so for many verities. Particularly those that live in wildly divergent environments as they migrate. There is a goose what traverses the Himalayas at 30,000 feet. It has developed the ability to store oxygen and retrieve it while at altitude. They were making the migration before there were the Himalayas and the migration route was relatively flat. As the plates shifted and range developed, the goose evolved systems which allowed for oxygen storage and certain feather and controls which allowed it to get to altitude with little effort.

    And the "dinosaur to bird" evolution is now under seriously under question.

    Posted 2 months ago #
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    headhunter

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    I like to watch Mallard, Widgeon, Green Wing Teal, Wood Duck until they get into range, then I shoot.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  37. irishearl

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    pappymac, you described what are called red winged blackbirds. My favorite blackbird is the yellow headed blackbird, which, as the name implies, has a yellow head. See these primarily around marshes.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  38. aquadoc

    aquadoc

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    Warren, what evidence refutes dinosaur to bird evolutionary track? In 17,there were a few that posited some conjecture but nothing close to the data supporting.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  39. warren

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    I'll have to go to my books. If I remember correctly it is the way the feathers form. Nothing remotely like it, even in flying reptiles. I don't think the original hypothesis has been refuted, just seriously questioned.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  40. aquadoc

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    Thanks. I will do some digging this weekend.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  41. aquadoc

    aquadoc

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    Warren, here is a summary:
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/the-birds-are-not-dinosaurs-movement/
    While some details of maniraptoran phylogenies may prove incorrect, the “birds are not theropods” movement is based on erroneous argumentation and fails to account for the data as well as the theropod hypothesis does.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  42. olkofri

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    Been watching a crows' nest lately. Dunno if that is enough to earn the qualification of watcher of birds (the feathered kind).

    Not the sweet, new grass with flowers is this harvesting of mine;
    Not the upland clover bloom...
    Posted 2 months ago #
  43. aquadoc

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    I think that qualifies, Olkofri. And watching crows/ravens/jays earns bonus points.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  44. warren

    warren

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    Doc: I just read the article. Lucky me, I'm not an ornithologist so, I do not have to pick sides in, what is to me, a rather arcane discussion. I just get to pack my gear, shoot and enjoy the wildlife. I read the different opinions, theories and such as entertainment. Two friends, both respected ornithologists, can get into heated discussions while I simply drink my beer and enjoy as a bystander. For them, it's all business, defending or poking holes each other's hypothesis. They seem to do this respectfully. I keep hoping for fisticuffs.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  45. aquadoc

    aquadoc

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    I give a seminar, usually once a year, on some aspect of evolution. I might tackle this issue for the next request. And biologist are apt to argue about the most arcane subjects within their areas of expertise. It can make for good theater. Or be boring as hell.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  46. fishnbanjo

    fishnbanjo

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    We have loads of birds being on the coast we see plenty of the regular forest and city varieties as well as sea birds. I am always looking for a chance to capture some with my cameras as well.
    banjo

    Posted 2 months ago #
  47. aquadoc

    aquadoc

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    Banjo, those are great photos!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  48. mso489

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    Terrific bird photos! One of my bosses of days gone by made a logical case that he'd spotted an Ivory Billed Woodpecker in Georgia, in its range, probably in the last years before its extinction. It was one of the largest woodpeckers and had specific markings shared by no others. It had a call like an alto party horn, one note. For years Petersons guide to birds listed it as possibly extinct, but I don't think guides carry it anymore. It hasn't had an authenticated sighting in decades. I keep hoping it will turn up, but it's wishful thinking.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  49. aquadoc

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    MSO, there is still a population of a subspecies in Cuba. We looked in the recesses of the Okefenokee (primarily around Minnie's Island which required miles of walking through the Swamp trying to avoid the many pitfalls, and in East Texas to no avail but we did record some odd calls in Texas that were not identifiable but very similar.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  50. seldom

    seldom

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    Much of my research has focused on birds. I was involved in the Cornell University Ivory-bill hunt in Arkansas and Louisiana. Ivory-bills are almost certainly extinct including the Cuban subspecies (or species depending on who you talk to). There are other extant Campephilus but nothing very similar.
    There was a complete albino Pileated in Arkansas suggesting that leucism may be in the population perhaps leading to a misidentification (white trailing edge on wings).

    Seldom Seen
    Posted 2 months ago #
  51. fishnbanjo

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    Thanks for the kind words aquadoc.
    banjo

    Posted 2 months ago #
  52. mso489

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    Serious expertise on the Ivory Bill Woodpecker here. Thank you. I'm also interested in the unlikely revival of the extinct Carolina Parakeet beautifully rendered in one of Audubon's plates, that has been proposed as a possible clone subject from existent DNA from museum specimens. Sounds like a remote possibility, and I'm not sure the 'keets could survive in the current ecosystem, since they live in flocks and might be easily decimated by current dominant species. Apparently they used to be everywhere in their region.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  53. aquadoc

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    Seldom, would love to talk shop. My Cuban friend, a marine microbiologist living in Mayaguez, PR says that they can still be found in Cuba.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  54. User has not uploaded an avatar

    aldecaker

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    Love watching birds. Don't mind studying a broad once in a while, either. Ba Dum...

    A man who serves his country is a patriot. A man who serves his government is an employee. The two are not always the same thing.
    Posted 2 months ago #
  55. seldom

    seldom

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    Aquadoc, I would love to be wrong about this but I believe that Ivory-bills are totally gone. Unfortunately so is the closely related and even larger Imperial Woodpecker from Mexico (the world's largest woodpecker).

    Here is a nice article about an Ivory-bill search in Cuba from a couple of years ago. Can Ivory-billed Woodpecker be found in Cuba

    Posted 2 months ago #
  56. seldom

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    Incidentally I also worked for a bit on PR (almost 20 years ago) but on the other side of the island on the critically endangered Puerto Rican Parrot. It's another situation where the only remaining habitat is a tiny area of extremely marginal quality.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  57. scloyd

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    There's a pair of Peregrine Falcons nesting in a drainage channel on the 8th floor of the Rockford Register Star News building downtown Rockford, Illinois. You can watch a live nest cam here.. Click the blue button.

    Currently one of the falcons is sitting on four eggs.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  58. mso489

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    Various birds were wiped out by the (mostly) women's hat industry back when hats were required wear everywhere, and feathers were central. People had no idea they could eliminate species until they'd been doing it for about a century or more.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  59. scloyd

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    Update to my previous post. Three of the eggs hatched about a week ago.

    Here are a couple of screenshots from this morning.


    Posted 2 months ago #
  60. mso489

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    Spectacular. From this thread we may conclude there are lots of birdwatchers here.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  61. taildraggin

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    Good tobacco and birds seem to go together. I'm not a birder, but at "a certain age", I do notice them more. I miss my red-wing blackbirds and mourning doves if they are not around, as well as the willets and oystercatchers.

    This fellow is the best fisherman I've ever seen. An Osprey will take 10 mins to pick up a mossbunker, but this guy did it in the time it took me to change lenses (20 secs?). Both of them like to fly directly over me low after they make a catch. This guy circled me at 50' for almost 5 mins. I took 200 shots. They are better fishermen than me and take great joy in taunting. (He's also the size of a Cessna 152.)

    Posted 2 months ago #
  62. cossackjack

    cossackjack

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    Joined: Nov 2014
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    Outstanding photo. Magnificent bird.

    Posted 2 months ago #

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