Red-headed Woodpecker revisited

Red-headed Woodpecker

The Red-headed Woodpecker is a strikingly handsome bird with an all-red head, neck and throat. It is far scarcer than other woodpeckers in the East, but the stark white belly and and large wing patches along with the red head will get your attention. We have several places in our area where these gorgeous birds can be found, but all feature a woodland of dead and dying trees with a clear under story. These birds nest in trees like the one above. Red-headed Woodpeckers are great flycatchers, and will catch […]

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

The Yellow Warbler is found across the entire United States singing the “Sweet, sweet, sweet; I’m so sweet!” song from the tops of shrubs and small trees. The male is a buttery-yellow color with rufous streaking on the breast. The female and immatures are a duller yellow without streaking. They are easily seen from the kayak when I go birding at Montour Preserve in Pennsylvania. An active bird when foraging, the Yellow Warbler is seen hopping, stretching, and jumping around from perch to perch to gather insects for their hungry […]

Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlark

The Eastern Meadowlark, a normally secretive bird of the grasslands, will show off its golden-yellow breast and throat, adorned with a black chevron, during breeding season. Males will sing their sweet song from a perch such as a fence post or telephone wire, which sounds something like “Dear sweet Emily…,” in order to attract 2 or sometimes 3 females to their territory. The females build their nests on the ground, and walk through the grasses searching for insects. Like other birds in the Blackbird family, they will poke their closed […]

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

The White-throated Sparrow is one of the jazziest sparrows at our feeders in winter with its black and white striped crown and yellow lores. In fact, Cornell’s website, All About Birds says, Crisp facial markings make the White-throated Sparrow an attractive bird as well as a hopping, flying anatomy lesson. There’s the black eyestripe, the white crown and supercilium, the yellow lores, the white throat bordered by a black whisker, or malar stripe. They’re also a great entrée into the world of birdsong, with their pretty, wavering whistle of Oh-sweet-canada. These […]

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagles have certainly made a come-back recently, and are no longer a rare sight. A pair has been nesting at Montour Preserve near us in Central PA for at least several years. Though they are seen occasionally at their nest tree, the pair is more often seen elsewhere, scoping out a farmer’s field for dinner now that the lake is frozen over. They are often perched together in the same tree, and at times an immature eagle, perhaps from an earlier nesting (?), is also seen nearby. The Hanover […]

Western Tanager

Western Tanager

In the colorless days of winter, an adult male Western Tanager has livened things up by ending up far from its usual warm winter habitat in Central America. This beautiful vagrant is even more striking in breeding plumage, when it sports an orange-red head and bright yellow body. This bird was found in the back yard of an accommodating host in State College, PA, in November, and continues to this day in spite of the freezing cold. He has plenty of food, water, and cover and seems content to stay […]

Life Birds of 2015

Juniper Titmouse

The year 2015 was a good year for life birds for me because of a few trips I was able to take within the United States. I’ve seen almost all the North American land birds in the East, and look forward to getting to the coast and out West to add to my life list. A Road Scholar Birding trip to Maine in late May brought good looks at Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, and Common Eider; all life birds! Most of these required taking a fishing boat out to […]

Bald Eagles at Conowingo Dam, Revisited

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagles gather below Conowingo Dam in Maryland for good fishing. When the water is flowing, the fish are also pouring over the dam. Some are stunned when they hit the water, and make for easy pickin’s below. The bank on one side of the Susquehanna River is lined with fishermen and photographers. The rocks on the other side of the river are covered with birds: Bald Eagles, Black Vultures, Double-crested Cormorants, a few Great Blue Herons, and hundreds of gulls. The real show is the eagles, however. Not all […]

Greater Roadrunner–Bird of the Day

Roadrunner

No visit to the Southwest is complete without a view of the Greater Roadrunner. Of my half-dozen or so birding trips to the Southwest, I’ve caught only glimpses of this interesting bird. This trip was different. On five occasions, my husband and I were treated to long looks and many photos of Wile E. Coyote’s prey. One individual lived next door to the casita that we rented in Sedona, Arizona, and it was often seen on the road, on a fence post, or in the little cemetery nearby. All about […]

Lincoln’s Sparrow II–Bird of the Day

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow passes through most of the United States during migration, and is always a treat to see with its buffy chest and malars and its fine black streaks. They are just as variable as the other sparrows, as these next photos will show. You will notice very buffy, slighty buffy, finely streaked and heavily streaked birds.   Just by pishing lightly or playing the song of the Song Sparrow, I found myself suddenly overwhelmed by curious sparrows of all types along with Common Yellow-throat, House Wren, and Catbird!     […]