Bird watching thread

FactusIRX

Kingfisher
Thanks yes 911, I took the pics and have been into nature photography for a while. I'd have to be real hungry to eat our Pheasants, but if times get hard I could reach out and grab one by neck.
You can probably see how this one got a bent beak.
What camera do you use? Those are very beautiful pictures.
 

JayR

Woodpecker
I've been a casual bird watcher for many years now. Before she died, my grandmother gave me her favorite field guide -- "A Guide to the Field Identification Birds of North America," published in 1966. The detailed descriptons, supplemented by the "better-than-photographs" illustrations, make for more confident positive identifications.


This book is out of print now, but it is by far the best field guide I've ever used. I have several more modern guides, but I always find myself referring to "Grandmas Book" for the final identification. If you are in the USA and enjoy identifying birds, seek out this book.
 

Max Roscoe

Pelican
Orthodox Inquirer
I've been a casual bird watcher for many years now. Before she died, my grandmother gave me her favorite field guide -- "A Guide to the Field Identification Birds of North America," published in 1966. The detailed descriptons, supplemented by the "better-than-photographs" illustrations, make for more confident positive identifications.


This book is out of print now, but it is by far the best field guide I've ever used. I have several more modern guides, but I always find myself referring to "Grandmas Book" for the final identification. If you are in the USA and enjoy identifying birds, seek out this book.
I knew exactly what the cover looked like before I clicked to verify. My grandmother had the same book, and it is excellent. Sorry to hear it's out of print.
 

Max Roscoe

Pelican
Orthodox Inquirer
Hummingbirds have been incredibly active at my home in the southern US the past few days. As I'm writing this from my porch I see 4 Ruby Throated Hummingbirds at my tiny feeder. That's the most I've ever seen at once in the US, though I've seen hundreds at a time in places like Costa Rica. It can take them a few days to spot your feeder, but you can buy a hummingbird feeder for under $10 and just fill it with boiled water and sugar in a 4 : 1 ratio and be sure you change / empty the water after a day or so in hot climates (I boil enough to put in a small 1 liter plastic bottle I keep in the fridge and empty / refill every day or two depending on the temp) and you can enjoy hummingbirds in the mornings and evenings (all day really but most active early and late). They are very playful and like to chase the others away. I saw one hummer get knocked all the way to the ground earlier. I will try to upload a photo later.

They are incredibly active right now, so take advantage. It's really fun hearing their chirping and you can usually hear their wings beating rapidly before you see them. They are truly fascinating and there's no other object, manmade or natural, that I've ever seen move this rapidly.
 

Kona

Crow
Gold Member
They are incredibly active right now, so take advantage. It's really fun hearing their chirping and you can usually hear their wings beating rapidly before you see them. They are truly fascinating and there's no other object, manmade or natural, that I've ever seen move this rapidly.

For a brief period in college, I had a job delivering flowers in St. Louis MO. Quite a few times after I'd ring the doorbell and wait hummingbirds would come buzzing the flowers. The first time I thought it was some giant bee.

Also, I have the Laysan Albatrosses back, and my whole neighborhood is crazy with mynahs.

Aloha!
 

Callixtus

Robin
I'm happy to report that the bird feeder I installed on an exterior corner post of my home is now being used. At first I was not sure if I placed it correctly, being so close to my side porch and window, but I reckon it just took time for them to identify it as a food source. I will be refilling it for the first time. It's nice having them around, they serve as a natural alarm clock at around 5:30am with their excited chirping, which is ideal for me as I wake up around that time anyway. So far my rough and tumble barn cat hasn't caught any, I think he's just content observing now in his advanced years.
 
I've been a casual bird watcher for many years now. Before she died, my grandmother gave me her favorite field guide -- "A Guide to the Field Identification Birds of North America," published in 1966. The detailed descriptons, supplemented by the "better-than-photographs" illustrations, make for more confident positive identifications.


This book is out of print now, but it is by far the best field guide I've ever used. I have several more modern guides, but I always find myself referring to "Grandmas Book" for the final identification. If you are in the USA and enjoy identifying birds, seek out this book.

I can't believe this is out of print. It's been the go-to reference for me and everyone I know for many years.

There is a French-language bird guide for the province of QUebec, and interestingly enough it has the birds in order of size. Each chapter is titled somehting like, "birds the size of a sparrow", "birds the size of a pigeon" and so on, which might infuriate the 'experts' but I can see how it could make it more accessible to novices and beginners.
 

Pilgrim

Pigeon
Three Buzzards attracted by some bread left out.
2Lr1eGJ.jpg

Those look like red kites to me.

Nice photos, by the way.
 

Pilgrim

Pigeon
Thank you. You are probably right. It would not be the first time I have muddled them up.

Apart from their much redder colouring, kites have distinctive forked tails.

You're very lucky to see them near your house, if you're in the UK --- not many areas have them.

The place most famed for them is rural Wales (the red kite is actually the emblem of the county of Powys).

...However, I remember once being amazed to see scores of them flying around urban Buckinghamshire.
 

Aizen

Kingfisher
Orthodox
What a great thread. I began birdwatching a few months ago with a pair of binos, and have gotten very into it. The only area I’ve seen birds in NYC has been Greenwood Cemetery, which is my go-to spot for birds of all sort. I’ve seen red bellied woodpeckers (very beautiful), red tailed hawks (rare and majestic), and a few male and female cardinals. The red males and brown females are quite pleasant to see.

By far a very common sighting, but also one of my current favorites, is the Blue Jay. With a very distinctive chirp, the Blue Jay flies from tree to tree playfully to congregate with their fellow Jays. Haven’t taken any pictures yet, as I lack the set up, but here are some good ones I found upon searching:

They have the most beautiful shade of blue on their coat, which can be seen even at rest:

59859171-1280px.jpg


When they are in flight, it’s hard to identify them from below, as they have no blue visible on their underbelly:

jay_orig.jpg


However, if you are able to catch them in flight from behind, you will see a wingspan of the deepest and most majestic blue. It’s truly a sight to behold:

d359c64e54e61c9b2915083f6e0c6b02.jpg


blue-jay-birds-enjoying-winter-season-one-bird-perched-other-bird-flying-above-spread-wings-their-wild-186058291.jpg
 

Pilgrim

Pigeon
By far a very common sighting, but also one of my current favorites, is the Blue Jay.

They have the most beautiful shade of blue on their coat, which can be seen even at rest:

What a pretty bird.

The jays here in the UK (i.e. the Eurasian jay) are probably our prettiest crow-family members: they are a subdued salmon-pink with black and white flight feathers and a dazzling electric blue flash on their wings.
Garrulus-glandarius-1-nov09.jpg


gaita_1.jpg

They tend to be pretty timid, though, so one doesn't often get a good look at them.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
I put hay down on my farm and I got a little subsidy from a bird program in exchange for agreeing not to cut the hay too early in the season. The government hopes this will help them to nest in the grasslands.

These are the birds I'll be looking for, they are endangered, or endangered in our area - which would be their native area. I'll have to get a couple of nice bird feeders to look out for them. I'll have to get a set of little binoculars too probably. Any tips on how to draw them in?

Beautiful little guys. The loggerhead Shrike would definitely stand out a little more than the others.

Birds1.JPGBirds2.JPG
Birds4.JPGBirds3.JPG
 

Max Roscoe

Pelican
Orthodox Inquirer
The best thing you can do is keep the grass growing as you mentioned, which provides lots of insects in the tall grass for the birds to eat. If there's food, they will come. They also like the shelter the tall grasses provide. You could provide them some water, if there's not a lake or stream nearby. Birds like running water, which tells them it is not stagnant and infected. I have a bird bath with a solar powered thing that churns up the water (bonus: mosquitos will not lay eggs in water that is moving).

I know around Pennsylvania they try not to cut hay until August, to give plenty of food for the birds there. The next few weeks are going to be exciting: the chance to see large numbers of migratory birds, preparation of my feeders for spring, starting seeds indoors to be ready for a Spring garden, and getting ready for the return of the hummingbirds!

Your state game or wildlife office probably can answer questions to those species specifically. Those are some pretty birds!
 

Hypno

Crow
Question - is there a source that shows the relative rarity of birds, particularly in a particular area?

I've been blessed with Blue Jays and Cardinals, and the occassional hawk, not to mention deer. But cardinals and bluejays are common here, as are hawks.
 
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