17 February 2015 Published in Birds
Crows cawing woke me up about thirty minutes after sunrise on this bitterly cold Friday the 13th. At eight o’clock, the temperature was -7°F, with a wind chill of about -20°F. It was the first day of the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), an annual event that collects data on bird observations made by thousands of…
12 June 2010 Published in Birds
Originally published on Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers The Downy Woodpecker (Popcoides pubescens) and Hairy Woodpecker (Piocoides villosuis) closely resemble each other in coloration. With similar appearance and habits, they are best discussed together.  They both are largely black and white with white under parts.  The males have a small red patch on the back of…
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10 April 2010 Published in Birds
Originally published on The American Robin is the best-known thrush in North America.  It has adapted to human habitation more than other thrushes, and is seen in almost any city park or suburban lawn.  But before discussing the robin in detail, here is a brief review of the other thrushes in North America. Family Turdidae…
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08 March 2010 Published in Birds
Originally published on Black-capped chickadees are a welcome guest to any bird feeding station.  When one puts up a new feeder for the winter season, they are almost always the first birds to discover it.  With their quick arrival and just as hasty retreat after snatching a seed to eat it in a more sheltered…
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12 March 2010 Published in Birds
Originally published on The great blue heron is the most widespread and best-known heron in North America.  It is most commonly seen wading in wetlands. When observed standing perfectly motionless for several minutes with long neck outstretched, or stealthily walking in shallow water, one has to admire its patient hunting habits.  An iconic symbol of…
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09 April 2010 Published in Birds
Originally published on The white-throated sparrow is a bird of the north woods. About 7 inches long, it has a distinctive white throat, yellow “eyebrows” or supra loral patches, and a black band on the head between a white-eye stripe and white or tan crown.  The bill is dark and the breast is grayish.  There…
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09 April 2010 Published in Birds
Originally published on Crows are nearly universally known, except for in parts of the South Pacific and southern South America.  The general behavior and habits of the American crow would be well known to those who observe the jackdaw in Eurasia and North Africa. While they might be observing different varieties of crows, there are…
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07 March 2010 Published in Birds
Orignally published on The flash of an all red bird seen in a hedgerow or thicket, or at an open tree- top perch is easily recognized as the northern cardinal.  Commonly called just cardinal, it is one of the best-known birds in eastern North America.  Its bright vermillion red color and crested head make it…

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