Birder's Eye View

Friday, February 29, 2008

Ecclectic Findings

Well, I haven't done any "official" birding in a while, but I did finish this sketch last night. I've been seeing a lot of Anhingas lately, and I realized I've never tried drawing one before. So, on a lark (ha, no bird pun intended), I found a cool photo of an Anhinga in my 1968 Florida Birds book.
Today, I saw a Pileated Woodpecker making short work of an oak tree (see below).
I got some great shots of this guy, since he was so close to where I was standing. Then, when I got home and was trying to finish up some schoolwork, an American Robin landed on my birdbath. Got some nice pics of this one, too.

So far, my year list is up to an even 60. I had totally forgotten to count the House Finch I saw a few weeks ago at the hotel when I was in Juniper Springs. Glad I remembered!

Happy birding!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

You'll never believe this!

Okay. So I was absent-mindedly looking out my window (something I do waaayy often), when I noticed a huge abundance of birds at the feeders.

An American Robin landed in the elm tree right next to a Mourning Dove, and of course, as soon as I got out my camera, it flew away. But in its place, landed an exotic bird.

A very... very.... exotic bird.

Now I was glad I had my camera out, as this was one of those rare opportune moments to photograph something out of the ordinary. Can you tell what it is?
It's an albino parakeet! Interestingly enough, when I went outside, all the other birds flew away, but the parakeet remained and started chirping, suggesting it was a runaway domestic bird.
When I tried coaxing it closer, it looked interested and flew up to the roof. It tried eating the shingles. The more I talked to it, the closer it came. Finally, I ran inside and grabbed some of my own pet parakeet's food and treats, and the little escapee couldn't resist.

She (yes, found out it was a she) flew back up to the tree, and, when I got close enough, she hopped to my hand and started wolfing down the sprig of millet. I managed to put her in an extra bird cage, and gave her fresh food and water.

At first, she was unhappy about being caught, but after a few moments, she was greedily devouring her birdseed and drinking water.

She seems accustomed to being handled (albeit somewhat reluctant), and loves to be talked to. My sister and I posted "FOUND" signs around the neighborhood, in hopes of finding her owners.

So... that's my birding adventure for the day. I wonder what will happen next?

Happy birding!


Monday, February 18, 2008

GBBC - Day 4

Well, I had hoped to get in some birding while I was across the state for the weekend, but alas, no such luck. I've been so busy (and consequently exhausted!) these last two days, I found no time for the GBBC.

I tried to list some of the birds I saw on the road during those seemingly endless hours of driving, but apparently, I wasn't paying attention enough to retain anything; too much else going on, I guess.

Fortunately, I did get to count some birds today on my way home from class. Entered them into the GBBC site, and here are the results:
Date: 18-Feb-2008
Time: 03:45(ish) PM
  • Muscovy Duck - 6
  • Mallard - 3
  • Anhinga - 1
  • White Ibis - 15
  • Wood Stork - 1
  • Osprey - 1
Total - 27. Still an unimpressive list for the area, but at least these were different birds than I saw on Friday.
Until next time,

Happy birding!

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Friday, February 15, 2008

GBBC - Day 1

Well, so far the Great Backyard Bird Count hasn't been so great for me. I haven't seen half as many birds as I usually see in my area.

Here are my GBBC totals:

Observation Date: FEB 15, 2008
Start Time: 9:30 AM
Total Birding Time: 1 hour (off and on throughout the day)
Party Size: 1
Skill: good
Weather: excellent
Habitat(s): rural suburban freshwater
Number of Species: 6
All Reported: yes


  • Red-shouldered Hawk - 1
  • Fish Crow - 7
  • Palm Warbler - 4
  • Chipping Sparrow - 1
  • Northern Cardinal - 1
  • American Goldfinch - 3

Fortunately, this is just day 1 -- Three more days to go, so hopefully I'll have a more impressive list by the end of the weekend. Fingers crossed!

Happy birding.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Juniper Run

Spent the weekend in Ocala hiking, birding, and canoeing. Thanks to my fantastic new camera, I got tons of pics of the trip!

Any guesses as to what this little guy is? It was making so many different noises. I thought at first it looks like a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, but it doesn't have the characteristic white eye-ring I usually see. Plus, its calls were totally different.

Great view of Silver River.

No, it's not the Loch Ness Monster. This is a Double-Crested Cormorant wolfing down a giant fish! This is the back of the Cormorant's head, and you can see a tiny bit of the fish's tail sticking out of its mouth in the back.

A life bird for me! A Pie-billed Grebe.

This White Ibis landed in the tree above my head.

Went canoeing on Juniper River, one of the hardest canoe runs in the state. It starts out a pristine jungle with crystal-clear water; however, after the midway point, it practically swallows you up, canoe and all. We finished in just under 5 hours. Unfortunately, I didn't see many birds.

This is the Juniper Spring. Crystal clear all the way to the bottom!

Well, there's my weekend in a nutshell. I only saw a couple new birds, but it was a blast.
Happy birding.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Gearing up for the GBBC!

In two weeks, the 11th annual Great Backyard Birdcount, a nationwide, 4-day birding event, will begin.

Led by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, the GBBC will run from Feb. 15-18, 2008.

Last year, over 81,000 checklists were submitted, 613 species were observed, and over 11 million individual birds were counted all over the country. GBBC offers prizes, a photo contest, and local events to all participants.

This will be my first year participating, and I'm looking forward to it. February has been a great month for birding so far, so I can't wait to see how many I can count during the event!

To find out more, go to:

Good luck and Happy birding!

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Did you know...? ... and other thoughts

Did you know Valentines Day originally celebrated birds? Well, that's the story, anyway.

In the 14th century, Geoffery Chaucer wrote a poem for a royal wedding, entitled "Parliament of Fowls." While this piece of epic poetry spans for pages and pages, telling some long, convuluted story, its direct reference to birds can be find halfway through:

For this was Saint Valentines Day,
When every fowl comes there to choose his mate,
Of every kind, that men may think of,
And that they began to make so huge a noise,
That earth, and air, and tree, and every lake
was so full that there hardly was space
For me to stand, so full was all the place.

The poem goes on to describe dozens of birds gathering on Valentines Day: Doves, Goshawks, Owls, Cranes, Starlings, Robins, Sparrows, Swallows, Eagles, Cormorants, Lapwings, etc. Although the poem is written in old English and is hard to fully understand, it is really an incredible piece of work.
Now, on a completely and utterly unrelated subject...

There were tons of birds on my feeder today. It's really warming up outside (70s), and the Titmice, Cardinals, and Chipping Sparrows are extremely active.

I set up my camera on my windowsill, and tried getting some close-ups. Most of them didn't come out, but I got a couple amusing shots.
Little Chipping Sparrow... cute, eh?

Tufted Titmouse, trying to break into a seed. It's pretty cool how they hammer away at it until they break the shell!

This is my favorite: I was about to delete the picture, thinking the Titmouse flew away before I got the shot, when I noticed what was looking through the birdfeeder at me... :-)

Happy birding!

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