Friday, May 31, 2013

Black-billed Cuckoo

Cornell University (Ornithologists) describes this bird as common but secretive, often heard rather than seen. It mainly eats caterpillars and can be heard through out the night during breeding season.

My nephew Matt saw a cuckoo on a birding walk in Mountain Lake last week. I could not remember seeing you but knew how it looked. Later I looked in our old bird guide and it was checked as sited, but it has been a long time. Two days ago we had a black-billed cuckoo in our backyard.  Thank you Matt!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Warblers: Yellow, Wilson, Chestnut-sided, Blackpolls

Warbler time is winding down. The Yellow Warblers  replaced the Yellow-rumped Warbler as the most frequently sited warbler in the neighborhood. They are beautiful warblers with red stripes on its breast that nest in Southern Minnesota. We also saw a few Wilson Warblers, Chestnut-sided and  Blackpolls. A slow spring was good for the birders. Warblers are insect eaters hence their movement in the trees as the insect pollinate the catkins. Then the Female Redstarts were the predominate bird. Today we had a flock of Cedar Waxwings.

                                                                Yellow Warbler with red streaking


           Wilson Warbler 
           with a black cap


Chestnut-sided Warbler with a yellow cap

           Blackpoll Warbler 
             with a black cap


         with black mask

Monday, May 27, 2013

Redstarts or Yellowstarts

  Redstarts migrate at different times with the males coming much sooner than the females. On Mother's
Day we saw male Redstarts and for a week we saw them occasionally. This weekend our major warbler activity was the female Redstart or renamed (by me) Yellowstarts. They are friendly little birds who flit in and out of trees. Years ago Gunnar had one sit on his hat in the garden. The up close and personal Yellowstart was on my sister's deck on her outdoor grill. 

A male Redstart in the underbrush

Normal pose in the backyard

As they fly they fan their tail so the color shows.

Cardinal Courtship

We have had a pair of Northern Cardinals in our backyard for many years. They are seen and heard all year around. The pair are regulars at our feeders.  The cardinals are the last ones to the feeders at night. We saw this ritual at noon during a steady rain. The male would get sunflowers from the feeder and fly to feed the female. This was repeated at least four times. Personally,  I would rather go out to eat at a restaurant.

The female first arrived near the feeder.
The male gave the seed to the female.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Scarlet Tanager

This is one of the most spectacular backyard birds of Minnesota. We do not have them in our yard in the summer but occasionally see them in migration. Scarlet Tanagers usually nest near water and we have seen them in the summer in the area near Coney Island (city park) and Big Island State Park near the shore.

Profiling nicely. 

Here is the pair of Tanagers  in our yard. The female is hard to see in the shadows.

He was behind the clutter for a long time.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Red-eyed Vireo

A rainy day and a lovely small bird, but not a warbler. Red-eyed Vireos nest in over half of North America including Minnesota. It is a common backyard bird that is seldom seen. Its call is similar to many others.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Warblers in Oakwood

For over forty years we have anticipated  the Warbler migration in the spring.  I eagerly wake and check the trees for these little beauties.  The  best birding years are when they come before the leaves are fully opened. It makes spotting them easier. Now that I have a camera I find it very difficult to take a photo when they are flitting in our leafed trees. Some are treetop feeders, others on trunks still others lower to the ground. But hopefully they will return next year.  The first series of warbles are Yellow Warbler.  If we have miss identified any, please comment. These were taken 5/17-5/20.  

Yellow Warbler

Golden-cheeked Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler (?)

Tennessee Warbler

 Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler