Friday, March 30, 2007

Rain . . .

The weather over the last few days has been pretty dismal and I haven't gotten out, so I thought I'd post another photo that I took at Springbrook. Maybe we'll get a bit of break in the weather this weekend and I can get out for a bit.

Cardinal (male):
Cardinal (male)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fox Sparrow

Well Monday was 80 degrees or so and I had to get out! Carlos Avery still has its gates closed so I walked the south section right near the entrance to the Wildlife Science Center. The first 20 minutes I didn't see anything but after that things got a lot more interesting. I saw a number of birds: Trumpeter Swans, Hooded Mergansers, Fox Sparrows, Tree Sparrows, Eastern Bluebirds, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting. Here's a few pictures from the day.

Fox Sparrow:
Fox Sparrow

Sandhill Cranes:
Sandhill Crane

I should probably know this one, but I'll be honest any help here would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks to all that replied.
ID = Song Sparrow:
Unknown Bird

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Red Shoulder Hawk Habitat

I have received a number of phone calls and emails about the RSH's in my yard and it has been great to talk with so many people from the MOU. One question I was asked was about the type of woods that these hawks are in. So I thought I would post a few shots of my yard and the woods that surround it. The woods consist mainly of mature oak and maple trees. There is a bit of marshland in area, but it typically does not contain much standing water, although enough to produce a good amount of mosquito's.

The woods (in the fog):
fog forrest

Here is a wide angle shot of the nest and tree. You can see the nest about a 1/4 way down the crook of tree in the center of the shot. The nest is quite a bit bigger now since they continue to work on it every day. To give a bit of perspective, I estimate the nest is around 50' up from the ground.
RSHawk Nest Tree

Springbrook Nature Center

I went to SNC yesterday with my wife and had a really nice day. There was a fair amount of activity in terms of birds with weather being as nice as it was. We really had a nice walk and it's a birding spot that I'm sure I'll go back to again. Carlos Avery still has the gates shut so this was a nice alternative for me. Here is a shot of a female Cardinal that I took. It's probably the nicest shot of a female that I've taken.

Cardinal (female):
Cardinal (female)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hawks in the Fog

Well, today's fog made photos difficult, but I guess it worked out in the end. Not much to report on their activity today. They continue to build the nest up each day. One thing of note for today though was that I was able to watch as one of the hawks worked to break a branch off a tree for the nest. The hawk stood on the branch, flapped it's wings and applied pressure down with one leg, and up with the other. Each time the bird flapped it's wings I would hear and see the branch break a little more. After a few tries the branch would snap and the bird would fly back to the nest with it. Here is a photo of that happening (a video of this would have been great, but I don't have a video camera).

Breaking a branch:
Red Shouldered Hawk in Fog

A shot through the fog:
Red Shouldered Hawk on Nest in Fog

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Building Continues

Each morning, the hawks continue to work on building their nest. The nest size has grown, both out and up. I've seen them carry in some pretty large sticks to work with, many times dropping them to the ground just as they come in to land. So they just turn around and fly out to get more. Perseverance is definitely something we can learn from these birds.
Red Shouldered Hawk Factoid:
"The Red-shouldered Hawk is divided into five subspecies. The four eastern forms contact each other, but the West Coast form is separated from the eastern forms by 1600 km (1000 mi). The northern form is the largest. The form in very southern Florida is the palest, having a gray head and very faint barring on the chest."

Today's shot of the bird on the nest. I tried more shots of them in flight, but it's overcast today so those shots turned out a bit blurry.
Red Shouldered Hawk.jpg

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Nest has been selected . . .

So it appears that the Hawks have selected their nest. We've been watching them bringing in nesting material to build with. Again they continue to call back and forth. Today though, the female (again I presume this) is sitting on the nest waiting for the male to drop off branches. Once he drops them off, he leaves and she continues to form the sides and bottom of the nest. She'll fly off periodically, but generally stays near the nest and waits. Here are today's shots.

Here they are, one on the nest and the other taking off to find more branches:
Red Shouldered Hawks on Nest 2007

Here's the male flying off to find more branches:
Red Shouldered Hawk in Flight 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Oh Yeah, they're back!

So today, the hawks continue to call back and forth so much I wonder if they are going to lose their voices. The female (at least I presume the female) has been carrying nesting material to at least 2 different locations this morning. It doesn't appear as though a final nesting location has been determined yet. She just keeps flying back and forth with branches and leaves to a couple different locations. I know which one I would pick, the one closest to my driveway so that I can continue to shoot more pictures with a relatively unobstructed view. However, I don't think my opinion carries much weight in her decision. Here she is again, perched near possible nest site #1.

Red Shouldered Hawk 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Red Shoulders are Back!

Well, the Red Shouldered hawks that we had nest in our yard last year a back again. The have been flying around and calling to each other almost non-stop for about 5 days now. The first time we saw them, it was a single bird sitting on a nest, or so I thought. Now, a few days later, the hawk was sitting on a different nest, or at least that's what it appears like. I guess she's trying out a few different homes to see which is the most comfortable. :) As far as I can tell there are at least 4 relatively new nests in our yard from past years. Here's a shot a just took a few minutes ago, and a shot from last year. I'm sure more will follow as the days go on.

Red Shouldered Hawk - Spring 2007:
Red Shouldered Hawk

Red Shouldered Hawk - Spring 2006:
Red Shouldered Hawk 2006

Here is a link to the post I made last year about the hawks in our yard:
Last Years Post

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Gettin' ready . . .

Spring is almost here! The snow was melting, the temperature was up, and the sun was shining. I had to get out, so I made a drive through Carlos Avery today, but it didn't yield much in way of birds, not that I expected much at this point. However, in a month or so, there will be plenty to look at when the migration starts getting into full swing. I'm really looking forward to it this year. Anyway, it had been a while since I posted so here is pretty much the only decent shot from today.

Black Capped Chickadee:
Black Capped Chickadee