Thursday, April 16, 2009

American Red Squirrel

These pictures were taken on April 13th, 2009 in our back yard. They usually have above ground nests and may have 2 or 3 or more nests so that if one becomes threatened they can move their young to another.

Pine Siskin

These pictures were taken on April 13th, 2009 in our back yard. Pine Siskins are very gregarious and will even visit each others nests. Many do not migrate although some do.

Red Breasted Nuthatch

These pictures were taken on April 13th, 2009 in our back yard. In an attempt to keep predators out of their nest, they gather sticky conifer resin or pitch and place it at the entrance of their nest. The male does the outside while the female does the inside, sometimes using a piece of bark as an applicator. To avoid the pitch, the nuthatch dives straight through the hole rather than land on the pitch.

Junco- Dar eyed, slate colored

These pictures were taken on April 13th, 2009 in our back yard.

Canada Goose

These pictures were taken on April 12th, 2009 in our back yard. Although they're quite majestic they have become a nuisance in many urban locations making many park locations almost unusable due to the numerous bird droppings. Some of them don't even migrate anymore if they feel there is sufficient food in their present location.

Black Capped Chickadee

These pictures were taken on April 11th & 13th, 2009 in our back yard. Chickadee's are so friendly that with a bit of work you can train them to take seeds out of you hand. They don't always eat the seeds right away but instead hide them in individual locations for each seed and they have the ability to remember 1,000's of hiding spots.

Red Winged Blackbird - male

This picture was taken on April 13th, 2009 in our back yard. Red Winged Blackbirds are one of the most common birds in North America. In the winter they congregate in the south and seldom do you see males and females together. At night they roost in a common area and there may be millions in the one location. Two years ago, I saw a flock of mainly male Red Winged Blackbirds that took more than 30 minutes for the flock to pass. In summer, the male is very protective of his area and may mate with as many as 15 females.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Canada Goose mating

These pictures were taken on April 9th, 2009 in our back yard. They show the mating ritual that Canada Geese do when they mate. It starts with one or both of them dunking their heads in the water as shown in the first six pictures until the male finally mounts her. The male grabs the female by the feathers on the back of the head and the female is temporarily submerged. Once they've mated their heads point straight up in celebration and the male starts wildly honking telling the world how good it feels. The ritual continues with first, the female doing another series of head dunks and then spreading her wings wide and flapping them. Then the male does the same ritual of head dunking and wing flapping. All these pictures are in the order they were taken.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Common Merganser - male

These pictures were taken on April 5th, 2009 in lake Huron, near our home. They are a large diving duck common in the northern hemisphere eating mainly fish. Young leave the nest when they are about 24 hours old. They forage for themselves, eating small aquatic insects for the first 12 days or so and then switch over to small fish. They are such good fishermen that gulls and even Bald Eagles will try to steal their fish when they surface. I wasn't lucky enough to get a good shot of a female on this photoshoot, but stay tuned, I'll get one shortly.

Mallard Duck

These pictures were taken on April 5th, 2009 on Lake Huron, not far from our home. Mallards are the most common and recognizable duck in North America and most domestic ducks, except the Muscovy originate from the Mallard. They are normally monogamous and perform a ritual prior to mating. Occassionally several males will gang up on one female, but will not perform the normal ritual prior to mating.

Bufflehead Duck

These pictures were taken on April 5th, 2009 on Lake Huron near our home. Bufflehead ducks are normally monogamus, staying with the same mate for years. They normally nest in holes in trees created by Northern Flickers or Pileated Woodpeckers. They are the smallest diving duck in North America. The male is the more colorful guy whereas the second picture from the top is a juvenile male. The last picture is a female.