Growing up in western Pennsylvania, I would see the Ring-necked Pheasant occasionally. I always considered it a special treat because they are so beautiful. But, for several decades I never saw any; though I thought about them from time to time. I’ve been fortunate, however, to have had 3 sightings in the past 2 years. I am very happy to be able to share them with you.
These birds like to live and forage in tall vegetation, so they aren’t easy to see. But, sometimes, you can see them as they cross over open spaces. They are omnivorous.
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Correction: I mistakenly identified the male woodpecker as a Nuttal’s. It is actually a Downy. Sorry for the confusion.
The Nuttal’s Woodpecker is a small woodpecker who lives only in California’s Oak Woodlands. Interestingly, though they live in oak woodlands, they don’t eat acorns. Instead they eat insects from the oak and other trees.
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Returning from a recent trip to the Seattle area, we stopped
at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. The visitor center and restrooms
were closed but the government shutdown didn’t affect the birds. This stop
turned out to be very productive. It was a great day for raptors. The star was
a juvenile Bald Eagle on a kill. But we saw Ferruginous Hawks, Northern
Harriers, Rough Legged Hawks, a Cooper’s Hawk and a Red-shouldered hawk also.
This is feast time for the raptors at Sacramento NWR because of the large
numbers of waterfowl that spend the winter months there.
I didn’t share images of the Rough-legged haws because I only got a rear quarter shot and it didn’t show enough to make the shot interesting. I’ve shared other Cooper’s Hawks and Red-shouldered Hawks in the recent past, so I didn’t include them. But, I hope you enjoy what I shared.
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The American Kestrel is a small raptor; about the size of a robin. As you travel through rural, agricultural areas or open meadows, you might notice a small bird on a wire or pole. As you notice it, you may think: just another gray bird. But, if you slow down, you may be surprised by a beautiful little multi-colored bird. This small falcon eats lizards, insects and small birds. One of its hunting behaviors is fascinating to watch. It, will hover, flapping its wings, then dive down to capture its prey.
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To be correct for the season, I should have had a cardinal on a bright green holly sprig draped with bright red berries and snow. However, I was in southeastern Oklahoma and had to settle for a frost covered crepe myrtle. But, the Northern Cardinal is a beautiful bird that looks lovely in almost any environment. I am happy to have gotten a few images to share with you. To my friends who celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Diwali and Kwanza, may they brighten your holiday season. To those friends who don’t celebrate those holidays, may they brighten your week.
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We made a visit to rural southeastern Oklahoma recently. While there, I was amazed at the number of red tailed hawks I saw. Much of the countryside was pastureland and I imagine it provided a lot of good food for the rodents and, in turn, the hawks. One day, I also saw a bald eagle in the grass, alongside the road.