Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Downy Woodpecker Calling and Drumming for Mate



Male Downy Woodpecker Calling and Drumming for Mate - my best encounter yet with these elusive little woodpeckers. This perch has been used by generations of Downy's to call and drum from, but this time I had the camera ready! This male has picked this high perch with just the right wood to amplify his drumming - he is defending his breeding territory and courting a female.

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Downy Woodpecker Calling and Drumming for Mate

Monday, April 21, 2014

Great Crested Flycatcher Call - Up Close!


I am totally infatuated with a pair of Great Crested Flycatchers building a nest in the owl box in the Backyard. This is going to be fun, they are such outgoing, loud, showy and emotional birds! The
Male Great Crested Flycatcher giving the classic "weeep" call, which in this case is a locator call to keep in contact with the female. They are building a nest in the Screech Owl box and while the female is doing most of the work the male is on guard and fighting mostly his reflection in the sun room windows. He is extremely attentive - accompanying her on ever trip - occasionally bringing a few pieces of material into the nest, but I think he is mostly in the way in there. She seems to have a concept she is working on!

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male Great Crested Flycatcher Calling




Saturday, April 19, 2014

Flycatchers Building Nest in Owl Nest Box - Day 2



Great Crested Flycatchers continue working hard on building their nest in the owl nest box. Recorded April 17, 2014. This is like a DVR so you can scroll across the bottom with your mouse and skip through the action parts.


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Great Crested Flycatchers





Great Crested Flycatchers Building Nest in Screech Owl Nest Box - Day One



Recorded live on April 16th, 2012 as Great Crested Flycatchers began making a nest in the empty Screech Owl Nest Box! A rare event as the camera is still inside. The video is like a DVR so you can scroll your mouse along the bottom to see thumbnail previews and skip to the action. These are amazing birds - much more on them in coming blogs as they finish the nest and hopefully raise their young.

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Great Crested Flycatchers Building Nest in Screech Owl Nest Box

Video:  Great Crested Flycatchers Building Nest in Screech Owl Nest Box - Day One

Friday, April 18, 2014

Great Crested Flycatcher Mating Pair



Pair of Great Crested Flycatchers thinking of nesting in the Backyard. These birds, which are very rare visitors to the Backyard, excite me! They always announce their presence with a loud single whistle and I start looking for them. These two mated as I watched - I did not get that on video :-(   But they hung around quite awhile after I got the camera. There is a vacancy in the Woodpecker nest box and they are looking hard. Notice how they use their tail as a brace just like a Woodpecker. I can only hope they move in.
Update: They have committed to making a nest in one of the owl boxes - more to come!

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Great Crested Flycatcher Mating Pair


Catbird and Blue Jay Friends



My efforts to befriend a Gray Catbird had it at arm's length, but my old Blue Jay Buddy would have none of that. These two birds really show their emotions in their eyes and are obviously extremely intelligent!
For background on my Blue Jay friend see:

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cedar Waxwings Feasting on Loquats



Cedar Waxwings feasting on Loquat fruit. As they migrate north the Backyard fruit trees makes for a nice rest stop. And just when I thought they could not get more ravenous - one manages to make a fruit juice mess on its beautiful velvety feathers while chasing away all others!

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Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing




Monday, April 14, 2014

Green Anole Lizards Mating and Changing Color



Lizard love is in the air. Mating between Native Green Anole Lizards takes a long time - on the order of 30 minutes. It took five minutes for the male to realize he was on a brown fence :-)  Watch him turn from bright green to dark brown! Green Anole Lizards are not chameleons, but they have the ability to change from brilliant green to darkest brown.  I have not seen this many Green Anole's around for many years - perhaps they are making a comeback against the invasive Brown Anole Lizards from the south! They are attractive little lizards with textured bright green and turquoise eyes! 

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Green Anole Lizards Mating and Changing Color

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cedar Waxwings Feasting on Loquat Fruit



Lovely Cedar Waxwings feasting on Loquat fruit, not the best table manners, but they do love to eat! A flock of about 30 of them descended on the Backyard Loquat trees to feed on their way north for the summer. These birds do not stay in our area of Florida they just pass through. Always exciting when they do stop by as their migration coincides with Loquat ripening. A great backyard bird tree!

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Cedar Waxwings Feasting on Loquat Fruit

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cute Baby Rats Sleeping in an Owl Nest Box



These cute baby woodland rats picked the wrong place to move in to. They don't appear to particular about their sleeping arrangements. There appears to be 4 or five of them on top of each other. They are mostly nocturnal - sleeping in the day and active at night. I waited until they left for the night and then relocated the nest box to a better location away from the deep woods. Although Screech Owl will eat baby rats, full grown rats are too dangerous and more the prey of much larger Great Horned Owls, hawks and other predators. These woodland rats do not get that large and have a very high mortality rate - about 97% die in their first year. Rats in the wild perform a valuable service as part of the balance of nature - but for successful owl breeding the nest box needs to be put in a place they can't get at. A Screech Owl would simply avoid a nest box full of rats.

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Cute Baby Rats Sleeping in an Owl Nest Box