Thursday, July 13, 2017

Beavertail Cactus in Bloom



Beavertail Cactus in Bloom


Beavertail Cactus in Bloom





Stunning Beavertail pricklypear or Beavertail cacti in bloom (Opuntia basilaris) filmed in the Mojave Desert and Death Valley National Park in mid-April.

Flat, grayish-green, leafless, jointed stems in a clump, lack large spines and have vivid rose or reddish-lavender flowers on upper edge of joint. Beaver-tail cactus is a low-growing prickly pear, 6-12 in. high, with brilliant, majenta flowers. The pads of this cactus lack the long, straight spines of other prickly pears but are covered with miniscule, gray-blue bristles with barbed tips.



The gray-green stems, low growth, and brilliant flowers, which often nearly cover the plant, make this a popular ornamental in hot, dry climates. It need not be dug up; a joint broken from a plant will quickly root in dry sand. Opuntia with flat joints are called Pricklypear; in the Southwest, if the fruits are juicy and edible, they area called tuna by people of Spanish-American heritage.



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Big Baby Bird Polka



Big Baby Bird Polka

Sparrow baby appears bigger than it's parents. A mistake with the video ended up with a time lapse and stop motion effect - so a little fun polka music fits!

Big Baby Bird Polka


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Tufted Titmouse Grabs A Peanut



Tufted Titmouse Grabs A Peanut


Tufted Titmouse Grabs A Peanut

Tufted Titmouse Grabs A Peanut
Mr Titmouse has his eye on a big roasted peanut, but it's a busy  morning at the feeder so he  has to wait for his chance!  How he is going to get that big thing open - well that's another story......



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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder?



Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder?

 Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder

Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder?
Practical review of Woodlink Absolute Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder Model 7533.

More than 50% off at Amazon.com Prime now at this link - I paid $50.99 for this one so this is a good deal - I will buy another one at this price:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001G17E7Y/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B001G17E7Y&linkCode=as2&tag=scrowlinourba-20&linkId=6f2bdc55806cdb1477c1a6ae9853e4d6

This is the Woodlink Absolute Squirrel-Resistant Bird Feeder Model 7533 – It has a feeder perch on only one side and holds a lot of seed. I got it so I could leave a large amount of seed for the Florida Backyard birds when I'm traveling for long periods and they won't run out of seed or have the squirrels eat all the bird seed. There are two other models – a larger one with feeders on both sides and a smaller one with a feeder on one side.

This one is heavy – well made and attractive and it forces the birds to one side so I can always see them feeding. Note that it is “Squirrel Resistant” not squirrel-proof – I'm not sure anything can be totally squirrel-proof!

These feeders uses weight adjustable perchs that shut off the access to the seeds whenever anything heavier than birds sits or pushes on it. I have it set a little  heavy so as not to exclude any birds – just squirrels and larger. Generally it works great and I am quite happy with this feeder.

Squirrels immediately began attacking it of course and the weight limiting perch works well, but the squirrels found two ways to get a small amount of seed out of the feeder – one was to hang down off the roof for a bit, which is pretty slippery and carefully eat some of the seeds without touching the perch mechanism or try and scoop some seeds out of the feeding holes so they fall on the ground and then they get it later. Most of the time the squirrels slip off the roof and fall to the ground after getting a small amount of seed this way. After awhile they get bored with the small reward for all the work and move on to something else and come back and test it periodically.

I recommend this particular model of the feeder as it seems to be sold at the best price for what you get. It is very sturdy and I simply hung it off the end of a strong branch on an oak tree with the enclosed hanger that is very sturdy. I did not use the pole that came with. I've had it up for eight months now with no problems.

More than 50% off at Amazon.com now at this link:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001G17E7Y/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B001G17E7Y&linkCode=as2&tag=scrowlinourba-20&linkId=6f2bdc55806cdb1477c1a6ae9853e4d6

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Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder?


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Largest Land Snail In USA Will Amaze You



Largest Land Snail In USA Will Amaze You



The Queen Crater Snail or Appalachina chilhoweensis is a rare snail and thought to be the largest native land snail in the eastern US - it is big and beautiful. This one was filmed at about 4,600 feet elevation in the Great Smoky Mountains munching on a large fantail fungi. This is a very wet and dark environment that does not get full sun in summer due to the dense forest canopy. The video includes a closeup of their huge rasping "mouth" and its amazing ability to literally "swallow" its own head as a defensive maneuver when it bumps into a large beetle - perhaps some sort of stag-horn that was also eating inside the mushroom. When you see its "face" slowly reappear back out of its body you will be amazed. Combined with the music and the stunning beauty of this snail in action you may come to appreciate these wonderful creatures.
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The Queen Crater Snail or Appalachina chilhoweensis

Largest Land Snail In USA Will Amaze You



American Goldfinch


American Goldfinch

Male American Goldfinch chilling on a evergreen tree in the Great Smoky Mountains. These delightful and gregarious songbirds love thistle sock feeders where they can gather in large numbers but its always nice to see one out in the open with a nice green contrast. The zoom lens is misleading here - they are some of the smallest birds that come to feeders. This is also a challenging shot technically as the finch is illuminated by direct afternoon sun but the background is in the shade and auto white balance can not handle it giving the bird sort of a whitish color on the back. A lot of defects on film can be simply fixed, but not blown out white!
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American Goldfinch


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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Chipmunk Genius Teaches Blue Jays Lefty-Loosey Righty-Tighty Lesson



Chipmunk Genius Teaches Blue Jays Lefty-Loosey Righty-Tighty Lesson


Chipmunk Genius Teaches Blue Jays Lefty-Loosey Righty-Tighty Lesson

The Albert Einstein of Chipmunks learns which way to turn a "nut" on a screw in five seconds flat - something some humans take a lifetime to learn! Mr Chipmunk is a quick-study and schools the Blue Jays - who are rightfully impressed - how did he do that? They are some of the smartest cookies of the bird world, but lack the proper tools for tightening and untightening fasteners.

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Daddy Long Legs



Daddy Long Legs


Daddy Long Legs or Harvestmen are arachnids, but not really spiders. The ones shown in this video are probably the typical large ones that most people in the eastern US encounter. They often just sit and mind their own business, but they can run real fast if bothered. They are harmless and "friendly" and I have found that they seem to cut down on the number of "bad spiders" around the house and deck - perhaps by feasting on spiderlings. Here I am checking underneath my rocker that is kept outside near the the woods and you see two Daddy Long Legs hanging out near the abandoned web and eggs sacs of a spider you don't want under your chair. This is why they are sometime misunderstood as spiders because they can be seen around other spiders abandoned nests. Black and Brown Widows are notorious for deciding to live in seldom used outdoor furniture so take a tip from BB and always check. And if you see a "Daddy Long Legs" let them live they are beneficial. They are also commonly found in the dense foliage of evergreen trees hunting for food as in the second half of the video. These are one of the favorite foods of birds such as the House Wren. If you watch this video of wrens feeding their young you will see they eat a lot of Daddy Long Legs - https://youtu.be/1aLyIbwKwOo



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Brown Thrasher Fledgling






Brown Thrasher Fledgling



A young Brown Thrasher is out on its own now. The parents are still feeding him once in awhile and he has some feathers to grown into but he's well on his way to independence. First time capture of a Brown Thrasher youngster as they tend to stick to heavy brush as you can tell from the video. Filmed in Florida.



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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Garter Snake Encounter


Typical encounter with the beneficial Garter Snake. They are defensive and then run - everyone should let them live!
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Garter Snake

Swainson's Hawk Dark Morph


A nearly black Swainson's Hawk Dark Morph sitting beside an intermediate morph Swainson's Hawk is a rare sight to behold. Filmed at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge in California in April this was a first time species for me. This is a classic sit and wait position for these hawks of the open country. Like many big raptors they could care less about the humans staring at them.

Swainson's hawk is a raptor and a medium-sized member of the Buteo genus. It broadly overlaps in size with the red-tailed hawk (B. jamaicensis), a related species found as a breeding resident almost throughout North America. Swainson's hawk is on average a little shorter in length, 43–56 cm (17–22 in) long, and weighs a bit less, 0.5–1.7 kg (1.1–3.7 lb).[3][4][5] However, Swainson's hawk has a slightly longer wingspan at 117–137 cm (46–54 in), with more slender, elongated wings, than the red-tailed hawk.[3] Female Swainson's hawks, at an average weight of 1.15 kg (2.5 lb), are somewhat larger and heavier than males, at an average of 0.81 kg (1.8 lb).[3] Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 36.2–42.7 cm (14.3–16.8 in), the tail is 18.5–23.4 cm (7.3–9.2 in), the tarsus is 6.2–8 cm (2.4–3.1 in) and the bill (from the gape) is 3–3.5 cm (1.2–1.4 in).[3] In flight, Swainson's hawk holds its wings in a slight dihedral; it tips back and forth slightly while soaring.

There are two main color variations. Over 90% of individuals are light-morph; the dark morph is most common in the far west of the range:[6]

Light-morph adults are white on the underparts with a dark, reddish "bib" on the chest and a noticeable white throat and face patch. The underwings, seen as the bird soars, have light linings (leading edge) and dark flight feathers (trailing edge), a pattern unique among North American raptors. The tail is gray-brown with about six narrow dark bands and one wider subterminal band. The upperparts are brown. Juveniles are similar but dark areas have pale mottling and light areas, especially the flanks, have dark mottling. The chest is pale with some darker marks. The subterminal band of the tail is less obvious. Birds in their first spring may have pale heads because of feather wear.
Dark-morph birds are dark brown except for a light patch under the tail. There is a rufous variant that is lighter on the underparts with reddish bars. The tails of both these forms resemble those of the light morph.

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Swainson's Hawk Dark Morph

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Eared Grebe


Eared Grebe feeding on surface insects and brine shrimp at Owens Dry Lake, California filmed in early April 2017. Birds are starting to return to Owens Lake now that some shallow water remains in it. This time of year it is unusual for a single grebe to be hanging out. A very unusual looking bird with striking red eyes and head feathers.
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Eared Grebe


Steller's Jay


Steller's Jay scavenging food from a wildlife refuge parking lot near Flagstaff, Arizona. A stunning bird very similar to the Blue Jay, but with black head and white eye lines. I was surprised to encounter this bird primarily as a scavenger hanging around public areas of western national parks. I have not seen Blue Jays back east exhibit this type of behavior that is more often seen with Grackles.

The Steller's jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) is a jay native to western North America, closely related to the blue jay found in the rest of the continent, but with a black head and upper body. It is also known as the long-crested jay, mountain jay, and pine jay. It is the only crested jay west of the Rocky Mountains. While it does not have as prominent a crest as the Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) it can be found west of the Rockies especially in south east British Columbia.

The Steller's jay shows a great deal of regional variation throughout its range. Blackish-brown-headed birds from the north gradually become bluer-headed farther south. The Steller's jay has a more slender bill and longer legs than the blue jay and has a much more pronounced crest. It is also somewhat larger. The head is blackish-brown with light blue streaks on the forehead. This dark coloring gives way from the shoulders and lower breast to silvery blue. The primaries and tail are a rich blue with darker barring.

It occurs in coniferous forest over much of the western half of North America from Alaska in the north to northern Nicaragua completely replacing the blue jay in most of those areas. Some hybridization with the blue jay in Colorado has been reported. The Steller's jay lives in coniferous and mixed woodland, but not in completely dense forest, and requires open space. It typically lives in flocks of greater than 10 individuals. In autumn, flocks often visit oak woods when acorns are ripe.

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Steller's Jay

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Desert Cottontail Rabbits


Desert Cottontail Rabbits filmed in a variety of habitats. They have many threats and Coyotes and Hawks were sighted nearby. Not too unlike the eastern Cottontail, these rabbits tend to be very wary in desert scrub habitat and more communal and social where food is plentiful and deep cover is nearby as you will see in the video.
Filmed at Merced NWR and Mojave Desert in California.

The desert cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii), also known as Audubon's cottontail, is a New World cottontail rabbit, and a member of the family Leporidae.

The desert cottontail is found throughout the western United States from eastern Montana to western Texas, and in northern and central Mexico. Westwards its range extends to central Nevada and southern California and Baja California.[2] It is found at heights of up to 2,000 m (6,600 ft). It is particularly associated with the dry near-desert grasslands of the American southwest; though it is also found in less arid habitats such as pinyon-juniper forest.


The desert cottontail is quite similar in appearance to the European rabbit, though its ears are larger and are more often carried erect. It is also social among its peers, often gathering in small groups to feed. The desert cottontail uses burrows made by rodents rather than making its own. Like all cottontail rabbits, the desert cottontail has a rounded tail with white fur on the underside which is visible as it runs away. It is a light grayish-brown in color, with almost white fur on the belly. Adults are 33 to 43 cm (13 to 17 in) long and weigh up to 1.5 kg (3.3 lb). The ears are 8 to 10 cm (3.1 to 3.9 in) long, and the hind feet are large, about 7.5 cm (3.0 in) in length). There is little sexual dimorphism, but females tend to be larger than the males, but have much smaller home ranges, about 4,000 square metres (1 acre) compared with about 60,000 square metres (15 acres) for a male.[3]

The desert cottontail is not usually active in the middle of the day, but it can be seen in the early morning or late afternoon. It mainly eats grass, but will eat many other plants, herbs, vegetables and even cacti. It rarely needs to drink, getting its water mostly from the plants it eats or from dew. Like most lagomorphs, it is coprophagic, re-ingesting and chewing its own feces: this allows more nutrition to be extracted.[3]

Many desert animals prey on cottontails, including birds of prey, mustelids, the coyote, the bobcat, the lynx, wolves, mountain lions, snakes, weasels, humans, and even squirrels, should a cottontail be a juvenile, injured or docile.[4] Southwestern Native Americans hunted them for meat but also used their fur and hides. The cottontail's normal anti-predator behavior is to run away in evasive zigzags; it can reach speeds of over 30 km/h (19 mph). Against small predators or other desert cottontails, it will defend itself by slapping with a front paw and nudging; usually preceded by a hop straight upwards as high as two feet when threatened or taken by surprise.[3]

The young are born in a shallow burrow or above ground, but they are helpless when born, and do not leave the nest until they are three weeks old. Where climate and food supply permit, females can produce several litters a year. Unlike the European rabbit, they do not form social burrow systems, but compared with some other leporids, they are extremely tolerant of other individuals in their vicinity.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_cottontail
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Desert Cottontail Rabbits

Western Kingbird


Beautiful Western Kingbird on the lookout for flying insects. A large flycatcher similar to the Great Crested Flycatcher of the Backyard in size and appearance, but without the crest. Filmed at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge, California in April, 2017.
The western kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) is a large tyrant flycatcher.

Adults are grey-olive on the upperparts with a grey head and a dark line through the eyes; the underparts are light becoming light orange-yellow on the lower breast and belly. They have a long black tail with white outer feathers. Western kingbirds also have a reddish crown that they only display during courtship and confrontations with other species. The Western Kingbird is very similar to and easily confused with Cassin's kingbird, Couch's kingbird and the tropical kingbird, all of which overlap the western kingbird's range to some extent. The western, however, is generally lighter in coloration and can be distinguished from these species by the black squared tail with white outer webs, as well as voice.

Their breeding habitat is open areas in western North America. The increase in trees throughout the Great Plains during the past century due to fire suppression and tree planting facilitated the range expansion of the western kingbird as well as range expansions of many other species of birds. Kingbirds make a sturdy cup nest in a tree or shrub, sometimes on top of a pole or other man-made structure. Three to five eggs are laid and incubated for 12 to 14 days.

The name kingbird is derived from their "take-charge" behavior. These birds aggressively defend their territory, even against much larger birds such as hawks.

These birds migrate in flocks to Florida and the Pacific coast of southern Mexico and Central America.

They wait on an open perch and fly out to catch insects in flight, sometimes hovering and then dropping to catch food on the ground. They also eat berries.

The song is a squeaky chatter, sometimes compared to a squeaky toy. The call is a sharp loud whit. It occasionally sings before sunrise.

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Western Kingbird

Saturday, April 29, 2017

BigHorn Sheep Bachelor Group


A Bachelor Group or Band of male Colorado Bighorn Sheep ranging from youngsters all the way up to the mature male leader. Their gray coloring makes them very hard to see among the boulders and sparse vegetation around 8,000 feet elevation. Filmed near the Arkansas River in Cotopaxi, Colorado.
Bighorn are social animals, maintaining order through a strict hierarchy. Through much of the year, the rams live in bachelor
“bands” or groups. The ewes, lambs and immature animals live in nursery bands led by a dominant ewe. During the mating season, late fall through early winter, the groups join each other on a common courtship ground. Two subspecies of bighorn live in Colorado.
Most familiar to viewers, Rocky Mountain bighorn
inhabit the foothills and mountains. Smaller in size and slightly lighter-colored, desert bighorn sheep live in the canyon
country of western Colorado.
Bighorn sheep are native to Colorado.
They live on sunny mountain slopes, usually above 8,000
feet, where there is plenty of grass and a clear uphill
escape route. Stocky-bodied with strong legs, bighorn
sheep are well-designed for bounding over mountain
slopes. Their flexible hooves are equipped with soft,
spongy pads to help cling to rocks. Even newborn lambs
can follow their mothers over the rugged terrain within a
few days of their birth. 
Bighorn once ranged from the high mountains to
the prairie near the foothills, moving downslope
in winter. Settlement brought fences, roads, ranches and towns
that disrupted the sheep’s migration patterns. Fire
suppression reduced sheep habitat by allowing forests
to expand into mountain grasslands. In addition,
unregulated hunting in the 1800s and introduced
diseases reduced the number of bighorn in the region.
Today bighorn are mostly restricted to foothills,
canyons and high mountains.
Sheep do not pioneer new range or move to new
habitats easily, even those adjacent to areas in current
use. Limited habitat can lead to overcrowding, stressing
the animals and spreading disease. In the last half of the
20th century, sheep management focused on restoring
bighorn to their historic range by transplanting some
from larger, stronger herds. Today wildlife managers
emphasize efforts to maintain healthy populations
by enhancing habitat — through methods such as
controlled burns — and managing disease. Keeping
domestic sheep separate from bighorn populations
reduces the risk of transmitting non-native diseases to
wild sheep. Hunting is also used as a management tool
to maintain healthy herd densities.
https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Viewing/Watching-Bighorn-Sheep-Goat-Brochure.pdf

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BigHorn Sheep

Upper Yosemite Falls


Beautiful and majestic Upper Yosemite Falls near maximum power and encases in ice spray! The snow melt from  record snowfall this winter will make for dramatic falls this spring. Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in Yosemite National Park, dropping a total of 2,425 feet (739 m) from the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower fall.[1] Located in the Sierra Nevada of California, it is a major attraction in the park, especially in late spring when the water flow is at its peak.
The falls consist of three sections:

Upper Yosemite Fall: The 1,430-foot (440 m) plunge alone is among the twenty highest waterfalls in the world. Trails from the valley floor and down from other park areas outside the valley lead to both the top and base of Upper Yosemite Fall. The upper fall is formed by the swift waters of Yosemite Creek, which, after meandering through Eagle Creek Meadow, hurl themselves over the edge of a hanging valley in a spectacular and deafening show of force.
Middle Cascades: Between the two obvious main plunges there are a series of five smaller plunges collectively referred to as the Middle Cascades. Taken together these account for a total drop of 675 feet (206 m), more than twice the height of the Lower Fall. Because of the narrow, constricted shape of the gorge in which these drops occur and the lack of public access, they are rarely noted. Most viewpoints in the valley miss them entirely. Several vantage points for the cascades are found along the Yosemite Falls trail. Several hikers climbing down from the trail towards the cascades have required an expensive helicopter rescue due to steep and slippery terrain and features.
Lower Yosemite Fall: The final 320-foot (98 m) drop adjacent to an accessible viewing area, provides the most-used viewing point for the waterfalls. Yosemite Creek emerges from the base of the Lower Fall and flows into the Merced River nearby. Like many areas of Yosemite the plunge pool at the base of the Lower Fall is surrounded by dangerous jumbles of talus made even more treacherous by the high humidity and resulting slippery surfaces.
In years of little snow, the falls may actually cease flowing altogether in late summer or fall. A very small number of rock climbers have taken the opportunity to climb the normally inaccessible rock face beneath the falls, although this is an extraordinarily dangerous undertaking; a single afternoon thunderstorm could restart the falls, sweeping the climbers off the face.

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Upper Yosemite Falls

Black Tailed Jackrabbit


Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) on the run! These large Hares have black tails and ear tips and absolutely stunning eyes! You will appreciate just how hard they are to see at the beginning of the video as they blend in with their habitat. Fortunate to have a rainstorm ending which brought out the animals in the late afternoon. Filmed in April 2017 at Merced National Wildlife Refuge, California. Enjoy!

The black-tailed jackrabbit has long ears with black tips and very long front and rear legs. It is about 18-24 inches long and weighs four to eight pounds. It has peppery brown fur and a black stripe that runs down its back. The black-tailed jackrabbit is not really a rabbit; it is a hare because its young are born with fur and with their eyes open. Males and females look alike, but females are usually larger.
The black-tailed jackrabbit can be found in the western United States from Washington south to California and east to Nebraska and Texas. It is an introduced species in Kentucky and New Jersey. 
The black-tailed jackrabbit can run at speeds of up to 30 miles an hour and it can jump a distance of about 20 feet. When it is trying to evade predators like coyotes, foxes, bobcats, badgers and weasels, it moves in a zig-zag pattern. It flashes the white underside of its tail when threatened by a predator. This warns other jackrabbits or danger and can also confuse the predator. It can also swim by dog-paddling with all four of its feet. It is most active at night. It usually spends the day resting in a scraped out hollow in the shade.
http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/blacktailedjack.htm

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Black Tailed Jackrabbit

American Avocet


American Avocet feeding and preening. An unusually beautiful and elegant shorebird with a long narrow upturned bill that it sweeps side to side in the shallows looking for food. Usually seen hanging out in numbers this was a rare loner at the Merced NWR, California.

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American Avocet

Friday, April 28, 2017

Duck In A Swimming Pool


Male Mallard Duck living the good life in the hotel swimming pool near Fresno, California. This fellow starts his day with a relaxing dip in the heated pool every morning before sunrise. There was a goose with him the day before, but he was the nervous type and quickly took off. Couldn't resist filming this guy!

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Duck In A Swimming Pool


Cute Baby Owl In Nest Box


Cute Owlet Watching the World! The eldest baby Eastern Screech Owlet - a red-morph female - is spending all day on the very edge of the nest box entrance watching the world go by. I'm sure she is leaving the box tonight - she's ready! These are the most inquisitive and observant owlets we've had - they are fascinated by other birds, squirrels and people passing by. Because Momma Squirrel grabbed the owls box - and then was killed and her kittens adopted I had to improvise by putting this squirrel box on the back of the house so there is no camera inside the box. Screech Owls are very adaptable to humans and often use holes in structures to make there nest so I've had the best luck simply putting the nest boxes under the gables and eves of the house and outbuildings.

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Baby Owl In Nest Box

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Marsh Wren Song


Marsh Wren singing his little heart out in a song strong enough to dominate the marsh soundscape of the Merced National Wildlife Refugee. This is characteristic habitat for these birds. These amazing little birds always surprise me with their energy and spirit. As far as Wrens go this wren is quite a bit more melodious than our Backyard resident House Wrens who tend to speak in gibberish!

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The thumbnail image of the house wren is in the public domain courtesy of:
https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/natdiglib/id/18493/rec/1

Marsh Wren Song

Western Meadowlark Song


The beautiful sounds of a Western Meadowlark singing it's song at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge near Merced, California. While visually quite similar to the eastern Meadowlark, the western Meadowlark's song is a little more intricate.
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Western Meadowlark Song

Friday, March 31, 2017

Mockingbird Poops on Cardinal's Food



This is why the Northern Cardinals parents can't have nice things! Northern Mockingbird and Brown Thrasher, two non-seed eaters check out the special Cardinal and Bunting food mix I got just for them and promptly leave their opinion - much to the dismay of Ms. Cardinal - her expression is priceless. I'm not much for poop jokes, but this is too bizarre to be a coincidence - this has to be some sort of Backyard Bird "smack talk". This is also a rare video of all three members of mimids (the bird family mimidae), Mockingbird, Thrasher and Catbird visiting the same spot within a few minutes of each other. At least the Catbird tried a few seeds and left without commenting!

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Mockingbird Poops on Cardinal's Food


Blue Jays and Cardinals - Extreme Close-Up


Close-up looks at gorgeous Northern Cardinals and Blue Jays - two of the most common, but most colorful North American Backyard Birds. Also some nice extended Cardinal Songs - a sure sign of spring!

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Blue Jays and Cardinals


Northern Harrier Hawks Passing Food in Mid-Air!




A pair of Northern Harrier Hawks (Hen Harriers or Marsh Hawks) pass food to each in an amazing aerial acrobatic display!  Harriers (Circus cyaneus)  fly low over the vast expanse of St Johns River Marshland in central Florida searching for prey they catch on the wing. Harrier's faces look a lot like owls and indeed they are one of the few hawks that use their hearing to hear and catch prey in the grass below. This mid-air feeding of the female is typical breeding behavior where the male feeds the female - except that Northern Harriers have not been documented breeding in Florida (see below) so I'm not exactly sure what is going on!

The Northern Harrier, formerly named the Marsh Hawk, breeds throughout much of Canada, the western and northwestern United States, and Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Habitat. The nest is placed on vegetation close to or on the ground, usually in a marsh. Three or 4 pale bluishwhite eggs are incubated 31 to 32 days, and young fledge in 30 to 35 days (Ehrlich et al. 1988).
Northern harriers feed on rodents, small birds, snakes, frogs, and large insects, which they startle or flush as they slowly quarter back and forth a few feet above the vegetation in old fields, pastures, and marshes.
Seasonal Occurrence. In the Big Bend region, Northern Harriers show a definite decrease between May and
June and increase again in July and August; these birds are termed migrants. Layne and Douglas (1976) reviewed a number of midsummer records of Northern Harriers in the extensive
prairie and improved pasture areas in south-central Florida and described them as summer residents or early fall migrants.
Status. The Northern Harrier is an abundant wintering species throughout most of Florida, but a rare summer resident. Howell (1932) reported that it "breeds sporadically in northern Florida" and described 3 nests; 1 on Orange Lake (Marion County) and 1 each at Micanopy and Paynes Prairie (Alachua County) all in the early year of this century. Layne and Douglas (1976) found no evidence of breeding for this species. Likewise, no records of confirmed
breeding were found during the Atlas period. The 4 "possible" and 3 "probable" records in north and central Florida leave unanswered the question, "Are Northern Harriers breeding in Florida"? 
http://legacy.myfwc.com/bba/docs/bba_noha.pdf

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Northern Harrier Hawks Passing Food in Mid-Air!


Mourning Dove Song Coo Call Sounds - Amazing Close-Up


Mourning Dove Cooing Sound - Extreme close-up! Did you know they make these haunting sounds through their nostrils? A gulp of air a big chest expansion and it comes out their nose. One of my favorite sounds in the Backyard this fellow gives us a rare closeup performance! 
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Mourning Dove Song Coo Call Sounds

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Video For Cats To Watch - Backyard Birds!


Backyard Birds for cats and people to enjoy!  North American birds you and your cat will love, Blue Jays, Cardinals, rare Painted Buntings, rare closeups of the Brown Thrasher (State Bird of Georgia) and more.

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Video For Cats To Watch - Backyard Birds!

Osprey Attacks Bald Eagle





Osprey Attacks Bald Eagle


Osprey versus Eagle. Territorial fight between our resident Osprey and encroaching Bald Eagle high above the Backyard. Like a fighter pilot scrambling to defend its territory the Osprey is always on high alert and lords over the conservation area with nest site and the small lake full of fish - he knows an eagle is trouble - so the best defense is a good offense!

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Osprey Attacks Bald Eagle

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mother Squirrel With Two Babies In Nest!


Mother Gray Squirrel sleeping with her two babies in the Screech Owl Nest Box. They should be opening their eyes any day now!
The video is sped up twice normal time.

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Mother Squirrel With Two Babies In Nest

Northern Cardinal Couple


The Cardinals are having a nice quiet private meal which is unusual in the Backyard Jungle. They are getting ready to start a family - its that time of year!

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Northern Cardinal

How To Change Casio Watch Batteries In Two Minutes!


Easy Hacks to replace Casio sport watch battery and most digital watch batteries fast, cheap and you wont mess up your watch - Two minutes start to finish! 

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How To Change Casio Watch Batteries



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Killdeer Nesting and Calling


Killdeer nesting and calling. This is classic windswept habitat for Killdeers - they are really hard to see against brown dirt and gravel and their nests are just depressions scraped into the ground.

Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
When not on the nest Killdeers are conspicuous and noisy,
hence, the specific name, vociferus. Like the Wilson's Plover, the broken-wing distraction display is highly developed in Killdeers and readily confirms breeding. The Killdeer breeds from Newfoundland, the south rim of Hudson Bay, and the southern Yukon and Northwest Territories south to central Mexico and the Gulf coast.
Habitat. The Killdeer inhabits both brackish and freshwater habitats and is perfectly at home in upland situations far from water. It prefers open areas with short or sparse vegetation, such as pastures, golf courses, airports, and extensive lawns. Killdeers will also nest on gravel parking lots and on rooftops. Food of the Killdeer consists of beetles and other insects and invertebrates, including arachnids, worms, snails, and crustaceans. The nest of the Killdeer is a shallow scrape, usually in bare sand or gravel, but occasionally among sparse vegetation. Four buffy eggs with black, brown, and gray markings are laid. The cryptic color of the eggs, adults and chicks enables them to avoid detection by predators. Incubation is performed by both sexes and takes 24 to 28 days. The young are precocial and leave the nest soon after hatching. They are usually accompanied by the parents until fledging at about 25 days (Ehrlich et al. 1988). Rooftop nesting can present a problem to Killdeer chicks because they must leave the roof to obtain food on the ground. Apparently they are successful at negotiating this, however, because Killdeers return to the same rooftop year after year.

Seasonal Occurrence. Most breeding occurs March through July. Fall migrants swell the Florida population Ju
through November, and spring migration occurs primarily in March and April. http://legacy.myfwc.com/bba/docs/bba_KILL.pdf

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Killdeer Nesting and Calling