Monday, September 18, 2017

Blue Jays Survive Hurricane Irma in Florida



Blue Jays Survive Hurricane Irma in Florida

The Backyard Blue Jays survived Hurricane Irma which was a category one when it passed the Backyard. A lot of trees de-leafed and blown down in the conservation area, but the birds and squirrels know how to survive. More on that later. But that's not to say they weren't hungry and happy for a friendly peanut when I got back home! Good to see them again.
New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c...


Blue Jays Survive Hurricane Irma in Florida



Blue Jays Survive Hurricane Irma in Florida


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Chipmunk Tries To Fit "Square Peg Into Round Hole"



Chipmunk Tries To Fit "Square Peg Into Round Hole"

Chipmunk collects corn cobs as trophies, but how does he get them into his burrow. Any human can relate to the trials and tribulations and frustrations this little fellow goes through - one also wonders what's going on in the cute things tiny little brain. Feel free to suggest other thought bubbles in the comments section! Filmed with great luck using two trail cameras once I found his corn cob decorated burrow entrance.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding



Chipmunk Tries To Fit "Square Peg Into Round Hole"


Chipmunk Tries To Fit "Square Peg Into Round Hole"

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Bizarre Fly Imitates A Hornet or Yellow Jacket



Video: Bizarre Fly Imitates A Hornet or Yellow Jacket

The Virginia Flower Fly or Yellow Jacket Hover Fly (Milesia virginiensis) is a bizarre fly that looks like a big scary hornet. In the south, it is sometimes called the 'good news bee' for its habit of hovering in front of a person "giving the news". It is also said to be good luck if one can get the insect to perch on a finger, no doubt because this is difficult to do. It mimics the southern YellowJacket as a defense mechanism - that works really well because when you see one of these you don't want to mess with it. I have only caught fleeting glimpses of this strange fly over the years, but here caught in the open on the deck it is making an aggressive hornet stand - lucky for it I know its secret. Despite its looks -once you realize what it is you should remember is is actually an important pollinator of flowers and not dangerous at all. Enjoy one of the more unique disguise adoptions of Nature and let them "Bee" - maybe they'll bring you luck.
New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c...


Virginia Flower Fly or Yellow Jacket Hover Fly



Video: Bizarre Fly Imitates A Hornet or Yellow Jacket

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Song Birds Pull Together After Hurricane Irma



Song Birds Pull Together After Hurricane Irma

After a rocking windy and rainy night of the remnants of Hurricane Irma passing through the Great Smoky Mountains its #Songbird strong this Morning! Daylight brought an unusual sense of camaraderie among the American Goldfinches, Juncos, Chickadees and other small birds. Six Goldfinches managed to squeeze together on what was left of the finch sock with no fuss or pushing and shoving and even the Dark Eyed Junco's were behaving themselves. A note: deciduous trees provide little shelter in high winds - little birds just love big dense arborvitae  trees for shelter from storms and nest building.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding



Song Birds Pull Together After Hurricane Irma

Song Birds Pull Together After Hurricane Irma


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Eye Of Hurricane Irma Passing Over Florida Keys - HI Res Radar Animation...



Eye Of Hurricane Irma Passing Over Florida Keys

HI-Res Doppler radar loop of Cat 4 Hurricane Irma's Eye passing over Key West and the Florida Keys this morning Sunday September 10, 2017. The Florida Backyard and its creatures are well away from the worst of Irma, but our thoughts are with those people and wildlife in her path. Radar imagery courtesy of NOAA NCEI and the dedicated NWS people keeping it running at the Key West NWS office.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding

Eye Of Hurricane Irma Passing Over Florida Keys - HI Res Radar Animation...

Eye Of Hurricane Irma Passing Over Florida Keys





Goldfinches Up close




Goldfinches Up close

A male American Goldfinch in all its splendor spends some quality time in front of the camera - taking a break from the Finch feeder. Summer is almost over and you can begin to see a little fading of the bright yellow that is the hallmark of these gorgeous little birds. The bad little birds acting up are Dark Eyed Junco's - starting to see a lot of them lately. They are cute little tubby birds in their own way.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding


Goldfinches Up close



Goldfinches Up close

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Chickadees!




Chickadee


Chickadees - just Chickadees for a change. A rare chance to have food to themselves except for one brief visitor. In the Great Smoky Mountains Black-capped and Carolina Chickadees ranges overlap and it can be a challenge to tell them apart. What type of Chickadees do you think these are?

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:

http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding








Monday, September 4, 2017

Squirrel Fight In The Forest




Squirrel Fight In The Forest

Short and violent - a Red Squirrel challenges another for dominance over a feeder by launching a sneak attack high in the forest of the Great Smoky Mountains. Only in slow motion can we appreciate these amazing animal athletes of the tree tops - they jump through the air with abandon - and they're not even flying squirrels.
New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c...

Squirrel Fight In The Forest
Squirrel Fight In The Forest

Squirrel Fight In The Forest




Sunday, September 3, 2017

Mourning Dove Deciding



Mourning Dove Deciding

A Mourning Dove is having quite the time deciding what little piece of root it wants - Its the end of August so I don't know what it wants to do with it - nest building is a little late. The Doves have been attracted to this digging site around a deck I'm fixing for some reason I thought maybe the clay or loose dirt. Doves tend to have an indecisive look about them anyway. It likes the real long root, but its still connected so the quest continues until it slowly walks away with just the perfect little piece of root.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove Deciding


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Bull Elk Enjoying A Sit Down Breakfast




Bull Elk Enjoying A Sit Down Breakfast



A bull Elk or Wapiti relaxing and enjoying a tasty breakfast of some sort of tree branch he has brought out into the open near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Happened upon this fellow while hiking - I have never seen a bull elk so mellow before although most are habituated to some degree to humans this is a little unusual. Of course I did not approach any nearer than my initial encounter - talked softly and then moved on. Although large this fellow is not big enough to seriously compete in the upcoming fall rut for the right to a harem maybe in a year or two.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding


Bull Elk



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Immature Eastern Towhee



Immature Eastern Towhee

This young female Eastern Towhee was captured in high resolution time lapse - sort of like stop motion by accident. There is a special guest appearance at the end of the video. This young bird has one of the cutest butts in the bird world and loves to hold its tail up high and that is what you see the most of in this video!

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding


Immature Eastern Towhee

Immature Eastern Towhee






Thursday, August 17, 2017

Young Bear Steals Bounce Ball





Young Bear Steals Bounce Ball



A young bear searching for bird food on the deck can't resist an Amazing Spider Man bounce ball - after all it says suitable for ages 3 and Up! This young male bear is facing his first full summer on his own and is probably around 3 years old. He is still really a kid at heart after first ignoring the bounce ball he decides to take it after all. I found it later deflated with numerous tooth holes in it. Such a sweet bear I hope he stays out of trouble.
New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding

Young Bear Steals Bounce Ball






Young Bear Steals Bounce Ball

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Blue Jay Breakfast Feeding Frenzy



Blue Jay Breakfast Feeding Frenzy

OH My - The Noise - 14 Blue Jays for Breakfast Peanuts! A bumper crop of babies means a record number of Backyard Blue Jays in Florida. You will notice a variety of adults and youngsters and some in various stages of molting their head feathers. You will also notice a wide variety of calls as they noisily congregate in the big oak tree next to the feeder. One is practicing its Red Shouldered Hawk call for future use. Blue Jays spread out into couples to mate and raise their young in spring then come together in extended family groups in late summer into winter. I have a feeling its going to be a wild winter in Backyard South this season - if I can afford to feed them!

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at: 
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c...

Blue Jay Breakfast Feeding Frenzy

Blue Jay Breakfast Feeding Frenzy

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Black Bellied Whistling Duck Call



Black Bellied Whistling Duck Call



The Black Bellied Whistling Duck making a full ear-splitting whistle call in extreme close-up. These are common ducks in Florida and their flock calls are a common sound at dusk in the Backyard, but these two beauties are in captivity and get along with humans just fine.

The black-bellied whistling duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), formerly also called black-bellied tree duck, is a whistling duck that breeds from the southernmost United States and tropical Central to south-central South America. In the USA, it can be found year-round in parts of southeast Texas, and seasonally in southeast Arizona, and Louisiana's Gulf Coast. It is a rare breeder in such disparate locations as Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina, though it is now a common breeder in parts of central Florida. There is a large population of several hundred that winter each year in Audubon Park in uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. Since it is one of only two whistling-duck species native to North America, it is occasionally just known as the "whistling duck" in the southern USA.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding

Black Bellied Whistling Duck Call

Black Bellied Whistling Duck Call



Young Hooded Merganser Ducks



Young Hooded Merganser Ducks



Juvenile Hooded Merganser Ducks diving for food give just a hint of the wildly colorful head dress and crests that come with adulthood. They are usually just winter visitors to Florida. These ducks are in captivity, but totally oblivious to humans and having a grand time.

Hooded Mergansers are fairly common on small ponds and rivers, where they dive for fish, crayfish, and other food, seizing it in their thin, serrated bills. They nest in tree cavities; the ducklings depart with a bold leap to the forest floor when only one day old.

Hooded Mergansers dive to catch aquatic insects, crayfish, and small fish. Males court females by expanding their white, sail-like crests and making very low, gravelly, groaning calls. Hooded Mergansers fly distinctively, with shallow, very rapid wingbeats.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:

http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding

Young Hooded Merganser Ducks






Young Hooded Merganser Ducks

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Friday, August 4, 2017

Black Bear - Breakfast On The Deck!



Good Morning - what's for breakfast?

Black Bear



Young male Black Bear now on his own makes a very rare daylight morning stop on the deck looking for food. Also a rare morning when the two trail cams are still running so we see the bear from three different cameras. Note the Eastern Towhees sounding the alarm calls - Blue Jays are not a big presence here so the Towhees are sort of the Backyard Watchouts.  I always put the bird food away at night and put it back up in morning - perhaps this bear is starting to figure that out. The fact that more bears have been showing up recently may mean that food is scarcer than usual up in the mountain forests. This should be berry-time!



New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:

http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding





Good Morning - what's for breakfast?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Potato Chip Blue Jays



Potato Chip Blue Jays

Potato Chip Blue Jays
Potato Chip Blue Jays

Spicy BBQ chips were too hot for us humans to enjoy, but surprisingly the Blue Jay family preferred them to bird seed mix, peanuts and sunflower seeds once they tried them! This was just a short experiment - I do not suggest feeding these ultra smart birds junk food. But it does speak to their intelligence that they find new food fascinating and are open to experimentation and apparently crave a little variety. Although it it said birds do not experience "taste" as we do - one wonders?



New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:

http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding




Potato Chip Blue Jays

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.



New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:

http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding

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


New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:

http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding

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......



New videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding





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

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:

http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding






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.
New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding

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!
New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding

American Goldfinch


New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding

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.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:
http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding


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



New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:

http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding




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.



New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at:

http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=MyBackyardBirding


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!
New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at: 

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.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at: 

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.
New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at: 

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.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at: 

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
New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at: 



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.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at: 


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

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at: 




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.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at: 

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

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at: 

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.

New HD videos uploaded frequently. Subscribe at: 


American Avocet