Tag Archives: birds

flocking formations

I took quite a lot of photos on my excursion into Boston yesterday. While many of them were to document historic monuments for my son’s scrapbook project, I naturally took a bunch of things that caught my eye. Something that definitely caught my attention was the flocking behavior of some pigeons. It was fascinating to watch them swoop and turn as a mass. The first flock we saw, I barely managed to get a couple of shots with my phone before the pigeons decided to perch on a rooftop.

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A couple of hours later, a flock caught my eye when my real camera was at the ready.

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At the end of the day, I was amused to see this one little guy on the underground platform at Back Bay Station, apparently waiting for the same train we were. I can only assume that the flock was getting on his nerves, and he decided to fly solo for a bit (as it were).

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Tonight I am grateful both for having a flock to be a part of (my friends and family), but also be able to have some time alone to do my own thing.

bird’s eye views

The kids and I got good use of our zoo membership in the last few weeks before the zoo closed for the colder months. Here are some of the views of birds’ eyes that I captured with my phone.


Victoria crowned pigeon.


A curious adolescent emu.


A bright-feathered budgie.

kookaburra’s perch (friday foto finder: perch)

This week’s friday foto finder theme is “perch .” I had a few candidates (mostly other birds) picked out last night, but this guy popped up as a winner due to his appearance in a conversation I had during my lab meeting. Okay, not this guy. But a kookaburra. Or at least a song about a kookaburra.

I didn’t hear about it when it happened, but apparently Men at Work was sued a few years ago for copyright infringement for their song Down Under. Not the whole song, but a few notes of the song. There’s a flute solo that plays a few notes from the song “Kookaburra,” the Australian popular folk song. It was actually written in 1932, and currently the rights are owned by a now unpopular record company. Men at Work lost the lawsuit, and now must pay a share of their royalties for the song to the record company.

This kookaburra sits in cage in a zoo, and does not collect any royalties from either song.

To see what other photos are perched for this week’s friday foto finder, and/or to share your own, head down under to the fff blog.

turkey, duck, chicken (but not turducken)

Here are 3 pretty birds I’ve come across in recent years. (I did not eat any of them.)


Turkey.


Duck.


Chicken.

blueberry eggs

A few years ago, at our favorite local farm to go blueberry picking, I came across a hint of blue among the leaves of a blueberry bush that was a different hue of blue than the rest of the blueberrires. There were also bits of yellow and pink and fluffy gray that were most definitely like blueberry-like.

When I first starting poking through the bush, as one does when picking blueberries, my rustling of the leaves woke up one of the little guys. It’s not in focus, but I’m amused by the wide open yellow-orange mouth.

Realizing soon enough that I was not going to drop any tasty grubs into the open mouth, the little one went back to sleep.

I was very careful not to get too close the nest with my hands or my camera, but my zoom let me see up close. I was very impressed by the tidy little nest.

I’m not sure what sort of birds these are, I wonder if they might be Eastern Bluebirds. (I didn’t get to see the mama.)

A short while later, I came across another clump of not-blueberries in another bush. This time, the baby birds were clearly older, and possibly a different type of bird altogether.

These guys were looking a little crowded in their nest.

The rows of blueberry bushes were covered by netting to keep out the birds, but clearly not all the birds had taken that hint that they weren’t welcome. I was happy to see them, though!

A case of mistaken identity? (friday foto finder: prey)

Living in the woods as we do, it is not uncommon for small animals to visit us on our deck. We typically see lots of birds (chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals, etc.) as well as squirrels and chipmunks. When I heard a scrabbling sound at the sliding door a few days ago, I naturally thought it was a squirrel or a small bird. I was surprised, though, to see a bird of a substantially larger size: a hawk. I couldn’t get a good look at it. It flew off before I even had a chance to grab for a camera. I imagined that it had been there in pursuit of one of the typical smaller visitors.

A while later, I heard the sound again, and saw the hawk at the glass door. I grabbed my phone, but it flew off again by the time I moved closer. I went over to the door, and saw the hawk perched on a deck chair. I then noticed that Phoebe had left a sweater, one with zebra-striped fur details, on a box next to the slider. It occurred to me that the black and white mottled pattern might be attracting the hawk, perhaps resembling the pattern of feathers on chickens. There are lots of homes with backyard chickens in my neighborhood, and hawks are regular predators. This sweater may well have looked like potential prey.

I decided to leave the sweater, in hopes that the hawk would return. It did, quite a few times, though it rarely stayed at the window long enough for me to get a photo. I did catch it flying off to other nearby perches a few times.

As it flew away, I noticed that it spread its impressive black and white striped tail, giving me an alternative hypothesis: perhaps the sweater resembled another bird of prey, a competitor for the territory.

After a few visits from the hawk, I decided to keep my camera ready with my telephoto lens. (That’s how I managed to get that first photo, the one of the hawk peeking in through the chair legs.) I also got a few photos of the hawk perched in nearby trees.

Yesterday, in the early evening, I heard a scrabbling sound on the front porch. (The deck is at the back of the house.) As I walked into the dining room, I was startled by the flash of the hawk flying past the window. “It’s the hawk again!” I exclaimed loudly. Phoebe then asked, “Why do you keep calling it the hawk?” Then I explained that I was assuming that all of our recent hawk visits at the back deck had been from the same hawk. I grabbed my camera with telephoto lens, and was happy to see the hawk perched in a tree. Right over another hawk perched in the same tree.

It was hard to focus in the dim evening light, especially through the layers of branches. The hawks also didn’t stay put for long.

I now have a strong suspicion that these hawks are nesting somewhere near the house. I have been hearing them regularly. Just now, I heard some hawk cries, and opened the front door and saw a hawk flying away from the porch. (I didn’t have a camera on me…)

I think these may be Cooper’s hawks, but if someone else has a better idea, I’d be interested to hear it.

This week’s friday foto finder theme was “prey.” These birds of prey are higher on the food chain, and probably aren’t typically prey. But they certainly came to mind for the theme. To see what prey have been caught by others, pay a vist to the fff blog.

sporting a feathery crown (friday foto finder: crane)

The African crowned cranes at my local zoo are remarkably photogenic. They were quite cooperative posing for me earlier this year, showing off their striking crowns of feathers.


Striking a pose.


Craning to look at me?


Bending over for a drink.


Showing off its height and wingspan.


Enjoying the mid-day sun. (This photo was taken a few years before the others, which were from earlier this year. I notice that this crane has darker neck feathers, and a smaller crown. I wonder whether this is a black crowned crane, and the photos above of a gray crowned crane.)

Friday’s friday foto finder challenge was to share a photo of a crane While my first interpretation of this polysemous word was of the bird, I was almost certain that I wouldn’t have any photos of this sort of crane in my archives. I knew, however, that I had loads of photos of construction cranes and shipping cargo cranes. But a bit of poking back through my old photos triggered some memories of a variety of cranes I had encountered.

To see what cranes others found, pay a visit to the fff blog.