Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

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RetiredAL
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by RetiredAL »

dratkinson wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:36 pm
RetiredAL wrote: Wed Jun 02, 2021 11:12 pm Geese having a honky-tonk...... There are more geese around the lake I walk at than normal. I suspect with the drought that their grassy feeding areas are turning dry so they are likely congregating at parks like this where they can snack on the green grass lawns. Zoom in and follow the shore as it turns right. There is a hundred yards of geese.
Along one of my bike routes through the neighborhood, I've have often noticed a few ducks sitting under a tree at a house (small houses on a cul-de-sac, very small front yard). They've been doing this for many years.

Asked the neighbor, "Why?". They said they think it started several years back when their neighbor (2nd neighbor) was feeding birds cracked corn (from Murdock's), and the ducks wanted in. Eventually squirrels joined in, so 2nd neighbor stopped feeding the birds to get rid of the squirrels, but they (1st neighbor) liked the ducks so moved the patch of cracked corn and ducks to their front yard for all to enjoy. Say they've had ~70 ducks some winters when other grassy areas are snow covered.

Didn't think to ask about troubles with foxes and coyotes.
--Guessing the ducks feed there during the day, then retire to an aerated pond (ice free patches) to sleep over night.
--Foxes only seem to come through the neighborhood after dark.
--Coyotes seem to avoid housing areas, but do frequent the nearby trails and open spaces.
These are what I call "city geese". They are here all year round. They are very people compliant. You can easily get within a couple of feet to them. For the most part, their diet is the park's lawn grasses. Will they eat what you give them, sure, but most do not come up to you begging like the ducks do. IMO, Canadian Geese are a herd animal, grazing on any tender growth they can find, and a lawn will do just fine.

Besides the city Mallard Ducks, there are maybe a dozen of what we commonly call domesticated ducks - all white and much larger than a Mallard. One of these white ducks, if you are sitting at a bench or table, will very gently come up to you and pull on you pants leg to let you know it's there.

This group of geese was all adults. The juveniles and their parents, about 1/2 the number in this photo, were in another area of the park.

During the winter, there are a lot more Coots and Griebes about than during summer. It's hard to think of a Coot as distance flyer, but they must be.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by Sandtrap »

hi_there wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:32 pm We saw this night heron over the weekend. They are nocturnal, so rarely seen during the day!

Image
What a beautiful bird.
Thanks for posting the picture.

Mahalo
j :D
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TN_Boy
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by TN_Boy »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 2:56 pm
hi_there wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 10:06 am
Sandtrap wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 8:53 am
hi_there wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 10:21 pm Very inspiring pictures in this thread! Here are some of the migrating birds we saw over the weekend. Plus, lots of the normal bird feeder varieties. Sorry for large photos (not sure how to change the size here).
Incredible photos!!!

Did you take those shots yourself?
What camera and lens?

Thanks!
j :D
That is great praise coming from you. These are photos I took last weekend using Canon 6D Mk1 and Tamron 150-600mm G2. I am happy with the results, but still have lots to learn.
DW has has a Canon 1D with a Sigma 150-600 on a Benro Carbon Fiber Gimbal Head and tripod for wildlife and even with that setup, it's so tough to get the depth of field and sharpness right on moving subjects. That last one with the 2 birds was a tough one to get. Awesome composition and angles make it so dynamic!
Congratulations.
j :D
Sandtrap,

Given your expertise, I'm guessing you already know all this but here are some things I think I know about BIF pictures. I have a Nikon d7500 (crop sensor) and usually a Tamron 100-400 lens on it (effective focal length of 600, or 12x magnification).

1) I want a shutter speed of 2000 or better. 1600 can work with larger birds if they are not moving fast near you. 1250 starts to
get iffy if the bird is actually flying.
2) I tend to shoot at f8.0, but that is partly because the Tamron is sharper at 8.0 than wide open (6.3 only at 400mm). Often I'd rather
shoot wider for a shallower depth of field. 8.0 with a crop sensor will pretty much always get you enough depth of field ...
often more than I'd like.
3) I shoot in manual with auto-iso, so I pick the shutter speed and watch the ISO to see how bad it is getting.
4) Birds that are white, or have lots of white require careful attention to metering, or you'll blow the highlights every single time
when it is sunny.
5) I don't know the Canon autofocus modes. On the Nikons, I find group mode works best for most BIF. I'll drop to dynamic AF-area mode
with 9 or 21 points if group mode is not working well.
6) Always always in burst mode. If the critter is moving around a bit I'll fire a burst and see which ones are best ... and obviously when in
flight I'm shooting bursts. My Nikon gets 8 fps. Good by dSLR standards, the mirrorless are faster :-)
7) Personally I find back-button focus with the shutter release only taking the picture works well. While the back-button is held down,
you are of course continuously focusing. This setup change makes it a lot easier for action/wildlife shots I think.
8) Lens dependent, but once the shutter speeds get high (say over 1000) the images are sharper with VR turned off on my Tamron (this
is not unusual, as I understand it; many lenses are like that).

Note that with those shutter speeds, you don't need a tripod for stability.

If the bird is not moving, I'll shoot with a shutter speed of (min) 320 to 500 (unless it is bright and I can go faster) to get the ISO lower. And for
shots of birds just sitting there, I tend to shoot in single-point AF area, with the focus point right on the eye.

Note that the ideal settings for birds just hanging out and birds in flight are quite different (at least for me and my equipment).

Sometimes I practice trying to get shots of flycatchers in flight .... I don't get many good shots (those birds are generally too small and fast both for me and the autofocus on the Tamron) but it makes trying to get a Blue Heron, Egret, and slightly smaller BIFs in flight seem kinda easy .....

My lens is okay but not awesome for birding. I'd like a touch more reach, faster autofocus, and more importantly, I wish for a lens that was 5.6 or wider at full zoom. Of course, long fast telephotos lenses are $$$ and heavy. My rig does let me roam around all day.

I'm curious what settings hi_there uses.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by Sandtrap »

TN_Boy wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 9:31 am
Sandtrap wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 2:56 pm
hi_there wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 10:06 am
Sandtrap wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 8:53 am
hi_there wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 10:21 pm Very inspiring pictures in this thread! Here are some of the migrating birds we saw over the weekend. Plus, lots of the normal bird feeder varieties. Sorry for large photos (not sure how to change the size here).
Incredible photos!!!

Did you take those shots yourself?
What camera and lens?

Thanks!
j :D
That is great praise coming from you. These are photos I took last weekend using Canon 6D Mk1 and Tamron 150-600mm G2. I am happy with the results, but still have lots to learn.
DW has has a Canon 1D with a Sigma 150-600 on a Benro Carbon Fiber Gimbal Head and tripod for wildlife and even with that setup, it's so tough to get the depth of field and sharpness right on moving subjects. That last one with the 2 birds was a tough one to get. Awesome composition and angles make it so dynamic!
Congratulations.
j :D
Sandtrap,

Given your expertise, I'm guessing you already know all this but here are some things I think I know about BIF pictures. I have a Nikon d7500 (crop sensor) and usually a Tamron 100-400 lens on it (effective focal length of 600, or 12x magnification).

1) I want a shutter speed of 2000 or better. 1600 can work with larger birds if they are not moving fast near you. 1250 starts to
get iffy if the bird is actually flying.
2) I tend to shoot at f8.0, but that is partly because the Tamron is sharper at 8.0 than wide open (6.3 only at 400mm). Often I'd rather
shoot wider for a shallower depth of field. 8.0 with a crop sensor will pretty much always get you enough depth of field ...
often more than I'd like.
3) I shoot in manual with auto-iso, so I pick the shutter speed and watch the ISO to see how bad it is getting.
4) Birds that are white, or have lots of white require careful attention to metering, or you'll blow the highlights every single time
when it is sunny.
5) I don't know the Canon autofocus modes. On the Nikons, I find group mode works best for most BIF. I'll drop to dynamic AF-area mode
with 9 or 21 points if group mode is not working well.
6) Always always in burst mode. If the critter is moving around a bit I'll fire a burst and see which ones are best ... and obviously when in
flight I'm shooting bursts. My Nikon gets 8 fps. Good by dSLR standards, the mirrorless are faster :-)
7) Personally I find back-button focus with the shutter release only taking the picture works well. While the back-button is held down,
you are of course continuously focusing. This setup change makes it a lot easier for action/wildlife shots I think.
8) Lens dependent, but once the shutter speeds get high (say over 1000) the images are sharper with VR turned off on my Tamron (this
is not unusual, as I understand it; many lenses are like that).

Note that with those shutter speeds, you don't need a tripod for stability.

If the bird is not moving, I'll shoot with a shutter speed of (min) 320 to 500 (unless it is bright and I can go faster) to get the ISO lower. And for
shots of birds just sitting there, I tend to shoot in single-point AF area, with the focus point right on the eye.

Note that the ideal settings for birds just hanging out and birds in flight are quite different (at least for me and my equipment).

Sometimes I practice trying to get shots of flycatchers in flight .... I don't get many good shots (those birds are generally too small and fast both for me and the autofocus on the Tamron) but it makes trying to get a Blue Heron, Egret, and slightly smaller BIFs in flight seem kinda easy .....

My lens is okay but not awesome for birding. I'd like a touch more reach, faster autofocus, and more importantly, I wish for a lens that was 5.6 or wider at full zoom. Of course, long fast telephotos lenses are $$$ and heavy. My rig does let me roam around all day.

I'm curious what settings hi_there uses.
Great points!
Thanks so much for the awesome info.
I didn't think about the "back focus" change. Critters, let alone birds, are so tough to get the eyes razor sharp, (as recommended by Sartore at Nat Geo).
Depth of field is a tough one to get a handle on, especially at manual modes, let the ISO run free as you say which works great, and keeping the "f" at the lowest yet within the lenses sweet spot.
DW and I have only been getting into critters for the past 5 years so it's all new to us and tremendously rewarding as a "hobby" just for ourselves and the purity of a photographer (vs absolutely boring product and commercial photography "which we no longer do much at all").
The alternative I've been looking at is a faster Canon "L" zoom but they are so pricey at $12k that it's hard to wrap my head around.

I've looked into the incoming Sony RX10 MK V, but still hard to justify another "toy" with only a 1" sensor.

Birding is absolutely new to me, but being a Newb is so much fun. Learning new things.
Enjoy your posts and I'll forward your cool list of tips to DW. (she's the expert!)
Mahalo Nui Loa
jim :D

PS: I'm so slow, it took me awhile to realize that "BIF" means "Birds In Flight". Duh!!
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TN_Boy
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by TN_Boy »

Sandtrap wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 9:59 am
TN_Boy wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 9:31 am
Sandtrap wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 2:56 pm
hi_there wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 10:06 am
Sandtrap wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 8:53 am
Incredible photos!!!

Did you take those shots yourself?
What camera and lens?

Thanks!
j :D
That is great praise coming from you. These are photos I took last weekend using Canon 6D Mk1 and Tamron 150-600mm G2. I am happy with the results, but still have lots to learn.
DW has has a Canon 1D with a Sigma 150-600 on a Benro Carbon Fiber Gimbal Head and tripod for wildlife and even with that setup, it's so tough to get the depth of field and sharpness right on moving subjects. That last one with the 2 birds was a tough one to get. Awesome composition and angles make it so dynamic!
Congratulations.
j :D
Sandtrap,

Given your expertise, I'm guessing you already know all this but here are some things I think I know about BIF pictures. I have a Nikon d7500 (crop sensor) and usually a Tamron 100-400 lens on it (effective focal length of 600, or 12x magnification).

1) I want a shutter speed of 2000 or better. 1600 can work with larger birds if they are not moving fast near you. 1250 starts to
get iffy if the bird is actually flying.
2) I tend to shoot at f8.0, but that is partly because the Tamron is sharper at 8.0 than wide open (6.3 only at 400mm). Often I'd rather
shoot wider for a shallower depth of field. 8.0 with a crop sensor will pretty much always get you enough depth of field ...
often more than I'd like.
3) I shoot in manual with auto-iso, so I pick the shutter speed and watch the ISO to see how bad it is getting.
4) Birds that are white, or have lots of white require careful attention to metering, or you'll blow the highlights every single time
when it is sunny.
5) I don't know the Canon autofocus modes. On the Nikons, I find group mode works best for most BIF. I'll drop to dynamic AF-area mode
with 9 or 21 points if group mode is not working well.
6) Always always in burst mode. If the critter is moving around a bit I'll fire a burst and see which ones are best ... and obviously when in
flight I'm shooting bursts. My Nikon gets 8 fps. Good by dSLR standards, the mirrorless are faster :-)
7) Personally I find back-button focus with the shutter release only taking the picture works well. While the back-button is held down,
you are of course continuously focusing. This setup change makes it a lot easier for action/wildlife shots I think.
8) Lens dependent, but once the shutter speeds get high (say over 1000) the images are sharper with VR turned off on my Tamron (this
is not unusual, as I understand it; many lenses are like that).

Note that with those shutter speeds, you don't need a tripod for stability.

If the bird is not moving, I'll shoot with a shutter speed of (min) 320 to 500 (unless it is bright and I can go faster) to get the ISO lower. And for
shots of birds just sitting there, I tend to shoot in single-point AF area, with the focus point right on the eye.

Note that the ideal settings for birds just hanging out and birds in flight are quite different (at least for me and my equipment).

Sometimes I practice trying to get shots of flycatchers in flight .... I don't get many good shots (those birds are generally too small and fast both for me and the autofocus on the Tamron) but it makes trying to get a Blue Heron, Egret, and slightly smaller BIFs in flight seem kinda easy .....

My lens is okay but not awesome for birding. I'd like a touch more reach, faster autofocus, and more importantly, I wish for a lens that was 5.6 or wider at full zoom. Of course, long fast telephotos lenses are $$$ and heavy. My rig does let me roam around all day.

I'm curious what settings hi_there uses.
Great points!
Thanks so much for the awesome info.
I didn't think about the "back focus" change. Critters, let alone birds, are so tough to get the eyes razor sharp, (as recommended by Sartore at Nat Geo).
Depth of field is a tough one to get a handle on, especially at manual modes, let the ISO run free as you say which works great, and keeping the "f" at the lowest yet within the lenses sweet spot.
DW and I have only been getting into critters for the past 5 years so it's all new to us and tremendously rewarding as a "hobby" just for ourselves and the purity of a photographer (vs absolutely boring product and commercial photography "which we no longer do much at all").
The alternative I've been looking at is a faster Canon "L" zoom but they are so pricey at $12k that it's hard to wrap my head around.

I've looked into the incoming Sony RX10 MK V, but still hard to justify another "toy" with only a 1" sensor.

Birding is absolutely new to me, but being a Newb is so much fun. Learning new things.
Enjoy your posts and I'll forward your cool list of tips to DW. (she's the expert!)
Mahalo Nui Loa
jim :D

PS: I'm so slow, it took me awhile to realize that "BIF" means "Birds In Flight". Duh!!
Your spouse probably knows all this too, likely better than me :-).

The big things for me to get BIF was the back button focus with continuous autofocus when held down (which I switched to about three years ago), getting the shutter speed right and understanding the Nikon autofocus modes. That and just shooting at f8 most of the time (which is often not ideal, but gets you depth of field and good sharpness on my lens).

(Esoteric) Note that on my Nikon, since the Tamron can only open to 6.3 when zoomed out (and that's probably true for the Sigma you are using) some of the autofocus sensors may be partially blocked. So for a fast moving target, I about have to be using the focus points in the middle. If the lens was faster I'd have a little better autofocus firepower.

Oh, one more thought. Set the focus limiter switch for BIFs. Then if you lose a faster bird it will re-acquire quicker. The autofocus speed on my Tamron is probably the weakest link in my setup. It's okay but not outstanding; certainly can't match a good prime.

I do recommend BIF practice on seagulls and smaller birds :-). Seagulls are great because they are moderate size, moderate speed. It's free and fun!

And of course, you always want more reach and a wider aperture .... but the really good glass is not just $$$, it is heavy. So I don't own any :-)
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by LadyGeek »

^^^ Acronym decoder: BIF = Bird In Flight

Due to hot weather last week, I didn't refill my suet feeder. This morning, a red-belly woodpecker was hanging on my seed feeder rapidly chowing down the seeds. I restocked the suet feeder.

I'm used to removing the suet feeder for the summer, but now I'm not so sure.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by jebmke »

LadyGeek wrote: Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:58 am I'm used to removing the suet feeder for the summer, but now I'm not so sure.
They will come to it all summer if it is out. I pull our suet when the weather warms up because it tends to mold easily. We still get Downy and Red Bellied WPs coming to the seed feeder (a bit awkward for them but they work it out). Later this summer I'll stop the seed as well since we have so much natural food around us. Gives me a chance to clean and sanitize the feeders and get ready for fall.

Due to warm winter and no snow I have two large bags of seed left over from winter.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by LadyGeek »

Thanks. My suet is marked "Year Round" and I thought that meant it was OK for hot weather. I'll pull the suet feeder after this one runs out.

I do keep an eye on the seed feeders and clean them out when needed.
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TN_Boy
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by TN_Boy »

Sandtrap wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 7:46 am
hi_there wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:32 pm We saw this night heron over the weekend. They are nocturnal, so rarely seen during the day!

Image
What a beautiful bird.
Thanks for posting the picture.

Mahalo
j :D
I really like that picture.

I've seen a Yellow crowned night heron recently, but have not seen a Black crowned night heron in my area.

With summer near we are seeing the usual southern songbirds. I've seen moderately unusual (for my area) migratory birds like Lesser Scaup ducks, a Spotted Sandpiper (though I'm well inland), etc.

Before spring hit, I was seeing some gulls (usually Ring-billed gulls) in my area on the lakes.

Year round we have the Blue Heron, Green Heron, Ospreys, etc. I never get tired of watching Osprey's hunt. We also have bald eagles; got a good look at one the other day.

[Edited to add]. And just recently started seeing Ruby-throated hummingbirds. May is usually when they appear for us.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by Jeepergeo »

I really need to get the Black Niger Seed feeder up....we enjoy the Gold Fenches it seems to attract.

Lately, there has been a beautiful pair of Coopers Hawks hanging about and that tends to put the other local birds on high alert. The other day, we saw the Coopers Hawk grab a rat...it was really interesting to see the hunt, the grab, and the consumption of the rat.

The suet feeders are starting to melt and make a mess. As soon as these are done, well put the holders away for the summer.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by JAZZISCOOL »

Jeepergeo wrote: Sat Jun 05, 2021 9:32 am I really need to get the Black Niger Seed feeder up....we enjoy the Gold Fenches it seems to attract.

Lately, there has been a beautiful pair of Coopers Hawks hanging about and that tends to put the other local birds on high alert. The other day, we saw the Coopers Hawk grab a rat...it was really interesting to see the hunt, the grab, and the consumption of the rat.

The suet feeders are starting to melt and make a mess. As soon as these are done, well put the holders away for the summer.
I've been getting quite a few goldfinches at the nyjer feeder.

My dog has some sort of instinct about Cooper's Hawks and always chases them away and barks at them LOL.

I just loaded up my new suet feeder. It is a squirrel buster model; the suet doesn't melt under the "roof" and it's in a shady spot. The smaller birds enjoy it. Suet tip: I keep it in the freezer so it's not as messy.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by tonysk »

Just returned from Guatemala where we saw the resplendent quetzal in its natural habitat of the cloud forests above Lake Atitlan.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by Sandtrap »

Mrs. Wren successfully raised 3 chicks in our front porch rafters after her annual late winter/spring return to our area.
Yesterday, the last "youngun'" took flight.
There are about 4 large Wren nests in the stable building/barn as well. Thru the season, the sounds of them singing and chirping fill the air.
j :D

(online pics, not my pics).
Image

Image
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by jebmke »

Sandtrap wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 6:49 am There are about 4 large Wren nests in the stable building/barn as well.
House Wrens build multiple nests and then select one for actual use. It can be a real pain when they decide to take over our Bluebird Boxes for the fake nests but recently they seem to have settled on the unused Purple Martin house for their main nest and tree cavities for their decoys.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by Sandtrap »

jebmke wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 7:22 am
Sandtrap wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 6:49 am There are about 4 large Wren nests in the stable building/barn as well.
House Wrens build multiple nests and then select one for actual use. It can be a real pain when they decide to take over our Bluebird Boxes for the fake nests but recently they seem to have settled on the unused Purple Martin house for their main nest and tree cavities for their decoys.
Decoy nests.
Cool
Did not know that.

j🌺
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by JAZZISCOOL »

jebmke wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 7:22 am
Sandtrap wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 6:49 am There are about 4 large Wren nests in the stable building/barn as well.
House Wrens build multiple nests and then select one for actual use. It can be a real pain when they decide to take over our Bluebird Boxes for the fake nests but recently they seem to have settled on the unused Purple Martin house for their main nest and tree cavities for their decoys.
Interesting that they do that. The Barn Swallows are currently nesting on my porch in a nest from last year. It seems they arrived later than usual.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by stilts1007 »

I saw my first Yellow-Breasted Chat last week at one of the forest preserves here in NE Illinois. Really cool-looking bird that makes some crazy noises. I heard it at first and had no idea what to make of the sounds I was hearing.

From allaboutbirds.com: "Males have a large repertoire of songs made up of whistles, cackles, mews, catcalls, caw notes, chuckles, rattles, squawks, gurgles, and pops, which they repeat and string together with great variety."

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Yel ... ed_Chat/id

I took Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Warbler Identification course online this spring prior to warblers coming through the area and it was amazing how much easier I was able to ID them from audio and visual clues this migration season. Will be looking forward to spotting some more this fall (on "hard mode" since most of them will be out of breeding plumage).
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by jebmke »

stilts1007 wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:57 am I took Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Warbler Identification course online this spring prior to warblers coming through the area and it was amazing how much easier I was able to ID them from audio and visual clues this migration season. Will be looking forward to spotting some more this fall (on "hard mode" since most of them will be out of breeding plumage).
That course sounds interesting. I'll have to see if they run it again. Spring warblers are often heard and not seen. Over time we have been able to isolate the songs but my hearing is not what it used to be so sometimes I can't hear anything - especially higher pitched whispery songs (e.g. Parula or Gnatcatcher). They also have some variations within a species and regional dialects can be confounding if the migration path shifts suddenly. But it is tough to pick out and even the experts get it wrong.

In addition to sight and sound, it is also helpful to learn the habitat - that helps narrow down what a bird "might be" based on typical habitat.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by JAZZISCOOL »

stilts1007 wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:57 am I saw my first Yellow-Breasted Chat last week at one of the forest preserves here in NE Illinois. Really cool-looking bird that makes some crazy noises. I heard it at first and had no idea what to make of the sounds I was hearing.

From allaboutbirds.com: "Males have a large repertoire of songs made up of whistles, cackles, mews, catcalls, caw notes, chuckles, rattles, squawks, gurgles, and pops, which they repeat and string together with great variety."

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Yel ... ed_Chat/id

I took Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Warbler Identification course online this spring prior to warblers coming through the area and it was amazing how much easier I was able to ID them from audio and visual clues this migration season. Will be looking forward to spotting some more this fall (on "hard mode" since most of them will be out of breeding plumage).
Cool! I've never seen one but fun to listen to on the above link. :beer
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by hi_there »

jebmke wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 7:22 am
Sandtrap wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 6:49 am There are about 4 large Wren nests in the stable building/barn as well.
House Wrens build multiple nests and then select one for actual use. It can be a real pain when they decide to take over our Bluebird Boxes for the fake nests but recently they seem to have settled on the unused Purple Martin house for their main nest and tree cavities for their decoys.
Interesting. I think this is exactly what the bird in our house is doing. They have a real nest in a box outside the window, but have also been occupying the blue bird house that I installed. That cost money. What a jerk.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by GG1273 »

JAZZISCOOL wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 9:20 am
stilts1007 wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:57 am I saw my first Yellow-Breasted Chat last week at one of the forest preserves here in NE Illinois. Really cool-looking bird that makes some crazy noises. I heard it at first and had no idea what to make of the sounds I was hearing.

From allaboutbirds.com: "Males have a large repertoire of songs made up of whistles, cackles, mews, catcalls, caw notes, chuckles, rattles, squawks, gurgles, and pops, which they repeat and string together with great variety."

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Yel ... ed_Chat/id

I took Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Warbler Identification course online this spring prior to warblers coming through the area and it was amazing how much easier I was able to ID them from audio and visual clues this migration season. Will be looking forward to spotting some more this fall (on "hard mode" since most of them will be out of breeding plumage).
Cool! I've never seen one but fun to listen to on the above link. :beer
Went a bit south of us to the Rutgers University area to see a Chat today, we're a bit north of their range and I was joined by a group of birders (all getting there same time this morning, but didn't know any of the other people).
Didn't sing too much - but a beauty when making the appearance.

Spot is also well known for Grasshopper Sparrows - not common in NJ either, but had at least 6 different individuals singing along the field edge trail. A single Blue Grosbeak - more common south of us, was also there.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

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This morning I saw 4 wonderful Snowy Egrets (fun to watch fly) and a couple of Double-crested Cormorants. A couple days ago I saw 2 Great Blue Herons.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by Hubris »

Western Tanagers are here, glorious! Have had them for about 5 days. This year they are a month or so later than arrival last year and much more plentiful although we saw them on nearby trails over last few weeks.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

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A happy sighting today; woke from a nap on my screened porch to see my dog (next to me) staring fixedly at something in the backyard. Turned out to be a wild turkey hen and about 6 fuzzy grey babies. Mom ambled slowly from the lawn into a wooded area with them trailing along in a tipsy line behind her. Other than a larger flock that passed through years ago, only the second time I've seen turkeys on my property.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by sevenseas »

Regarding house wrens:

For the first time since I bought my house (2017), the Eastern bluebirds didn't return to nest in my backyard boxes (2 paired). I believe this is because I made the mistake of letting house wrens use one of the boxes last season (should've realized this was a bad idea when they destroyed the first clutch of bluebird eggs).

House wrens have high nest fidelity (once they use a nesting site they will be back forever after) and don't just build dummy nests; they will aggressively destroy other nests in their territory (pecking at eggs or young chicks, building their nests atop others even with eggs or chicks within, rarely even killing the adult birds). This year I ended up taping shut the nest box entrances to prevent them from using them. They have a wider nesting habitat than bluebirds or other cavity-nesting species so should be fine to move elsewhere. I will also move the boxes further away from shrubbery (wren habitat) and more into the open lawn area (bluebird habitat) next year. I do feel a bit guilty about it as the wren pair hung around the boxes for days and days...I first kept removing partly built nests (no eggs; they are a protected species so that would be a no-no) and tried to leave the door open but that didn't dissuade them. They are cute adorable little things; looking at them you'd never think they could be such bully birds!
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

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Wild Turkey and family in the Waikii Ranch mountain estates on the Big Island of Hawaii.
My brother's place.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by chuckb84 »

Tanagers, lots and lots of Towhees, a few bluebirds, many redheaded wrens and a cooper's hawk who showed up while I was sitting 30 feet away from his landing spot. He left, and then all the other birds came back!
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by Sheepdog »

Sheepdog wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 12:51 pm
Sheepdog wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 12:27 pm Yesterday a pale green parakeet was seen on my platform feeder eating the few seeds remaining. I watched for an hour or so, then went out to add more seeds there. He/She returned and remained off and on till dark. This morning the beauty was back. The other birds seems to have accepted having her around. I went out to the yard twice later and watched as he was with some sparrows in the bushes, then among a trash pile of plant stems and limbs which I pruned away yesterday.
I guess he escaped or was set loose. Surprisingly, he already seems, at least temporarily, at home. (Stay away hawks.)
No one answered our lost and found newspaper ad for a found parakeet. I guess we will have this beautiful bird with us from now on, at least until the freeze occurs. She has been accepted by the sparrows. They are together most of the time. Interesting.
PARAKEET UPDATE: The parakeet is gone. I have not seen her since May 29 I believe it was because of a late cold spell here. On 5/29 the temperature dropped to 46 and on 5/30 it reached 41. In Googling parakeets and their resistance to cold, temperatures around 40 can be fatal. Whether that was the reason she is gone, I don't know, but until then, she seemed to have been very accustomed to the seeds provided and the other birds. I have been watching, even bought some premium seeds which parakeets are believed to enjoy, but to no avail .
(Although a hawk might have taken her. They are around my house often.)
I am very disappointed.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by LadyGeek »

^^^ There might be some hope, as I think what you're googling refers to sudden changes in temperature when birds are kept as pets. All birds have the same anatomy. The only reason you don't see tropical birds in the arctic, for example, is simply because the species doesn't live there.

If it was temperature, the other birds would also disappear.

They acclimate over a period of weeks, which is how long it takes to migrate to their new seasonal home. Google "bird acclimate to temperature" and read it from a different perspective. Also google "parrot in snow".
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by JAZZISCOOL »

sevenseas wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 9:17 pm A happy sighting today; woke from a nap on my screened porch to see my dog (next to me) staring fixedly at something in the backyard. Turned out to be a wild turkey hen and about 6 fuzzy grey babies. Mom ambled slowly from the lawn into a wooded area with them trailing along in a tipsy line behind her. Other than a larger flock that passed through years ago, only the second time I've seen turkeys on my property.
Cool! :happy
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by JAZZISCOOL »

chuckb84 wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 10:10 pm Tanagers, lots and lots of Towhees, a few bluebirds, many redheaded wrens and a cooper's hawk who showed up while I was sitting 30 feet away from his landing spot. He left, and then all the other birds came back!
I saw a Cooper's Hawk in the neighborhood last night before sundown, munching on his freshly-caught dinner up in a tree. :shock:
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

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LadyGeek wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:11 am All birds have the same anatomy.
Don't know if you would consider this 'anatomy', but hummingbirds go into torpor during the night. Torpor sort of resembles hibernation. This allows them to sleep overnight and survive relatively cold temps (e.g., 10's) without having to feed every few minutes.

I don't know of any other birds that do that, but if not, maybe not ALL birds have the same 'anatomy'?
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by Sandtrap »

One Ping wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:27 pm
LadyGeek wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:11 am All birds have the same anatomy.
Don't know if you would consider this 'anatomy', but hummingbirds go into torpor during the night. Torpor sort of resembles hibernation. This allows them to sleep overnight and survive relatively cold temps (e.g., 10's) without having to feed every few minutes.

I don't know of any other birds that do that, but if not, maybe not ALL birds have the same 'anatomy'?
Just before the crack of dawn the other day, we had a cold spell, there were 5 hummingbirds in "torpor" sitting on the hummingbird feeder.
Fluffed up, beaks down, immobile, looked like deep sleep. (perhaps they spent the night like that.)
In awhile, after dawn and the temperatures rose a little, they were active again.

Fascinating little fellows. :D :D
j :D

Perhaps senior humans also go into various periods of "torpor" during the day. . . . :shock: :shock:
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by jebmke »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:53 am Perhaps senior humans also go into various periods of "torpor" during the day. . . . :shock:
Often depends on what beverage I have at lunch. :beer
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by JAZZISCOOL »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:53 am
One Ping wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:27 pm
LadyGeek wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:11 am All birds have the same anatomy.
Don't know if you would consider this 'anatomy', but hummingbirds go into torpor during the night. Torpor sort of resembles hibernation. This allows them to sleep overnight and survive relatively cold temps (e.g., 10's) without having to feed every few minutes.

I don't know of any other birds that do that, but if not, maybe not ALL birds have the same 'anatomy'?
Just before the crack of dawn the other day, we had a cold spell, there were 5 hummingbirds in "torpor" sitting on the hummingbird feeder.
Fluffed up, beaks down, immobile, looked like deep sleep. (perhaps they spent the night like that.)
In awhile, after dawn and the temperatures rose a little, they were active again.

Fascinating little fellows. :D :D
j :D

Perhaps senior humans also go into various periods of "torpor" during the day. . . . :shock: :shock:
LOL on the "seniors". Very cool to see hummers in torpor; have only seen that on a documentary. :beer
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by Ramjet »

On my walks there have been many blue heron and orioles this year
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by CardinalRule »

My backyard visitors today (PNW area). I don’t glimpse the first two that often, and so it was nice to see them.

American Goldfinch
Black-Headed Grosbeak
Violet Green Swallow
Oregon (Dark-Eyed) Junco
Northern Flicker
House Finch
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by Sandtrap »

JAZZISCOOL wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:44 am
Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:53 am
One Ping wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:27 pm
LadyGeek wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 7:11 am All birds have the same anatomy.
Don't know if you would consider this 'anatomy', but hummingbirds go into torpor during the night. Torpor sort of resembles hibernation. This allows them to sleep overnight and survive relatively cold temps (e.g., 10's) without having to feed every few minutes.

I don't know of any other birds that do that, but if not, maybe not ALL birds have the same 'anatomy'?
Just before the crack of dawn the other day, we had a cold spell, there were 5 hummingbirds in "torpor" sitting on the hummingbird feeder.
Fluffed up, beaks down, immobile, looked like deep sleep. (perhaps they spent the night like that.)
In awhile, after dawn and the temperatures rose a little, they were active again.

Fascinating little fellows. :D :D
j :D

Perhaps senior humans also go into various periods of "torpor" during the day. . . . :shock: :shock:
LOL on the "seniors". Very cool to see hummers in torpor; have only seen that on a documentary. :beer
On cold mornings, at least 1 hummingbird sits immobile on our feeders. Like this: (online pic).
Image
In late winter, one flew into my warehouse building and fluttered forever then layed on the ground due to overheating or exhaustion. Looked like this for quite awhile. Then got up and flew away. Not sure if it was a "torpor" nap. I though it was dead but didn't touch it. (online pic)
Image

Maybe senior humans go into afternoon "torpor naps" and look like this as well. :shock: :shock:

Hummingbirds are cool.
j :D
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by One Ping »

Sandtrap wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 8:24 am Hummingbirds are cool.
j :D
... and tough.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by pomomojo »

The majority of my photos were taken around Central New Jersey. We made a short family trip to Southern Maine, and I got up early to spend an hour or two with the shorebirds. I was able to observe a breeding Least Tern colony, but could not get within close enough range to take quality photos.

Warblers from Central NJ

Image


Image


Image

Shorebirds from Maine

Image

Image

All shot on Sony A7RIV with 200-600 f6.3
Last edited by pomomojo on Wed Jun 16, 2021 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by JAZZISCOOL »

pomomojo:

Thanks for posting the great photos! :beer
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by pomomojo »

NotTooDeepLearning wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:40 pm I've been going on a lot of coastal walks lately. I've seen artic terns, sandhill cranes, bald eagles, magpies, greater (or lesser) scaups, and hudsonian godwits. Today I even saw a couple river otters off in the distance scurrying along the water line.
Where do you live?
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by GG1273 »

CardinalRule wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:43 pm My backyard visitors today (PNW area). I don’t glimpse the first two that often, and so it was nice to see them.

American Goldfinch
Black-Headed Grosbeak
Violet Green Swallow
Oregon (Dark-Eyed) Junco
Northern Flicker
House Finch
Both the Black-Headed Grosbeak, Violet Green Swallow look very interesting. I'll have to head west of the Mississippi to check them out!
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by NotTooDeepLearning »

pomomojo wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 11:37 am
NotTooDeepLearning wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:40 pm I've been going on a lot of coastal walks lately. I've seen artic terns, sandhill cranes, bald eagles, magpies, greater (or lesser) scaups, and hudsonian godwits. Today I even saw a couple river otters off in the distance scurrying along the water line.
Where do you live?
Alaska. The coastal trail in Anchorage is definitely a prime birding spot during the summer.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by Flobes »

Last Thursday, hummingbird built a nest atop a windchime by the backdoor, and she's been sitting atop the nest, except for her brief departures to savor the honeysuckle.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by JAZZISCOOL »

Flobes wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:45 pm Last Thursday, hummingbird built a nest atop a windchime by the backdoor, and she's been sitting atop the nest, except for her brief departures to savor the honeysuckle.
Cool! :happy
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by f35phixer »

Flobes wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:45 pm Last Thursday, hummingbird built a nest atop a windchime by the backdoor, and she's been sitting atop the nest, except for her brief departures to savor the honeysuckle.
could of picked a bit more stable platform :oops:
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by GG1273 »

Our neighborhood Grey Catbirds have been busy cleaning up our yards of grubs for their nestlings. A few Robins have fledged and the Common Yellowthoated Warbler has been feeding young ones at the edge of treeline out back
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

Post by MJS »

115 degrees/10% humidity. All the little birds - sparrows, verdins, LBBs, even the big white-wing doves -- congregate on my concrete east-facing (therefore shady) patio, wings pushed out and beaks panting. I hose the concrete twice a day for evaporative cooling and put out extra water. Hard times for birdies.
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Re: Bird watchers – what birds are you seeing?

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MJS wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 4:00 pm 115 degrees/10% humidity. All the little birds - sparrows, verdins, LBBs, even the big white-wing doves -- congregate on my concrete east-facing (therefore shady) patio, wings pushed out and beaks panting. I hose the concrete twice a day for evaporative cooling and put out extra water. Hard times for birdies.

Once had robins nesting in the crook of a downspout on east side of house. One hot day, noticed the young'un sitting on the edge of the nest with wings spread. So went out with a water hose and sprayed a fine mist into the air so the wind wafted it toward the nest. After a few minutes they seemed to be comfortable enough to settle back into the nest.


Idea. Oscillating sprinkler and timer.
Search oscillating sprinkler: https://www.google.com/search?q=small+o ... +sprinkler
Search water hose timer: https://www.google.com/search?q=water+hose+timer

Set timer to run so it seems to please the winged folk; saves you a trip outside in the heat. (Water in the hose, between uses, get hot if hose is exposed to sun. So would need to let water run long enough to flush out and replace with cooler water from sprinkler.)


Wondered if anyone else has had this idea. Yep. It's called a mister for birds: https://www.google.com/search?q=bird+mister
Never mind.
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