The scarlet tanager gets its name from the bright red color of the male. The females are yellow in color with the same black colored wings that the male has. In the fall males will molt and change from their bright scarlet colored plumage to a yellow color similar to the normal female plumage. The bird above was photographed in mid molt. The tanagers will then migrate south, flying over the Gulf of Mexico to winter in Northern South America. Their they will join mixed feeding flocks of tanagers, flycatchers and other tropical birds.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Pileated woodpecker primarily eat ants and wood boring insect larva. They do this by excavating large holes into trees and then using their long tongue to slurp up their prey. Pileated excavations are easily identified because they are typically larger than other woodpeckers and often somewhat rectangular. Frequently song birds and smaller woodpeckers will feed inside pileated excavations. They will also eat fruit, berries and nuts. They will sometimes forage on the ground through dead leaves or on fallen trees, where there are a lot of insects. If you are lucky they may even come to a suet feeder, especially during a rough winter.
Pileated begin nesting in April. The male will make a nesting cavity, usually in a dead tree, in hopes of attracting a female. It can take weeks for him to excavate the cavity. The hole to the cavity is an oblong shape and the inside is unlined except for leftover wood chips. Pileated typically have one brood per year which consists of a clutch of 3-5 eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs which take between two to three weeks to hatch. Both parents care for the young which are born helpless and without feathers. After they raise the young the pileated woodpeckers abandon the nest. They will not use the same nest again in the future. These abandon cavities provide nesting habitat for many other types of birds including wood ducks and owls. Pileated will also sometimes nest in man made nesting boxes.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Monday, September 15, 2014
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
The hoary redpoll is related to the common redpoll. Both species inhabit a similar breeding range, although the hoary redpolls range extends further north. Often during the winter hoary redpolls will mix in to flocks of common redpolls. As you can tell by the pictures above, the hoary is the first pic and the common is the lower, both species look very similar. The hoary usually appear more white than their common cousins.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The ferruginous hawk is one of only three diurnal raptors in North America that have feathers that reach all the way to their feet. The other two species, the rough-legged hawk and the golden eagle, have ranges that are further north or in higher elevations than the ferruginous. The breeding range of the ferruginous only extends into southern Canada with many of the birds breeding in the northern half of the range migrating to the southwestern U.S. and Mexico for the winter.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
The eastern towhee is a passerine found in the eastern half of North America. They nest from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Coast and as far north as southern portions of Canada. Birds in the northern portion of the range migrate to the southern United States for the winter while birds in the southern portion of the range stay on territory year round.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The chestnut-sided warbler is a colorful passerine that is easy to identify. They nest in the southeastern half of Canada and in the north eastern and north central United States.They spend winters in Central America, Northern portions of South America and the Caribbean. each inter they often go to the same territory where they mix with tropical warblers and other birds in foraging flocks. Most of their diet is made up of insects.
Chest-nut sided warblers typically nest in deciduous forests. They make a cup shaped nest made of bark, grasses, and other plant material usually located in a bush or small tree within 6 feet of the ground. Immature birds do not have the maroon streak of their parents. I photographed this immature in northeast Minnesota where they bread. The top shot was taken during migration when they pass through southern Minnesota on their way to the breeding grounds.