The three-toed woodpecker gets its name because it is one of the only woodpecker species that has three toes on each foot instead of four. Other then the two varieties of three-toed only the black-backed woodpecker has three toes. The black-backed are also found in boreal forests, although they do not breed quite as far north. The black-backed is very similar in appearance to three-toed except as its name would suggest it has a black back where the three-toed woodpecker's back is mottled black and white. The top photo in the post is a three-toed where the second is a black back. As you can see they look very similar. These are both males which you can tell by the yellow crown on the top of their heads. The female three-toed woodpecker has a mottled black and white crown where the top of the female black-back's head is all black.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
It is possible to tell the difference between male and females by looking at the black border on the upper side of the wings. With the male the border is solid black, like in the photos above, while the females have yellow spots in the border. Orange sulphurs larval host plant is alfalfa, clovers, and other legumes.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Snowy owls have thick feathers that completely their body including their feet and toes. This provides insulation that allows them to survive on their territory in the tundra year round. Unlike most species of owls snowies are primarily diurnal, active during the daytime. They eat rodents, primarily lemmings, and some birds, such as ptarmigan.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
The pine Grosbeak is one of the largest members of the finch family, Fringlilidae. They are found in the boreal forests of Alaska, Canada, Rocky Mountains, and Eurasia. Most pine grosbeaks stay on territory year round but they will migrate south, into southern Canada and northern United States in North America, when there is a shortage of food. They eat seeds, fruit, tree buds and some insects.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Males typically come back to the same nesting territory each year but females usually choose a different territory and mate each year. Their nest is usually located on the lower branches of a bush near to the ground. Females build the nest, which is cup shaped, but males help by bringing nesting materials like twigs and grass. The eggs take a week and a half to two weeks to hatch. The chicks are born helpless and with out feathers. In 7-9 days after hatching they leave the nest. They are still not able to fly at this time but they will spend the next week on the ground in the bushes where they will be fed by their parents.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
The queen butterfly is a member of the Nymphalidae or brushfoot family. They are found in temperate, tropical and semi tropical areas of North, Central, and South America. In the warmer portions of their range they can be found year long and in the northern portions of the range they are found July-August. They are in the same family as the monarch and soldier butterflies and can be difficult to distinguish from the soldier without class inspection.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
The Raptor Center. Each year it has been a struggle trying to figure out how to photograph the birds, after all most of my experience has been with birds that do not sit still let alone pose. This picture is my favorite so far. This was the October photo in the 2013 calendar. The photo was taken in a small pumpkin field at the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus, where The Raptor Center is located. The UofM St Paul Campus houses the School of Agricultural and the School of Veterinary Medicine, which is why it is one of the few places in Minnesota where you can find a barn owl and a pumpkin patch. Whisper is one of our education birds. She came to TRC from the World Bird Sanctuary. The World Bird Sanctuary raises barn owls as part of a release program in Missouri but Whisper was slated to become an education bird.