Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Yellowstone Passerines

While we were on our Yellowstone trip we saw a lot of birds that we don't usually see around home but we did see some familiar birds also.
Chipping sparrows were fairly numerous around the park. The top picture was taken on the bank of the Madison River on a snowing Wednesday morning.
Earlier in the week we photographed a chipping sparrow in the same area only the weather was a bit better.
We also saw some white-crowned sparrows. This one was watching me from his perch on the Blacktail Deer Plateau. Although white-crowned sparrows do not usually spend a great deal of time around home they do pass through the state in the spring, on their way up to their Arctic breeding grounds, and in the fall, on their way back to the southern US and Mexico where they winter.Even though I have photographed white-crowned sparrows in Minnesota before this was the first white-crowned sparrow that I ever photographed on bison dung. EWWWWWWWW!
In Minnesota we also get red-breasted nuthatch like the one above, although the white-breasted nuthatch is much more common in Minnesota. I found this bird in the woods on the shore of the mostly frozen Lake Yellowstone.
We saw quite a few of these birds through out the park. At first I did not know what type of bird that it was. Although it did not look like any of the birds that I had seen around home it was in fact a bird that is very common in northern Minnesota in the summer and the southern part of the state in the winter.
I found out that this is a dark-eyed junco. Dark-eyed junco are a lot like red-tailed hawks, in that they have a number of variations that occur, depending on what part of the hemisphere that they live in. In Yellowstone the dark-eyed junco are of the pink-sided variety. In Minnesota we mostly see the slate-colored variety, which tend to be darker and have grey, slate, colored sides instead of pink like the ones above. There is also an Oregon variety, which looks like the slate-colored type except they have a darker head, and the white-winged variety, that look like the slate-colored type with white wing bars.

1 comment:

Shelley said...

Laughed when I saw your clean beautiful sparrow on top of the dung- of all the places to perch!