GREAT BLUE HERONS: DINOSAURS AMONG US

Great Blue Herons are favorites of mine. They are tough & adaptive survivors. They have survived everything we have thrown at them. They even seem to take sweet revenge by raiding urban koi ponds and in an infamous case here in metro-Atlanta stealing trout off the lines of fishermen on the Chattahoochee River. But just […]

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BARRED OWLS ARE GREAT PARENTS & EARLY THOUGHTS ON OMDS OM-1

These are the barred owls that make Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve home. In these shots they are taking well deserved naps. Their nest box has 3 active owlets & like all youngsters the owlets are either sleeping or wanting to eat. These two are Poster Birds for active parenting. After mating and up to laying […]

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A COMING-BACK STORY: OSPREYS

Close Up Of Osprey Soaring In Blue Sky Over Southeast Georgia Coastline

I think it’s clear that I love conservation comeback stories. It’s maybe more accurate to say coming-back stories. There’s not many better than the Osprey’s. They were big time victims of the 1950-70s pesticide onslaught that took down many of our bird species, especially large raptors. DDT being the primary villain. Many local Osprey populations […]

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NEW CHAPTER IN EASTERN BLUEBIRD CONSERVATION SUCCESS STORY

Eastern Bluebird enjoying a Spring day – in February Decatur Georgia’s Legacy Park (formerly Decatur Methodist Children’s Home) open fields have been replanted with native grasses and bluebird boxes have been added to supplement the natural cavities in tree snags that are safe to leave standing. There are plenty of fence posts and telephone lines, […]

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PUFFER JACKETS: A CASE OF BIOMICRY?

Male Pine Warbler Puffed Up In Cold Rain

When the cold fronts start moving through the South, the birdwatching web sites light up with posts from many new birders along the lines of: “Bless their hearts, are my poor little babies going to freeze to death?” The answers back are along the lines of: One way birds stay warm is by using their […]

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RED-TAILED HAWK: CLOSE QUARTERS PRECISION FLYING

I’ve seen it hundreds of times. A bird of prey that has been sitting quietly still and unnoticed deep in a tree canopy suddenly explodes into flight. Maneuvers through the branches and limbs of the treetops to take its prey. I’m awestruck every time. This Red-tailed Hawk hunting in our yard on two recent days […]

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RARE WINTER VISITOR TO OUR YARD: BALTIMORE ORIOLE

Female Baltimore Oriole. Or maybe immature male. Males don’t molt to their bright adult orange until their second year. This bird was visiting our yard in Decatur, Georgia which is deep inside metro-Atlanta on January 29th. I had to add Baltimore Oriole to my yard’s eBird checklist. And was lucky to have photos. They are […]

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PINE WARBLER: WINTER BRIGHT SPOT

Male Pine Warbler Puffed Up In Cold Rain

Pine Warblers live year round with us. They don’t head to the tropics in winter like their neotropical cousins. They are literally and figuratively a bright spot on drab, grey, winter days. Especially our days of ‘wintry mix’. What holds them here is their fondness for, guess what, pine nuts. Something we have a lot […]

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BLUE-HEADED VIREO: RAPTOR MINI-ME

Blue-headed Vireo Devouring A Bug

I like Vireos (& Shrikes). To me they are a raptor mini-me. All have stout bills. Many have hooked bills –‘tomial tooth’. Both perfect features to kill and dismember prey, including insects and for some of the ‘larger’ species (they are all small compared to the big guys) small birds, mammals and reptiles. It is […]

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AMERICAN GOLDFINCH: A VEGETARIAN SURVIVOR

American Goldfinch Closeup

American Goldfinches are strictly vegetarian. If they get any insect protein it is inadvertently when gobbling seeds. Unlike many of their cousins, this includes the nesting chicks. This has a beneficial effect on survival. While a lot of their cousins are succumbing to pressure from the brood parasitic Brown Headed Cowbirds, American Goldfinches’ all vegetation […]

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