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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OLYMPUS CAMERAS’ PRO CAPTURE MODE

Pine Warbler Inflight Closeup

One of my limiting factors to getting small songbird inflight action shots was my reaction time. Over the years I got reasonably good at anticipating when a songbird was going to take off from its perch (taking a poop being a key one). I would set up the shot and start a long burst. If […]

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WINTER VISITORS TO OUR YARD: RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS

Ruby-crowned Kinglet With Full View Of Ruby Crown

Pure energy packed into a tiny package. Ruby-crowned Kinglets are short-haul migrant winter visitors to our neighborhood. They only migrate to and from the U.S.’s south and northern Mexico to the upper regions of Canada. This is even more remarkable when you think about just how tiny they are: 3.5-4.3 in (9-11 cm), 0.2-0.3 oz […]

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BIRDING THE HISTORIC AND STORIED LOWCOUNTRY

Wood Stork Wading and Reflection

The low country of Georgia and South Carolina is the geographic area of coastline and barrier islands where the coastal plain meets the Atlantic Ocean. It is indeed low. In many places ground is at sea level or just below. Making it a land of bottomland swamps, broad river deltas, tidal creeks, and estuarine marshes. […]

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THE OWLS HAVE IT

Barred Owl In Backlit Bright Yellow & Gold Autumn Maple Tree

To paraphrase Zac Brown, the It is “whatever It is that blows a viewer away”. Owls are just photogenic. For Barred Owls it really helps that they are more diurnal than their cousins so it’s possible to get shots in decent light. It also helps me that there is a pair that nests two houses […]

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