Sunday, March 3, 2013

Special Sightings

 In the past two weeks I have had not one, but two first time bird sightings!  And both times I was lucky enough to get to my camera before these new feathered friends took flight.

My first unusual sighting happened while I was pacing and talking on the phone....I paused by the window and saw a very strange bird that looked like a combination of a dove, a woodpecker, a sparrow, and a starling....I just couldn't figure what I was looking at.  But it was gorgeous and I took pictures and asked questions later.  After my mom and I consulted the bird book and flipped through every page we came to realize that what we saw was indeed a woodpecker, who feeds on insects on the ground, called a Northern Flicker.  My shots were from pretty far away and don't do it nearly enough justice, but like my Barred owl sighing....I am too excited not to share!

Check out that golden yellow underneath as he flies!!

The male has some red on his breast
   My second sighting was brought to my attention by my outdoorsy Dad.   Although not raised by wolves, my Dad probably spent most of his childhood and young adulthood outside like one.  So he can ID darn near any indigenous species of bird, mammal, or tree.   But while he could ID this common redpoll, he did NOT know they are an arctic finch.

That's right, these little fellas flock together in large numbers from the arctic and northern Canada and migrate south for winter.  However, seeing them in the US can be unusual unless they are in an irruption year.  Apparently I am not the only Ohioan to have see these guys for the first time at a feeder this winter.  According to this article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, every year the redpoll's southern migration is forecast based on their natural food sources etc.

 And this year they got it wrong!  The Winter Finch Forecast said there was plenty of chow in Canada so we would not have any visitors, but there have been many sightings of flocks of redpolls and other boreal forest feeders in Ohio.  YAY!

Any regular reader here knows that one of my favorite subjects that makes me see God's handiwork in his Creation are His marvelous avian critters!  I hope you enjoy these guys as much as I did!  In the words of Steve Irwin, "They're GORGEOUS!"

You can really see his beak shape and color good here

Check out the striping on his side

The female - similar but no red breast

Two pair!

She looks cute but she is scrappy at the feeder!

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