Friday, February 22, 2013

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Pardon the unsteady shot. Long lens and no tripod.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pair of Bald Eagles

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Order: Falconiformes         Family: Accipitridae

From a double decker nest to a pair of Bald Eagles. Did you know that the Bald Eagle is the second largest bird of prey, and that it has a wingspan from about 5 1/2 to almost 8 feet?  Since their preferred food is fish they are almost always found near open water. This pair is probably still hanging around here because the Ottertail river is nearby and parts of it remain open year round. And they weren't the only pair I saw. I saw another pair on another tower about a half mile away from this pair. By the way, most of the Bald Eagles in the state at this time of year are probably congregating along the Mississippi River south of Red Wing. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Double Decker Nests

Double Decker Nests

Well. This a a first for me. Two firsts actually. Two nests on the same tower. I see them built on top all the time, but I don't remember ever seeing one built inside. And, before today I've never seen two nests on the same tower. So, two firsts for me. A nest built inside the tower AND two nests on the same tower. I'll have to remember to go back this spring and see if both are occupied. I can't imagine they would both be occupied at the same time, but hey, stranger things have happened.

There is another possibility. What looks like a second nest inside could just be some sticks from the top nest that fell through and got caught inside. But that theory is no fun at all, so I am sticking with the double decker nest.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Winter Storm

Redpolls and Feeders

These is a winter storm going on today and the Redpolls have been busy at the feeders all day. I have seven feeders up and most of them have been this busy today. At any one time there are around 50 birds on my deck. Most of which are Redpolls, with a few Chickadees and Nuthatches thrown in. The occasional Downy or Hairy woodpecker stops by too.



Saturday, February 9, 2013

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)

Order: Anseriformes       Family: Anatidae


From the mid-1800s until the 1960s there were no breeding pairs of Trumpeter Swans in the state of Minnesota. In 1966, the Hennepin County Park Reserve District started the first efforts to bring the Trumpeter Swan back to Minnesota. At first these efforts were not successful, but in 1969 a few of the birds that they brought in started to breed outside of Hennepin County. In the 1980s efforts were stepped up with partnerships with state and federal agencies, tribes, Canadian provinces, Universities and others. Today there is a breeding population of over 2000 birds in Minnesota.

Most of the swans do not migrate out of the state. They move only as far as they have to to find open water. I found these birds where the Pelican River flows out of Prairie Lake near Pelican Rapids. 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

Order: Piciformes            Family: Woodpeckers (Picidae)

This is a female. The male Downy has a red patch on the back of the head. The Downy woodpecker is the smallest of the North American woodpeckers. At only 5 – 9 inches, it can feed on branches and limbs as small as 10 cm in diameter. This allows it to feed where other woodpeckers cannot go.

These are common visitors to my suet and sunflower feeders. During the summer they also enjoy the sugar water in my Oriole feeders and also fresh oranges I put out.

A woodpecker that is very similar to the Downy, except it is larger (9 – 16 inches), is the Hairy woodpecker.

By the way, did you know that a group of woodpeckers is also known as a ‘descent’, or ‘drumming’, or even a ‘gatling’.