Monday, August 6, 2012

Fur, Feathers, and a Butterfly

Otters from the Phillips Park, in Aurora, Illinois

We have had a Mourning Dove nesting in our blue spruce in the backyard.  She was keeping a watchful eye on us.

Okay, this is for my husband.  Princess is made to dance for her supper.  She loves tuna juice. Somehow, she knows when he is going to make tuna salad. She will follow him, until he gives her a little.  She does beg for it!

Baby Robin
They can grow to 11 inches. This baby is likely from the first brood of the year.  Robins are know to have 2 broods a year. It is likely there are 2 eggs in a nest.  This baby may have been from a next in our back yard.

Here is a Great Blue Heron.  They grow from 42 to 52 inches. The male is gray with black eyebrow extending into several long plumes off back of the head.  He has a long yellow bill.  Feathers at the base of the neck drop down in kind of necklace. The female looks like the male,and has only 1 brood per year. 
The interesting thing about them is that they will bark like a dog when startled.

The the Fermi Lab in Batavia, Illinois there were 5 baby buffalo (bison) born this season.  As of this season the herd has 25 animals.

I think this may be a Block-crowned night-Heron. It has been reported they have been seen in our area.  He is still a ways away, so we are not sure.  Could be a Great Blue that is hunkered down.
Brown Thrasher turned up in our yard on 4-10-2011.  The female looks the same as the male.  They are prodigious songsters, they are often found in thick shrubs where they sing deliberate musical phrases. They repeat each twice.

Wild Turkey
This is a huge one. They can grow from 36 to 48 inches. There have been a pair at the Morton Arboretum in West Chicago, Illinois.  When we went for concerts you could see them walking around the grounds. They are the largest game bird in Illinois. The turkey was eliminated by the turn of the century from hunting and the loss of their habitat.  They have been reintroduced. The males have "harems" of up to 20 females.  They are strong fliers and can reach up to 60 mph. They are able to fly straight up then away.  Their eyesight is 3 times better then humans.  Their hearing is excellent, able to hear competing males up to 1 mile away.  They roost in trees at night.

American Goldfinch
Love these yellow birds.  They have the sweetest song. In the winter the they will change to the color of the females, a brownish color. We called them "Wild Canary" when we were growing up. They love Nyger Thistle. I try to keep a supply in their sock feeders.  When the cone flowers are blooming they will take the seeds from them.  If I can keep the feeders full, they will stay the winter.  Love to watch and hear them.

This is not the greatest picture. I have to find the better ones.  Plus the other ones have the babies.

These are the Robins that we saw last Christmas.  They were perched outside Dad's windows at Alden.  It is the first time I have ever seen robins in winter.

Canadian Goose
They will grow from 25 to 43 inches. In the Spring it is fun to watch when they pair up. They will have from 5 to 10 babies in the Spring.  Adults will mate for life, but do not breed  until their third year. The male will act as a sentinel, and will come aggressive to anyone that approaches.
Red-winged Blackbird
The male is jet black with red and yellow shoulder patch on upper wing. He has a pointed black bill. The male will return first and defend territories.  Their nests are usually over shallow water in thick stands of cattails. They have a distinctive song. You know Spring has sprung when they appear.

Cooper's Hawk
We have had them come to our backyard looking for doves, that are unaware.  They will grow up to 20 inches. They are a medium hawk with short wings and a long rounded tail with  several black bands.  He has a rusty colored chest with dark wing tips. Slate gray back with a bright yellow spot at base of gray bill called a cere. He also, has red eyes. He really loves to frequent my backyard. 
American White Pelican
On the Mississippi River in March you can see them migrating  North.  They are very large, heavy-bodied, long-winged bird. They have a long bill and large pouch typical of pelicans. They are graceful fliers.  Before they fly north, breeding birds may get yellowish feathers on breast, crown and upper wing coverts.  They grown a rounded keel on their beak. Once they are feeding the young, the feathers change and the keep is shed.
We have found an area in Aurora that has a pond,and the White Pelican has been seen on their migration.  They truly are a fascinating bird to watch.

Here is one of the Pelicans in flight. You can see the keel on his beak.

Baby foxes.  On a trip to Kolona, Iowa last Spring, we came upon a group of baby foxes. Mom was nearby, watching us, to make sure we did not bother them

The babies were playful.
The beautiful butterfly checked out one on my phlox. 

There will be more to come. No swans tonight.  You know how it is, if one picture is good a whole bunch is better!
Have a great evening.