Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wild Turkey

Here is a flock of wild turkey's in the Upper peninsula of Michigan.  This picture was taken  in September  of 2011.

Andy and I were driving in Joliet, Illinois in January of 2013 when we came upon  this scene.  Who would have thought we would see wild turkeys in a residential area.

The wild turkey is a large brown and bronze plump bird with striking blue and red bare head.  They have a fan  tail with long straight  black beard in the center of the chest. They have spurs on their legs

Definitely males.

The female is thinner and less striking, and do not have the breast beard.  They nest on the ground and only have one brood a year.  They have 10 to 12 eggs that are buff white with dull brown markings.  It takes 27 to 28 days to incubate the eggs.  The female leads the young to food.  They like insects, seeds and fruit. 

The turkey was eliminated from Illinois by the turn of the last century due to market hunting and loss of habitat.  They were reintroduced in the 1950's and 60's.  Males hold harems up to 20 females.  They are strong fliers and can get up to 60 mph.  They are able to fly straight up, then away. 

Their eyesight is 3 times better than humans.  Their hearing is excellent, and able to hear competing males up to one mile away.  They roost in trees at night.  It is the largest game bird in Illinois.

Baby rabbit

This baby came to visit in our back yard.

Magnolia in Atlanta

Pink magnolia, I saw in Atlanta, in March 2013

Eastern Towhee

These are the greatest pictures as they were taken through a window, but this is the Towhee  The female is a mostly light brown bird with rusty red brown sides and white belly.  Long brown tail with white tip.  Short stout pointed bill with rich red eye.  She has White wing patches that flash in flight.  I think this is what these pictures are of, the female.

The birds are seen hopping backwards with both feet to rake up the leaf litter, called bilateral scratching, in search of insects and seeds.  The female takes care of the brood, the male feeds the young.

They have 3 to 4 creamy white with brown marking eggs. 12 to 13 days incubation.

Looks like a small robin to me.

Cardinal, Male and Female.

The Norther Cardinal is an all red bird with black mask on face extending down to chin and throat. He has a large red  bill and crest on his head.  He is about 8 or 9 inches long.

The female is buff brown with tinges of red on crest and wings, same black mask and red bill.  She builds the nest and has 2 to 3 broods a year.  The eggs are bluish white with brown markings and total 3 to 4.
  Th male and female incubate the young.  

It is said the make will feed the female during courtship.  Both the male and female sing any time of the year.

American Goldfinch

Look hard, he is there.  They are just beginning to get their golden color back.  In the winter they turn light brown to blend in with the surrounds.

He is described as a perky yellow bird with a black patch on forehead  Black tail with conspicuous white rump.  Black wings with white wing bars.  No marking on the chest.  Dramatic change in color during winter.  They become similar to female in winter.

Again some of these pictures were taken through a kitchen window.   The female is described as a dull olive yellow without a black crown, brown black wings and white rump.

The female builds the nest.  They only have one brood each year.  The incubation is 10- 12 days.  The male and female feed they young. They like to come to feeders. They love the Nyger Thistle.   They are called Wild Canary. 

You can see they are changing color.


Love the acrobats this guy does on a feeder that is supposed to be squirrel proof.

Cat Bird or is it a Mockingbird

Steve said this is a cat bird, but it looks more like a mockingbird to me.

I just got word, it is a Mockingbird. My friends referred to it as a cat bird, because it loves to tease the kitties in the neighborhood.  It would sound like a cat!

A mockingbird has a silvery gray head and back with light gray check and belly. White wing patches, seen in flight and during display.  Tail black with white outer trail feathers.  Black bill

A Gray Catbird is slate gray bird with a black crown.  Long think black  bill.  Often seen with tail lifted exposing chestnut colored patch under tail.

Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is a smaller bird, it is only 6 inches.  He has a white belly , black and white spotted wings, a black line running through its eyes, a short black bill, a white stripe down its back and a red mark on nape of neck.  He has several small black spots along the side of his white tail.

The female looks just like the male. They have 3 to 5 eggs that are white. Incubation is 11-12 days. She sits on the eggs during the day, and the male sits on them at night.  

They like seeds and suet feeders.

It is said they will "drum" on a hollow log or branch to announce territories.  These are one of the most abundant woodpeckers.  In winter it will roost in the cavity of a tree. 

All woodpeckers have long barbed tongues used to pull insects out of tiny places.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Here is the Red-bellied Woodpecker. The male has a "Zebra back: with a white rump. The Red crown extends down the nape of the neck. The breast is tan with a tinge of red on the belly.  It is sometimes had to see.

Unfortunately, these pictures were taken  through a window, so there are shadows.  I did not see a female, at least not  that I was aware of.

He was posing for me very nicely.

He  loved the suet.  He made quite a ruckus as he was approaching the area where the feeder was.

These birds like shady woodlands, which is what is behind Steve and Sandy's house.  They will excavate a hole in rotten wood, looking for spiders, centipedes and beetles. They will even hammer acorns and berries into crevices of trees for winter food.  

They do not migrate.  I saw him in March 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.