Countdown to Liftoff

This photo series shows the calm before the Snow Goose storm ... and the ripple effect that sends thousands of geese into the air within seconds, at just the slightest provocation. They may call out, sending audio waves through the flock before erupting into goose mayhem. Or, they may fall unexpectedly silent for a split second before bursting into winged turbulence. The inciting incident can be a small plane overhead, a stalking eagle, shotgun fire, [...]

2013-02-16T22:54:17+00:00February 16th, 2013|Birds, Uncategorized|7 Comments

Re-Capturing the Clapper Rail

The show Bird Note just posted an audio piece on California Clapper Rails in San Francisco Bay.  Bird Note covers an eclectic array of bird stories, from behavioral questions to ecological issues. The stories are short audio bits with related blog posts and resources to flesh out the subject matter. As an adjunct to the Clapper Rail story, Bird Note asked if I would revisit my observations of a Clapper Rail tagging operation at Arrowhead Marsh [...]

2013-02-01T00:05:23+00:00February 1st, 2013|Birds, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Everything’s Coming Up Snowy

Edited to add: Originally, I posted the location of where we hiked to see the Snowy Owls. It's fairly common knowledge around Washington, but I suffered post-blogging pangs about revealing the location of a popular species like a Snowy Owl. After chatting with a wildlife photographer I dearly respect, I've decided to remove those references. Last year, I witnessed the frenzy and ethical breaches surrounding the Snowy Owl irruption, and my general policy is to [...]

2013-01-21T21:20:46+00:00January 21st, 2013|Birds, Uncategorized|20 Comments

The Thing with Feathers

“Hope” is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops — at all – And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard – And sore must be the storm – That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm – I’ve heard it in the chillest land – And on the strangest Sea – Yet, never, in Extremity, [...]

2013-01-19T16:36:33+00:00January 19th, 2013|Birds, Uncategorized|15 Comments

10,000 Crows and Counting

This is what it looks (and feels) like when you're standing under 10,000+ crows, coming home to roost. I shot the video well after dusk, so I had to crank exposure up in iMovie, causing pixel issues. Still ... you'll get the idea. This occurs every dusk in Bothell, Washington, when crows from Seattle, Snohomish and other parts in between fly to their nightly roost. I had never seen a roost of this magnitude, and [...]

2013-01-02T17:00:29+00:00January 2nd, 2013|Birds, Uncategorized|16 Comments

The Snowy Owls of Seattle

12/31/12: I edited this post early this morning to correct for some late-night syntactical issues. "The piercing light of her eyes is a reminder there is light upon the dark path no matter how doubtful it might be .... Owl can navigate the dark realms of the night and still sustain her nourishment; if you feel lost, the Owl can help you find your true path once again." ~ From The Bohemian Collective It's as [...]

2012-12-30T22:55:41+00:00December 30th, 2012|Birds|20 Comments

Blue Note Clive

I just received a record album in the mail. It's an EP (German label) with this avian hipster on the cover ... Clive the Racing Pigeon in his best Blue-Note-Records pose. We cared for and loved little Clive -- a lost and unwanted racing pigeon. Clive was in a local animal shelter with a flesh injury when we first met him. His cage label said "Snowflake" and his cage card detailed his his [...]

2012-12-28T01:05:33+00:00December 28th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|11 Comments

A Sneeuwuil By Any Other Name

Sneeuwuil - Dutch Le Harfang des neiges - French Sniega puce - Latvian Snøugle - Norwegian Wabagano - Cree Shirofukuro - Japanese ~ Many thanks to Paul Asimow's Snowy Owl pages for the above excerpt. We don't yet know if it's an echo year for Snowy Owls (the year after an irruption), but the Bubo scandiacus are once again planting their furry feet on rooftops, sidewalks, meadows and in fir trees around Seattle and the [...]

2012-11-25T20:30:37+00:00November 25th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|14 Comments

Waxwing Solo

I marked my winters in California by the return of the Cedar Waxwings. A few years ago this is how I would describe my seasonal transition: It starts with a whistle, but a whistle so faint it’s a whisper across the leaves. And then the sound of raindrops, but it’s not rain. It’s the patter of falling berries, pyracantha and holly, dropping into the blanket of debris below the trees. Finally, we see the face [...]

2012-11-13T22:51:07+00:00November 13th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|3 Comments