:Tag: behavior

Spa Day for a Night Heron

... at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California I originally named this portrait "Standing Room Only." I'd never seen a Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) creep chest-high into a pool -- then just stand there forever like a Japanese snow monkey. This pose made me laugh as I watched the heron soak up the swirls of his own private day spa. One of my Facebook friends wrote, "what is this lil man doing?" That comment captured [...]

2018-05-10T01:07:25+00:00March 5th, 2014|@Popular Posts, Birds, Blog|13 Comments

Clever, Corrugated Starlings

With starlings, I am often an outlier, even among people who share my conservation ethics and love for wildlife. That's because I appreciate starlings in a way that defies conventional dislike for the species in the United States. I wrote about this in a 2009 post about European Starlings and their introduction to the U.S. in the late 19th century: "Starlings are related to Mynahs, both in the family Sturnidae. They’re exceptional mimics. In [...]

2018-09-30T19:31:32+00:00June 20th, 2013|Uncategorized|23 Comments

She’s a Hum Dum Dinger Pigeon

A little Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) courtship play ... photographed on the Seattle waterfront, in the magic hour of a winter evening. Music by Jimmie Davis - in the public domain Photographed with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 + Lumix 100-300mm (micro four thirds) • Edited in iMovie

2013-02-25T23:12:09+00:00February 25th, 2013|Uncategorized|10 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

[Northern] Flickering

I believe this interaction was a territorial display between two Northern Flickers. Their routine was on a continuous loop for about five minutes, performed on utility cables strung across our view of the city. Aggressive displays such as "bill directing" or "bill poking" are used by flickers. That is, a flicker may point his bill at a rival with his head inclined forward, or actually peck at an opponent. A more aggressive display is "head [...]

2013-01-15T22:40:07+00:00January 15th, 2013|Uncategorized|8 Comments

On Double-Banded Knee

Seattle crows are among the most famous of modern crows, owing to studies by John Marzluff which are featured in A Murder of Crows. This PBS Nature episode looks at Marzluff's University of Washington (UW) research projects and the crows' ability to recognize and remember human faces. I've seen a few UW-banded crows around town, but they're usually wheels up with a Cheeto before I can pull out my camera. The other day, I saw [...]

2012-02-28T12:18:45+00:00February 28th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|4 Comments

No Frozen Hummingbirds, Please

In the winter of 2011, my hummingbird nectar froze into a giant lifesaver of an ice cube. I'm a Californian which means I'm used to nectar that ferments into birdie moonshine after a few days in the sun. But last year we migrated north to Seattle ... at the same time Anna's Hummingbirds decide not to migrate south. So, I learned what it means to be a committed nectar provider and a hummingbird enabler. We [...]

2012-01-06T00:42:30+00:00January 6th, 2012|Birds|0 Comments

You Thinking What I’m Thinking?

I saw a huge group of crows scrounging for grubs and snacks in a vacant field near the Seattle waterfront. Since it was raining when I left home, I packed nothing but my rain gear and a point-and-shoot ... just in case. I guess I'm hard-headed because I should have learned by now that Seattle weather an hour from now bears no resemblance to the weather in the here and now. And this is why: [...]

2011-12-02T01:33:47+00:00December 2nd, 2011|Birds, Uncategorized|2 Comments

The Turns of Terns

I've described terns, with their distinct calls, as aerial barflies with too much whiskey and smoke on the voice box. Each tern is raspy in its own way, and Caspian Terns have a sharp croak that pierces the air over my balcony. They're huddled on a warehouse rooftop one minute, hundreds of them, blurred by a rising heat that's thick as shower glass. Then they're jetting over the bridge like little blanched superheroes, [...]

2011-06-06T01:47:23+00:00June 6th, 2011|Birds, Uncategorized|4 Comments

Anatomy of a Cormorant Landing

Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus. Photographed with my Olympus E-3 and Zuiko 70-300mm. The birds were silhouetted in late afternoon light, high ISO 1000, some post-processing NR to compensate for the darker conditions.. I shot this series along the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle. If you've watched Double-crested Cormorants [literally] coming home to roost, you know that the process of securing a branch of one's own can be arduous. These cormorant wings are designed [...]

2011-03-25T22:56:58+00:00March 25th, 2011|Birds, Uncategorized|11 Comments