Welcome to Week #16 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #16 challenge is Short Legged Birds
Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.
The feature image is a photo of a male Common Yellowthroat.
Okay, so I came up with this theme because it is near and dear to me. You see, I know all about having short legs. All 5’1″ of me owns 3 ladders that stay in the house at all times. 1 step, 2 step and 3 step folding ladders to help me get things out of my kitchen cabinets. I have 42″ cabinets plus an extra foot of cabinets above them that go to the ceiling. If anything is past the 2nd shelve, one of the ladders come out. I understand how these short legged birds feel, except I can’t fly to get into a higher position.
The American Redstart is a medium sized warbler with a very expressive tail. This male above is mostly black with bright orange patches. The female has yellow patches on the sides, wings and tail. She has a gray head and olive colored back. They are both impressive showing their tail feathers which is used to lure their insect prey as they will then dart to capture in the air like flycatchers. They are a pretty spastic bird and hard to capture. I got 10 frames of shots of this male and this is the only one that turned out. He was in a different position in every shot.
The Northern Cardinal is one of the most attractive birds for new birders. The male is red all over. This particular male was still turning, but he was quite impressive and had a mate. Young stud!!! Both the male and female have strong vocal chords and will change their tune depending on what they are communicating. The mated pair share song phrases, but the female may sing a longer and more complex song than the male. You GO GIRL! The cardinal had been on the decline, but in recent years, they have started to make a comeback, partly due to people putting out bird feeders. Last year, we had 4 pairs. This year we had 3 pairs. I had a juvenile in the backyard a couple of days ago with the momma bird. Seems there were more Swallow-tailed & Mississippi Kites this summer so I suspect not many babies made it.
This small warbler is very elusive. It is hard to photograph the Ovenbird because as soon as you think you have a shot, he darts in the other direction along the wooded ground into cover. The olive-brown back and spotted chest provides a perfect camouflage while it extracts invertebrae from the litter of leaves. Their nest is a leaf-covered dome that resembles a vintage outdoor oven, which gives the Ovenbird its name.
The Black-throated Blue Warbler is a whopping 4.3-5.1 inch bird. The male pictured above has a black face and black eye with a midnight blue back. I find this bird one of the most challenging to photograph as there isn’t a lot of contrast between the face and eye. This guy was having his fill of the berries on this bush. The female is gray and brown, but both birds have their signature square white patch on their wings.
Move over Lone Ranger, there’s a new marshall in town! The male Common Yellowthroat is distinguished with his black mask across his face. Females do not have the mask, but they do have a beautiful warm yellow throat. This small bird is one of the New World species that was catalogued by Linnaeus in 1766 after being captured in Maryland. They are hunted by Merlins and Loggerhead Shrikes.
Sanderlings are the cutest shorebirds. Their little legs blur as they run back and forth along the shoreline. This spastic little bird probes for tiny prey in the wet sand left by receding waves. They are medium-sized “peep” sandpipers and can be recognized by their pale non-breeding plumage, black legs & bill, not to mention their obsessive wave chasing habits.
The Ruddy Turnstone along the coastlines of the United States & Mexico are nonbreeding. Some birds will travel more than 6,500 miles between breeding and nonbreeding grounds. They use fat to fuel up like most birds to carry themselves through migration so they can make it to the breeding grounds. It is vital for them to eat a lot to make the journey. They have a low center of gravity thanks to their short legs that keep them anchored.
These two birds were hanging out together and sharing a meal at Fort Desoto Park near St. Petersburg, Florida. This was our last trip down that way in January before COVID.
As a bonus, I thought I would share one of my favorite animated short films from Disney Pixar. I loved it so much, it lived on our DVR for months. It just makes me HAPPY!!!
Until next week…Week #17 – Macro Bird Shots
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