Welcome to Week #26 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #26 challenge is Birds beginning with a “B”. “B” is for Bird but not just any bird. It has to be like a Brittany or Barbara…A Barry or Brandon.
As long as one of the main words in the name of the bird begins with a “B” it is all good. Like Red-bellied Woodpecker or Lazuli Bunting.
The feature image is a Black-crowned Night Heron. They give us plenty of photo opportunities up close and personal when we visit Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida. It has been almost a year since our last trip down there and due to covid, we are not going down there anytime soon. I can’t even make a birding trip without seeing my kids and grandkids and that is just not an option right now. So I will have to enjoy my archives from the safety of my home.
The Brown-headed Cowbird is quite abundant throughout North America and can be seen as far South as Central America. The Cowbird, simply put belongs to the Blackbird family. The one above is a male. Neither the male or the female build nests. Instead, the female can lay up to three dozen eggs in a summer to which she deposits in other species nests for them to raise her young. Often times, the host bird’s own chicks don’t survive. Cowbirds have surged in numbers and I can see why when they just drop and go.
This Painted Bunting gave me a hard time. Not a decent shot of the bunch, but this was the best one. They can be seen at feeders after breeding season, starting in midsummer. This is a male which is full of color. The female is a bright green with a pale eyering. They breed in the Southeast and the south-central United States. We have them during spring and summer migration in Florida, but they winter in South Florida and further south.
The Black-and-white Warbler is primarily found in North, Central and South America, plus throughout the Caribbean. This migratory bird is distinct with its black stripes running from the chest across the back, through the wings and atop the head. They creep along trees similar to a woodpecker and poke the bark with their bill for insects.
Found in Central and North America, the Black-capped Chickadee is one of the first birds you will learn if you live in its region. They frequent bird feeders and are quite enamored with humans. Consider putting up a nesting box to attract a breeding pair. If you think you may do that, it is recommended to put a guard on the box to keep out predators like the Brown-headed Cowbird and birds of prey who will raid the nest for the eggs and/or the young.
The Blue Grosbeak is a large dark blue bunting with a thick silver bill and chestnut colored wingbars. These birds like the thicker habitat and can be hard to spot and equally hard to photograph. I spotted this one in Texas a few years ago and never got a clean shot. This was the best of the lot. They will visit feeders with grains and seeds in a shrubby backyard. They have come by my yard a time or two. They breed across the central and southern United States and Mexico, but live year-round in Central America. They will migrate throughout the Caribbean Islands.
The Little Blue Heron is white in its first year. This is typically a good thing as they are learning to feed themselves and are tolerated a lot better by the Snowy Egrets. While feeding near the Egrets, the juvenile is more likely to catch fish than a mature bird in full blue plumage trying to feed around Egrets. The juvenile above was starting to get his blue color in and still learning how to land without looking extremely clumsy.
The Pied-billed Grebe is rarely seen in flight because they are poor flyers. They are found throughout North America in marshes, lakes and ponds. They may lack the wings to fly, but they are talented divers and use their bills to kill and eat large crustaceans along with a large variety of fish, amphibians, insects and other invertebrates.
The Western Bluebird can be spotted in the Central to western parts of North America. I took this beautiful female in Montana last September. They are abundant in open fields in the mountains. They sit on low perches like this one and swoop lightly down to the ground to catch insects. We watched 3 of them do this for about 10 minutes. It was quite amazing. This is another bird that will nest in a nesting box if you are located in their habitat.
The Belted Kingfisher can be spotted along streams and shorelines of North America. They have a piercing loud rattle call that you will often hear before you see them. They are wicked fast and do not cooperate when you are trying to photograph them. The above photo is the best one I’ve ever gotten.
Just a bonus of a small flock of Brown Pelicans flying over us at Little Talbot Island State Park beach this summer. MY FAVORITE BIRD!
Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.
Until next week…Week #27 – Birds with Red Feathers
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