Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds with Long Wingspans

Welcome to Week #29 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #29 challenge is Birds with Long Wingspans.

The feature image is a Red-shouldered Hawk. This bird of prey is a large, broad-winged hawk that is approximately 17 inches (48-61 cm) with a wingspan of 37-43.7 inches (94-111 cm).

Happy 2021 everyone! Our first Bird Weekly Photo Challenge for the new year! We had some great birding in 2020 despite the challenges the world is facing with the pandemic, economy and job loss. If you get a chance to thank a front line worker, please do so because they keep our lives at a somewhat “normal” level. I always thank the people checking me out at the grocery store and the one who cleans the shopping cart after every human has touched it. They continue to keep us safe, take care of those who have fallen ill and do their jobs despite the dangers they face so that we can have the freedom to get outside in nature to do what we love.

This week, we explore birds with long wingspans. I missed everyone last week but I hope you had a wonderful holiday!


Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill flying towards a roosting tree over the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida.

The Roseate Spoonbill is a 32 inches (81 cm) bird that can reach a height of up to 2.5 feet (80 cm) with a wingspan that can stretch 1.5 times as wide, reaching up to 4 feet (120 cm).


Wood Stork

The Wood Stork is a large bird that is 33-44 inches (85-115 cm) bird with a wingspan reaching 59-60 inches (150-175 cm).

Wood Stork drying his wings in the sun at Sweetwater Preserve in Gainesville, Florida.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk soaring high above looking for prey.

The Red-tailed hawk is distinguished by its red tail and is 18-26 inches (45-56 cm) with a wingspan of 3.4-4.8 feet (114-133 cm). It is the most common hawk in North America. They fly high above open fields, slowly turning their broad rounded wings to position themselves to go in after their prey. The Red-tailed Hawk is the bird that swooped down and knocked our Love Bird, Tweety off his perch, pinned him to the ground and flew off with him in his talons. Gruesome account, but accurate.


Turkey Vulture

The Turkey Vulture is a 25-32 inch (64-81 cm) bird with a 6 foot (170-178 cm) wingspan. They are the clean up crew who are opportunist. They do not kill their prey, they rather wait for something to be killed or die. They prefer fresh meat that is 12-24 hours old.

A family of Turkey Vultures hanging out at Sweetwater Preserve in Gainesville, Florida.

A family of Turkey Vultures hanging out at the Sweetwater Preserve in Gainesville, Florida. The two small black ones on the left are juveniles.


Osprey

Osprey flying in with building material for a nest.

The Osprey is a large bird of prey that is 21-23 inches (53-58 cm) and has a wingspan of 5 feet (1.5 meters) Both the male and female build the nest, but the male usually arrives first to find the site before the female arrives. It is believed they are mostly monogamous and often mate for life.


Anhinga

Anhinga perched on the railing of the boardwalk drying his wings at Sweetwater Preserve in Gainesville, Florida.

The Anhinga is 35 inches (89 cm) with a wingspan that reaches 3.7 feet (1.14 meters). They are fish eaters and dive like ducks with their webbed feet. Once finished in the water, they have to dry their wings by spreading them out as they don’t have a natural repellent on their feathers like many birds.


Great Egret

Great Egret fishing.

An adult Great Egret can reach a length of 2.6-3.4 feet (80-104 cm) with a wingspan of 52-67 inches (131-170 cm). This bird is the symbol of the National Audubon Society, one of the oldest environmental organizations in North America. Audubon was founded to protect birds from being killed for their feathers when they were almost extinct in the nineteenth century.


Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret stalking its prey at Sweetwater Preserve in Gainesville, Florida.

The Cattle Egret is a small white heron at 18.1-22.1 inches (46-55 cm) in length with a wingspan of about 3 feet (88-96 cm). This bird was originally from Africa but found its way to North America in 1953.


Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull taking off from a pylon at the Reddie Point dock in Jacksonville, Florida.

While the Laughing Gull is not the largest of the gulls, it is still 15-18 inches in length (39-46 cm) with a wingspan of 36-47 inches (92-120 cm).


Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican soaring just above the water at Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina, Florida.

The Brown Pelican is a 54 inch (100-137 cm) long bird with a 6.5-7 foot (200 cm) wingspan. Just before this pelican dive bombs from up above, it tucks its wings a bit for a more aerodynamic plunge to secure it’s fish as it hits the water.


Great Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron at Fort Desoto Park near St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Great Blue Heron is a 38-54 inch (97-137 cm) bird with an impressive wingspan of 65-79 inches (167-201 cm). With it’s large wingspan, it can soar up to 20-30 miles per hour (32-48 kph). Once on the ground, they are slow movers and patient feeders. They slowly stalk their prey of fish and other aquatic prey. They have been known to stab at and eat snakes as well.


Snail Kite

Snail Kite soaring and searching for snails in the marsh at La Chua Trail in Gainesville, Florida.

The Snail Kite is a medium-sized raptor measuring 14-19 inches (36-48 cm). It’s wingspan is 39-47 inches (99-120 cm). They forage, like this one, in marshy areas and open shallow waters in search of snails. They nest in wetlands of Southern Florida, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. We counted 4 of them on our birding trip to La Chua Trail in Gainesville, Florida on December 30, 2020.


Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.

Next time…Week #30 – Birds beginning with “C” such as Common Loon or Northern Cardinal. As long as one of the words begin with a “C”.

76 Comments on “Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds with Long Wingspans

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  2. Time to finally kiss a long-overdue goodbye to 2020 and welcome a hoped-for better year, 2021. Happy New Year, Lisa and Frank, and may good health and happiness be yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy New Year, Skip! Yep, adios 2020! Don’t let the door hit you in the arse on the way out. Trump is next! Hoping 2021 sees better days than 2020. We did finish strong with the business so one good thing came out of it. 🙂

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      • Yee Haa to y’all’s well-deserved success, Lisa!!! May it be a strong indicator of even better times to come in 2021.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope so! I listed one product that was the biggie. I need more products like that but I think I have found a great niche. Just got to get products developed. I’m working on my wishlist today so I can start designing next week. 🙂

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    • Thank you Margaret! Some of these were taken on Tuesday so we finally got out to bird. Went out yesterday too and picked up one last bird species for 2020. Happy New Year! 🙂

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    • Thanks Terri! Snow Geese! OHHHHH! We were just joking when we took Heaven for a walk a little bit ago and 3 Canada Geese flew over. Frank says, “look Snow Geese”….yeah right! We do get a couple that travel this far south some years but we haven’t seen them this winter. 🙂 I’m glad I can host one challenge. About all I can handle with my business.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Jim. I had more, but needed to stop. I cheated with the Great Blue Heron. I used it in the last challenge but I wasn’t up for looking for a different photo. 🙂 Sometimes it happens that way. The Snail Kite just happened this week and we decided to bird in Gainesville for that reason for this challenge. That’s were we saw the gators. The things we have to do for success! LOL!

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  7. I think I may have ONE picture for this. We have a lot of hawks, but I never seem to get a picture of one, except very far away and hard to see. I might have a few Great Blue Herons. Tomorrow, I will look and see. You have wonderful pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Marilyn. I have to get out there and find them which is my favorite pastime. Hope you find one and hope to see you this week. I really missed everyone last week. 🙂

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    • Thank you Tish. I don’t mind at all. I often do the same thing myself. 🙂 The spoonbills are pretty incredible to see especially when their colors are in like these were. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Having seen a number of documentaries about the Impressionists lately, I wonder what Monet or Matisse would have made of them.

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    • The Anhinga and Cormorants both have a nickname of “Snakebird” because they both dive to get their fish. They will swim around in the water with their heads sticking up. Their long necks make them look like snakes in the water. They both have feathers that are not waterproof so they sun themselves to dry out their wings. Many similarities but different species. There are about 40 species of cormorants.

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      • That is awesome! I look forward to it! I’ll have some cormorants and other birds next week. We had a big birding day yesterday and have a lot to keep me busy over the next few weeks. 🙂

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      • I discovered that the birds in some photos I’d labelled cormorants, taken here in Sydney, are really anhingas! They’re known as “Australasian darters” apparently. I’d never have known that if not for your post. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was introduced to the darters through Bird Weekly and hey do look almost exactly the same. There are some differences like every bird species. We have several Australian bloggers on here so the knowledge I’ve gained for worldly birds has increased. I got a lot more to learn. I’m excited that we have brought some new info your way. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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    • Thanks Jez. We saw one white pelican and 5 brown pelicans on our birding trip yesterday. More than that on Monday. Two great trips this week. 🙂 More to come on that.

      Liked by 1 person

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  19. Great pictures. Anhinga looks very similar to our cormorant. Egrets used to be extremely rare in UK, but now we often see Little Egrets and occasionally Great Whites. Cattle Egrets have been spotted somewhere too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Anhinga and Cormorants are similar but different in coloration and the bills are quite different. Both have to dry their wings after diving for fish. Different Egrets are widening their range. Climate change in my opinion. The birds are much more instinctive than humans. 🙂

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  20. That first picture of the roseate spoonbill is unbelievable. I love it! (What a name – her name, what she did – ate and the utensil she used – spoon bill!)

    Liked by 1 person

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