Welcome to Week #32 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #32 challenge is Birds with brown feathers. This can be a splash of brown or brown all over! Many “girl” birds have brown feathers whereas their more colorful boyfriend flashes his “Liberace” colors!
What do you think of when you hear the color brown? It has been etched in American brains via brand advertising and is the most reliable shipping company in the U.S. – United Parcel Service (UPS). How cool would it be to start attaching our parcels to the owls like they did in Harry Potter? It would certainly be more reliable than the United State Postal Service right now.
Before we plan our birding trips, we scour the many lists on Ebird.org to see what has been seen and logged in recent days. If you don’t use Ebird and want to get out there and find them, I suggest using this site or download the app to your phone. The data you submit goes directly to CornellLab of Ornithology. Birds are logged by birders and scientist all over the world.
Male Northern Pintails like this one stand out in a crowd. That long tail is a dead giveaway, but note the long white neck and the chocolate brown head.
Hooded Mergansers are primarily found in North America but have some ties to Antarctic, Iceland & Europe. The male is quite flashing with his bold black and white markings and his brown chestnut flanks. His yellow eye stands out against his black face feathers. The female is a modeled brown all over but has a cinnamon crest when raised.
The Tricolored Herons colors consist of blue-gray, lavender and white with a white stripe down the middle of of their neck. The white belly sets it apart from other herons. When these colors come together, a brown color is formed on the outer sides of these wading birds.
What can you say about the most color duck of all? The Wood Duck has iridescent colors of chestnut and green with beautiful ornate markings that shine on almost every feather. The female has a white pattern around the eye.
In the case of the Belted Kingfisher, the female gets the win for the most colorful. The males are blue-gray, white breasted with a blue-gray band on the chest. The female like the one above has a chestnut band on her belly and flanks.
The male Northern Shoveler is definitely the flashier of the pair. His distinctive green head, white breast and chestnut brown flanks have him standing out in a crowd. The female is a modeled brown all over and can look like many other female ducks. The distinction from other species is the large spoon-shaped bill on both the male and female.
The Red-shouldered Hawk has reddish brown feathers under his wings and along the chest area. The feathers are brown modeled with white around their upper flanks and body. Juveniles are more flat brown than the adults and the have dark streaks on the underparts.
The Osprey has a combination of black and brown wings with white underparts. A broad brown band goes through their yellow eye and has a distinctive black hooked bill.
The Sora is an elusive brown and gray marsh bird that rarely shows itself. This is a bird that is on our “watch” list every year because we don’t always add it to our yearly list. They walk slowly through shallow wetlands. Even though they are hard to find, they are the most widespread and abundant of all the rails in North America. The photo above was 1 of 4 that we saw on January 4, 2021 at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.
The Turkey Vulture is distinguished with a bald red head, however juvenile Turkey Vultures can be mistaken for Black Vultures who have an ash-gray head.
In 2010, photographers from all over the world travelled to Matanza Inlet in St. Augustine, Florida to witness and photograph a pair of Great Horned Owls with their two chicks. This was the female sleeping with her chicks in a large live oak tree with the male perched higher in a tree nearby. This old oak tree no longer exists due to Hurricane Matthew in 2016. If you look closely, you will see one of the baby heads on the right tucked in front of mama.
The Great Horned Owl’s facial disc can vary from gray to cinnamon depending on the region. Their feathers can vary also from gray to brown. They have the large ear tufts that distinguish them from other owls. The chicks are white and gray.
What would a brown challenge be without the Brown Pelican, my favorite bird? The photo above was taken at Fort Desoto Park in Pinellas County last January. This juvenile was clumsy and trying to figure out how to catch a fish in Tampa Bay. I, however did not see him succeed, but it is fun to watch them learn by trying and trying and trying. I’m sure he is an experienced fisherman by now!
Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.
Next time…Week #33 – Birds on a wire or fence.