Welcome to Week #34 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #34 challenge is Birds beginning with the Letter “D” in the title.
This prove to be a difficult one for me because there are not that many “D” birds that I have images of other than the normal doves and ducks. With that said, I have plenty of those. The only “D” bird I don’t have a photo of is a Dunlin. I’ve seen them from far away, but have never gotten a great photo. I also have a photo of a Dickcissel that I can’t find, and I know I will find it within the next two weeks because that is how it goes! I have one card that has gone bad and it is probably on that card.
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 CornelLab of Ornithology. Birds are logged by birders and scientist all over the world.
The adult male is black and brown, whereas the female and juvenile have a white neck and breast. I don’t have a great photo of a female. Like the Anhinga, Cormorants are fish eaters and dive for their food. One distinction is the Cormorants have a hook bill and the Anhinga has a straight spear like bill to stab the fish.
While neither of these photos is great, it is all I have of the Ring-necked Ducks. Almost anytime I see these ducks, the light is harsh or I’m on the highway and can’t stop. During fall migration, they can form large flocks. They mainly breed in the northern parts of North America.
The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is one of the coolest ducks around. They are found in the U.S., Mexico and South America. Their habitat is mainly southern parts of North America but they are beginning to expand their range. They have a high-pitched whistle as they fly and approach their landing area.
Domestic Muscovy Duck hanging out with his neighbor, the Domestic Mallard. The coloration of these ducks have changed as they have domesticated. The Muscovy Duck can be confusing because the male will mate with other species, creating sterile hybrid offspring.
Talk about a daredevil! The Harlequin Duck is the most adventure of all the ducks. They find the roughest conditions and commence to diving into the turmoulous water from the slippery rocks. Flocks can be found on rocky shores in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast Atlantic coast. This guy made it all the way down to Fernandina, Florida a few years ago, making him a rare bird. He showed off his plunging skills as the high waves began coming over the rocks. He bounced off of rocks and sometimes floundering. Scientists have found they have suffered more broken bones than any other species and most adults live with multiple healed fractures. After watching this guy for 2 hours, I understand why.
I just love this photo and wanted to share it again.
More Mourning Doves on the feeder. We call them “Flying Pigs”. They are prone to raid our feeders and chase off other species. They will sit in the cups of food, protecting what they solely believe belongs to them. The Mourning Dove and Common Ground Dove are similar looking but the Mourning Dove has a long pointed tail.
Eurasian-collared Doves are widespread north of the equator in many countries. It is related to the Mourning Dove, but distinguished by the black half-collar at the nape of the neck, which is where it gets its name. This species was introduced to the Bahamas in the 1970’s. By the 1980’s they had found their way to Florida and quickly spread throughout most of North America.
This is a Dark-eyed Junco (Pink-sided). It wasn’t until we travelled to Montana that I learned that the Junco comes in different subspecies. I saw this little guy hopping around on the ground scattered with pine needles in the mountains of the Grand Tetons. We were putting away the kayak from a wonderful day of paddling on String Lake when I saw him foraging around.
The Downy Woodpecker can be found at most bird feeders. They typically join flocks of Chickadees and Nuthatches. They prefer suet but are quite fond of the black oil sunflower seeds, millet, peanuts and chunky peanut butter. We have found that none of the woodpeckers in our neighborhood like the suet. They prefer the sunflower seeds and peanuts. We stopped buying the suet. The photo above is a female. Males have a red patch on the back of their heads.
If you are getting ready to put up feeders or have them already, I would test the different seed blends to see what attracts your birds. Even the experts are not always right. We have found that millet is a great filler and detracts the doves from eating as much of the expensive food blends. Millet has also attracted other birds we have never had in our yard, plus the sparrows love it.
Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.
Next time…Week #35 – Birds you Love! Your favorite birds if you can choose a few. Maybe explain why you love them so much! Why they would make a great Valentine??? LOL!
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