Welcome to Week #35 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #35 challenge is Birds you Love! Happy Valentine’s Day!
The feature image is the baby Blue-gray Gnatcatcher that Frank and I rescued after it fell out of its nest in a high tree during a wind storm at the University of North Florida while on the hiking trails. I fell in love with this bird and was its surrogate mother for a weekend until I could get it to a rescue on Monday. I cried my eyes out when I dropped that baby bird off at the animal hospital. I featured this little bird on another blog last October, telling the story.
Even if you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, I know you love birds and while out birding, it’s like Valentine’s Day everyday…especially when you see a new or rare bird. You all know what is next. My favorite birds and in particular the Pelican! If I had to choose one bird to be my Valentine, it would be the Brown Pelican!
Captured this one in St. Petersburg, Florida in Treasure Island. We had just eaten a wonderful seafood meal when we came out onto the boardwalk and this guy was splashing about. Too bad he wasn’t facing me and good thing I carried my camera into the restaurant.
These two juveniles were learning to feed in the intercoastal in Melbourne, Florida.
It’s no secret I love the Brown Pelican and it is my favorite bird. Sorry all you other species out there, but the fact is, this prehistoric looking bird is funny and elegant at the same time. They plunge dive from high above using the force of impact to stun small fish. They scoop them up into their pouch. Watching juvenile Brown Pelicans is quite comical. They will prepare to take off and stab at the water moments later. It takes a while for them to develop the full plunge dive technique. For these reasons, the Brown Pelican is my choice for a Valentine!
American White Pelicans feeding together at Viera Wetlands in Viera, Florida. Caught here, swimming together as they often do to drive schooling fish toward the shallows so they can corral them and enjoy lunch together. They would make a fine Valentine because of their social tendencies.
“I can do it on my own….I don’t need them”. This will be a lonely Valentine’s Day for this guy!
One of the hardest birds to find is the Florida Scrub Jay. You know the old adage….”You can’t always get what you want”….okay…so that’s the title of a Rolling Stones song, but it is the theme of the Florida Scrub Jay. They are difficult to find and if you are lucky enough, they will show themselves and play with you. I got lucky with this photo during the day. They will often come out at dusk when it is difficult to photograph them. This bird is a player! Not Valentine material at all!
Now, if you like the mohawk look, the Gray Catbird is for you. You might have to overlook the scratching call that comes out of this bird unless you love the sound of a screeching cat. If you can get past that nasally voice, you have a very handsome date for Valentine’s Day.
Distinguished and Debonaire, the American Oystercatcher is formally dressed all the time. Yes, he has a large snoz, but he is quite colorful. Just look into his beautiful red-yellow eyes. He will wine and dine you at the best Raw Bar around, presenting you with oysters on the half shell. If fancy fresh seafood is to your liking, this might just be your Valentine.
Catch these two before they get paired up. Once they start their courtship, nothing else matters. The male will dance around, turning and twisting his body in front of a perched female. Only 20% of the pairs stay together after winter. This could be your Valentine this year since they are not lifelong monogamous bird species. While putting this post together, I grabbed the wrong female cardinal. It is an honest mistake. This is not mine, but instead of changing it and using my photo, I’d like to keep it and give credit where credit is due. The female cardinal on the right belongs to Lisa with A Day in the Life from a September post. Please visit her site as she loves birds as much as I do.
Last, but certainly not least, the Lovebird says it all in the name. This, of course is Tweety, our Peach-faced Lovebird that met a horrifying death at the behest of a Red-shouldered Hawk. When matched up, they are the only two birds in the picture. They are very affectionate to one another and could care less about their human pals who feed them. However, if you only have one, they will imprint on one human. Only one human. Tweety imprinted on my hubby, Frank. Tweety tolerated me. I was okay with it except he wouldn’t listen to me and would only listen to Frank. Lovebirds make a great Valentine to either the human companion or another lovebird.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone and keep your birds close to your heart!
Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.
Next time…Week #36 – Hawks