The feature image is a Brown Thrasher perched up on a bird feeder. I almost posted this on the spots and freckles post, but they have a long tail so I saved him for this post not knowing I was going to have foot surgery. They are the only thrasher species east of Texas and the most common host of parasitic Brown-headed Cowbirds. Unlike other birds, the Brown-thrasher will put up a fight before rejecting the cowbird’s eggs that are laid in the nest.
Week #52, birds with long tail feathers was guest hosted by Sarah at Travel with Me. I want to thank Sarah for an outstanding post and doing Bird Weekly proud. I haven’t felt good enough to post anything or even share my birds for this challenge. I’ve responded to a few comments but those are usually days later. I’m up to about 4 hours at the computer a day but business is still moving along and that has been a priority. By the time I finish my orders, I’m toast and to the couch I go…..and slowly I go.
I hope you will visit Sarah’s Bird Weekly post as I have linked it above and below. She gave a great explanation into the usefulness of a bird’s tail feathers that I don’t need to repeat here. You still have time to participate in this as I have moved all the challenges down a week. There is no bird weekly for this week. I just wasn’t up for it. I will post the round up for Tail Feathers next Friday, 7/2, just before the new “H” birds that was supposed to be this week. Hold on to those posts! You can link your Tail Feather post to this post or to Sarah’s. I will be gathering this information from her blog and the few that have come in on mine. If I miss anyone, please let me know right away so I can fix it.
The Loggerhead Shrike is a songbird with a raptors personality. This bird would have been a great candidate for spots week, but their tail in comparison to their body is quite long. They are serious hunters and like a falcon, the prey on other birds, lizards, snakes and other vertebrate. However, they do not possess talons like raptors, therefore they use a tricker approach. They corner the victims and wedge them on thorns or barbed wire. They use their hooked bill called “tomial teeth” to finish them off and lunch in served.
Mockingbirds are one of the most common birds in the United States. This one was a bit curious at something. Maybe it was watching a lizard. They visit feeders but they are meat eaters so they will keep your yard free of critters buried underground. They are the most prolific songbird in America. Sometimes you will hear up to 50 different songs in a sitting. I know this because we have counted. They are the boss in many yards and will chase off predators much larger than they are. Mockingbirds are the state bird in Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. Interesting for me as I’ve lived most of my life in Texas and Florida.
American Robins can be found throughout North America for much of the year. They are migratory and are often seen in your yard pulling critters out. Much of the time, they will forage for earthworms in the morning and eat berries in the afternoon. I’ve seen them do this and in reverse depending on availability. This photo was taken on my trip to Texas when my mom had her stroke and a couple of days before she passed away. I had taken a break from her bedside in her Hospice room and grabbed my camera in search for some fresh air. This American Robin was foraging on the grounds at the hospital and is a beautiful reminder of mom.
The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is a migratory bird found in Central and North America. I saw these a lot as a kid growing up in Texas which is much of their range. I was visiting my sister several years ago and woke up early. I took a walk down her dirt road and just as the sun was coming up, I saw this one on a wire. As I got closer, it decided to take flight where you can see the sun sprayed through the wings in the photo below. Their long forked tail is the most distinguishable part of this gray and salmon-pink flycatcher.
The Common Grackle has a shorter tail than the Great-tailed Grackle or Boat-tailed Grackle but I couldn’t find those photos. There is a variant Common Grackle known as the Purple Grackle that nests along the Atlantic coast on the eastern United States south of New York. It has uniform blue-violet or variegated multi-colored iridescence on the body.
Northern Pintails are distinguishable long-necked ducks with a very long tail. When they are with other ducks, the males are easy to identify among other dabblers.
Blue-and-yellow Macaws, aka blue-and-gold Macaw is a large parrot found in South America. I did not go to South America to see this bird and therefore is not counted on my life bird list. I did see it at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine which is one of the largest rookies for egrets, herons, spoonbills and wood storks in Florida. Macaws can live 30-35 years in the wild and longer in captivity. If you think you might want one as a pet, think carefully because they might outlive you.
Next time…Week #53 – Birds beginning with a “H” (if a bird has more than one word of the name, you can use it as long as it begins with a “H”, ie: Hermit Thrush or Great Blue Heron) (7/02/21)