Tag Archives: Bird

Serenaded by a Northern Cardinal

Yesterday the sun was shining. I visited a friend, then, as I pulled out of her driveway to go home, I was drawn to the lake instead. I drove along Lake Drive heading north along Lake Simcoe. I love looking out at the lake. The flash of red caught my eye and I had to pull over. I got out of the car, camera in hand and walked back, hoping I could find him.

Enjoying the spring sunshine

Sure enough, his song led me right to his perch in the still leafless trees on the edge of the lake. The Northern Cardinal is one of the most distinct birds in our area. The male is a beautiful red and his song is equally distinctive.
Both male and female have the same beautiful sound.
Sometimes it sounds like purdy purdy purdy… whoit, whoit, whoit, whoit.
Another call resembles what-cheer, what-cheer … wheet, wheet, wheet, wheet.

looking out to sea

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Large birds are easier to identify

The Red Tailed Hawk is probably the most common hawk in North America.  Red-tailed Hawks (also known as a chicken hawk in the USA) soar above open fields, slowly turning circles as they hunt for prey. Other times you’ll see them atop fence posts, eyes fixed on the ground to catch the movements of a vole or a rabbit, or simply waiting before climbing a thermal updraft into the sky.

Both male and female Red-tailed Hawks build the nest, or simply refurbish one of the nests they’ve used in previous years. Nests are tall piles of dry sticks.  Red-tailed Hawks typically put their nests in the crowns of tall trees or cliffs  where they have a commanding view of the landscape. They will lay 1-3 eggs in the spring. While the female most often sits on the nest, the male will sit on the nest when the female goes to hunt. The male brings the food once the eggs hatch.

The babies known as eyasses, and stay in the nest for about 45 days. Then they start to learn to fly and hunt. At this stage they are known as  fledglings. It takes about 10 weeks for the fledglings to mature and leave the nest.

Red-Tailed Hawk

The Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America. This large heron has yellow eyes. It has a white head with black stripes and black plumes sticking out of the back of its head. They find a new mate each year.

Great blue herons are waders. They can be seen along the edge of lakes and streams, walking slowly or standing in the water, patiently waiting for a fish to come within range. Though they are best known as fishers, mice constitute a large part of their diet, and they also eat insects and other small creatures.

Great blue herons’ size (3.2 to 4.5 feet/1 to 1.4 meters) and wide wingspan (5.5 to 6.6 feet/1.7 to 2 meters) make them a joy to see in flight. They can cruise at some 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 kilometers) an hour.

Though great blue herons hunt alone, they typically nest in colonies. They prefer tall trees, but sometimes nest in low shrubs. The nest can be a meter wide. Females produce two to seven eggs, which both parents protect and incubate. Chicks can survive on their own by about two months of age.

Osprey and its young

Osprey are a large raptor, found around the world near oceans, rivers and lakes. They each fish which they catch with their large hooked talons. They build their nests on the top of dead trees, on telephone poles or other high structures including manmade nesting platforms.

They return to the same nest year after year. The female will stay close to the nest, while the male will bring food to the young.  They have a wingspan of 1.6 metres.

This post is part of the Sunday Post challenge started by Jakesprinter. You can find out all about it at http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/sunday-post-nature/

When The Birds and The Bees Meet

I felt him looking at me. He was staring from the roof of the bird feeder. Mr Yellow Jacket rubbed his hands together, watching my approach.  Was he planning an attack?

"Hey, gang, wake up, someone is heading this way. She looks tasty"

All winter, the Yellow Jackets have laid in wait, dormant, hiding inside the log cabin that sits on the bird feeder. We did not realize they had built a home there.

"I am coming Buzz, I am ready to attack cause I am hungry It has been a long winter."

My husband had to take down the log house and remove the nest. The Yellow Jackets continue to gather around the empty feeder. I have a feeling they will be building another home inside the house.

The hive, but no honey. Just our luck, we get the Yellow Jackets. Why don't the Honey Bees built a hive on our property.

There was a cluster of bees inside the nest.

We enjoy feeding the birds and watching them at the feeder. I wonder if birds will eat the bees? I hope so.

The Birdhouse is back on the post. We will keep watching for further developments.