What birds do you C?: Bird Weekly Challenge

What birds do you C in this post? The Bird Weekly Photo Challenge this week is birds that start with a “C.” Can you guess what each bird is? Answers are at the end.

1. This hawk likes to hang out around bird feeders to pick up a quick snack of songbirds. It’s a medium-size accipiter that lives in forested habitats

Cooper's Hawk September 2015
Bend, Oregon

2. This songbird’s name comes from its habit of foraging through piles of discarded grain. It’s common throughout parts of Europe and Asia.

What birds do you C March 2020
Carrigtohill, County Cork, Ireland

3. This songbird lives in colonies; usually near a water source. They collect mud to create unique gourd-shaped nests.

swallows in Yellowstone January 2015
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

4. This seabird, with its striking black and white plumage, is often described as a “flying penguin.” Other species in this family of birds include puffins and auks.

Seabirds in British Columbia February
Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Canada

5. North America’s largest shorebird is often seen inland, far from any ocean shoreline. Its name reflects a distinctive part of its anatomy.

What bird do you C near Burns, Oregon
Burns, Oregon

Answers: 1. Cooper’s hawk 2. chaffinch 3. cliff swallow 4. common murre 5. long-billed curlew

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge – Birds that start with a C

Waterfowl on the Deschutes: BWPC

At this time of the year, you see a lot of waterfowl on the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon. I paused to look at this group of mallards until…

Waterfowl on the Deschutes River December 2020

This happened. No he didn’t hit me, but I thought I better continue on my way.

Mallard flying at me! December 2020

Then I saw this big gray-white camera shy bird next to a pair of common mergansers. What is that?

Trumpeter swan & common mergansers December 2020

Oh! It’s a trumpeter swan, not a species I see very often here. It was all by itself.

Trumpeter swan % common mergansers December 2020

When I was almost at the end of my walk, I saw this group of buffleheads and mallards. I’ll just zoom in a little since they’re going in the same direction.

Waterfowl on the Deschutes River December 2020

Well the Canada geese and common goldeneye cooperated, but this bufflehead decided to go his own way.

Canada geese, bufflehead, common goldeneye December 2020

You never know what waterfowl on the Deschutes River will do next when they know you’re trying to photograph them. 😉

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge – Birds near or in the water or snow

Varied thrush drinking: BWPC & SS

I took some pictures of a varied thrush drinking yesterday. I’m posting them for the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge and Sunday Stills challenge. My previous post, Backyard birding adventures, shows other birds in my yard.

One or two varied thrushes always visits us in the fall season. They travel with the American robin flocks.

Varied thrush drinking

You can see how they’re closely related to robins. To hear the eerie song of varied thrushes, scroll down this page to Songs and Calls.

Varied thrush & robins

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge – In Your Yard or Garden

Sunday Stills – Kinda Backyard Birding

Backyard birding adventures: BWPC & SS

We have a water feature in our yard so we have lots of backyard birding adventures. This summer I bought a special mount to take digital pictures through my spotting scope. This process is referred to as “digiscoping.” Unfortunately, many of the pictures I first took turned out blurry. I’m having much better luck with my brand new mount.

Here’s a photo of one of our California scrub-jays taken with my Google Pixel phone. Isn’t it a beautiful bird?

backyard birding adventures - scrub-jay near Bend

I used my point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix camera for this one. It was a little tricky to hold it in place on the mount. This a European starling and an American robin.

Starling & robin

We get tons of robins at this time of the year and they chase other birds away.

American robins

This image is blurry but it captures a frequent visitor, a robin, next to an infrequent one, an evening grosbeak. Glad I got a quick glimpse of the grosbeak!

Backyard birding adventures American robin & evening grosbeak

Here’s another infrequent visitor, a hermit thrush, and, you guessed it! – a robin. Five different thrushes are in our yard at this time of year.

Hermit thrush & American robin

Mountain chickadees are a common visitor.

Mountain chickadee

Lesser goldfinches are also common. Here’s a group shot of these little lemon-colored birds next to a house finch. We also see American goldfinches occasionally.

Lesser goldfinch

Dark-eyed junco are frequent visitors. They aren’t afraid of the robins.

Dark-eyed junco

The pygmy nuthatches are a bit more shy.

Pygmy nuthatch

The house finches, on the left, and northern flickers, on the right, are not shy at all.

Backyard birding adventures - house finch & northern flicker

Backyard birding in action

One day I took a lot of pictures through the spotting scope (with the old mount) that didn’t turn out great. Google turned them into a GIF and I like how it turned out. It gives you an idea of how fast these birds actually move. 😀

Backyard birding Gif

I’ll share more of my backyard birding adventures as I get better at taking pictures through the scope.

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge (BWPC) – In Your Yard or Garden

Sunday Stills (SS) – Kinda Backyard Birding

Owls in the mist – Images & poem: BWPC

Owls in the mist
glide into view
on silent wings

Owls in the mist, great horned owl 2020
Great horned owl

Pondering us
Through eyes,
Round and wise

Burrowing owl vignette
Burrowing owl

Standing tall with
steely grips and
powerful presence

Eurasian eagle-owl March 2020
Eurasian eagle-owl

Owls in the mist
focus their vision
towards the future

Owls in the mist Barn owl
Barn owl

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge (BWPC) – Owls

Avocets in the Spring & Fall: BWPC

The Bird Weekly Photo Challenge this week is birds whose names start with an ‘a’. I’m sharing photos of American Avocets I took in the spring and fall.

I saw these two avocets in April during the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival. These flooded fields are north of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, near Burns, Oregon.

The Migratory Bird Festival was cancelled this year so I had to look in my archives for these photos. One of my favorite field trips in past years was the Circling Steens Mountain Tour. Lots of opportunities to see birds of the shore, fields, and mountains.

Avocets near Burns, Oregon April 2019
Flooded fields south of Burns, Oregon April 2019

Avocets look much different in the fall. Their cinnamon-colored plumage fades to black and white.

I saw these avocets in November at Summer Lake Wildlife Area in Central Oregon. Can you see the dust storms in the distance? I have featured Summer Lake in several past posts. It’s a great place to see waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds.

Avocets near Summer Lake, Oregon November 2017
Summer Lake Wildlife Area, Oregon November 2017

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge (BWPC) – Birds starting with an ‘a’

Encounter with an Eurasian eagle-owl: BWPC

Eurasian eagle-owl

Being able to participate in an encounter with an Eurasian eagle-owl was one of my favorite things on a recent trip to Ireland. You have the opportunity to see various birds of prey up close and personal at the Dingle Falconry Experience, located on the Dingle peninsula.

Owl in flight in  Dingle, Ireland March 2020

This bird is a female named “Fluffy.” Eurasian eagle-owls are one of the largest owls in the world. Females, which are larger than the males, measure 30 inches in length. This owl’s wingspan is typically 4 feet 4 inches to 6 feet 2 inches.

Guide at Dingle Falconry Experience Ireland March 2020

The guides tell you about the life history of each species at Dingle Falconry Experience. In addition to the eagle-owl, they had an Irish barn owl, a peregrine falcon, and a Harris hawk the day I was there. You stand in a large circle and the birds fly to each participant’s gloved hand.

Owl being held at Dingle Falconry Experience March 2020

The Eurasian eagle-owl is brought to each participant. That’s because she is heavy! See our guide supporting my wrist when I’m holding Fluffy? Eurasian eagle-owls weigh 2.7 to 10.1 pounds, with females on the heavier end of the scale. Barn owls weigh 0.9 to 1.4 pounds in comparison.

If you’re ever in Dingle in County Kerry, Ireland, try to make time to participate in this unique experience. It’s one you will never forget! 😀

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge – Short legged birds