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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Peregrine Falcon Tangles with Bald Eagle!

Peregrine Falcon

Yesterday we saw one of the most spectacular Peregrine Falcon encounters we ever had at J.N.Ding Darling NWR. A Peregrine Falcon was sitting on a sandbar on pond 2 eating what we think was a Laughing Gull, when it then flew with its prey and dropped it, oops! Then in comes a subadult Bald Eagle and the Peregrine goes after the eagle, then attempts to unsuccessfully pick up the prey. Hot in pursuit of the eagle the Peregrine dives at it again. Meanwhile the prey has just about sunk below the surface of the water. The Peregrine then gives up, flys over our head and the eagle goes back to the original sandbar and, scavenger that is sometimes is, eats the spoils - the entrails of the gull! Amazing!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Just Rosy! Spoonbill action.

Roseate Spoonbills at Ding Darling NWR

This beautiful bird was not watching planes in the sky. It raised its head as a flight intention movement. After lifting its bill twice it took off! Knowing bird behavior can help your bird photography!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Scaup,Tricky ID

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

2 Species of Scaup are being seen on Sanibel, FL now. Beautiful ducks that breed mainly in Canada, AK, and the Arctic. Told apart by head shape, the Lesser has a steep forehead that rounds off to a high, short somewhat peaked crown with a slight corner at the rear. the Greater Scaup's head has a horizontal sometimes slightly rectangular appearance. Fairly steep forehead rounds out into a fairly long crown. In general head length is greater than height and the opposite in Lesser Scaup. For more complete information see our best-selling national The Stokes Field Guide to Birds of North America and the East/West editions

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Peregrine Surprise!

This Peregrine Falcon enthralled us as it flew into a tree right above us after attempting to knock down a dove without success. We were with friends and were just about to go into a restaurant when this happened. Serendipity timing!Just made our day because we usually see Peregrines flying it is rare to have one perch and stay. That's the joy of birding, you never know what's going to happen.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Winter Bird Feeding in Severe Weather

American Goldfinches and Pine Siskin on lower right 

Dark-eyed Junco in snow

Severe winter weather with below 0 degrees temperatures and storms is invading much of the eastern area of the country now. This makes it hard for birds to find food and survive. Birds cannot live for more than a day or two without food and providing feeders may help them survive. To help your birds get through winter in areas of the country where there is severe winter weather, start with an excellent bird feeder set up. Make sure you include multiple Stokes Select®  tubular, hopper, screen, and suet feeders filled with a variety of quality bird seeds and suet. Focus on providing black oil sunflower (which has a high oil, thus calorie count), seed mixes that contain a good amount of black oil sunflower and, for finches, Nyjer (thistle) seed. Also include suet which is a calorie-rich food that provides much needed energy for birds in cold weather.

Place feeders near cover so the birds can escape wind and cold. Near pines or other evergreens is ideal, especially if they face south. Place feeders on poles with squirrel baffles and locate them 12 or more feet from any place from which a squirrel can jump.

 Clean off snow from feeders whenever it accumulates from a storm. This includes shoveling snow from under the feeders so ground feeding species like Mourning Doves, White-throated Sparrows and juncos can access seeds that birds drop from the above feeders.Consider using the snow blower to clear under the feeders if it is feasible. Some people make a big brush pile with a hollow middle inside and sprinkle seed on the ground in the middle of it so ground feeding species can get the seed. The more feeders you have, the more kinds of birds you will attract. 

Winter target birds. In addition to regular winter birds like chickadees, titmice, goldfinches, nuthatches, cardinals, jays, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, juncos, and White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows, you may attract rarer species like Common Redpolls, Pine Siskins, and Evening Grosbeaks.

Once you finish shoveling the snow go inside, pour a cup of hot chocolate, get out your binoculars and field guide and, though the window, watch a lot of happy birds flock to your feeders.

And if you're looking for to identify the birds you see, get our new Stokes Essential Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America. With 250 species and over 580 stunning photos,  it contains all the birds you will see at your feeders and the essential ones beyond. For the more advanced birders on your list get our best-selling, 

It was recently divided into Eastern and Western editions, and we also have a new pocket guide for backyard birders.