Hawks Identified

The answers to the hawk identifications from last week’s post “A Four Hawk Week” are as follows. Top Photo: Cooper’s hawk. The rest of the hawks are: Hawk 1 – Sharp-shinned hawk (immature) What you can see is the rounded wings, longish squared-off tail and small head. What you can’t see is the rapid flap, flap, flap and glide as the bird flies along. Quick movements usually means small bird. This is a small hawk. Some of the smallest malesRead more

A Four Hawk Week

Top Photo: A hawk passes over. This past week I saw four hawk species pass overhead here at the museum. In case you would like to have a try at identifying the hawks yourself, I’ll wait several days before filling in the captions with the correct species names. The hawks pictured are not to scale.Read more

Birds

The red-shouldered hawk above was hunting from a perch just a dozen feet or so from the boardwalk leading to Explore the Wild. The red-shoulders here are quite used to people and are not bothered by human passers-by. The hawk is local and is present most days throughout the year. The same morning I also saw a pine siskin, three purple finches, red-breasted nuthatches, a Copper’s hawk (another local), there were seventeen hooded mergansers floating in the water below theRead more

Cooper’s Hawk and Widow Skimmer

Top Photo: Before you continue, see if you can identify the above hawk. That’s correct, it’s a Cooper’s hawk in immature plumage. This hawk, along with another in the same plumage was flying from perch to perch in the woods next to the path, squeakily calling as it went. The two young hawks were recently fledged from a nearby nest. I didn’t see an adult, nor do I know where the nest was. I did, however, see an adult inRead more

A Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper’s hawks are not uncommon here in Durham. Even so, I was surprised to see one perched in a willow 15 – 20 feet off the path in a black willow. The hawk watched intently as a dozen or so butter-butts flitted around the nearby wax myrtle bushes. Cooper’s hawks are almost exclusively bird eaters. When the warblers moved on, the hawk settled in for a bit of preening. Cooper’s hawks are one of three accipiters (long-tailed, forest hunting hawks)Read more

Sky High Raptors

What do the 2 two geese (above) have to do with raptors, or birds of prey? Well, if I hadn’t been paying attention to those two geese I would not have seen a bald eagle soaring over our wetlands last week. As I approached a corner of our 750’ boardwalk near the Black Bear Exhibit, I noticed our two resident Canada geese below me in the water. As I peered over the rail, I realized both geese were staring skyward.Read more

Bird Feeders

If you happen to be passing Bird Viewing while on your way to or from Catch the Wind on the Museum’s outdoor loop trail, stop and sit down for a few minutes. Grab one of the very comfortable Adirondack chairs (you won’t want to get up again) and set a while. You’re very likely to see Carolina chickadee, northern cardinal, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, Carolina wren, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, mourning dove, and pine warbler, among others, year round. InRead more

What Happened Here?

Near the Wetlands, and next to an American holly loaded with berries, stands a sapling elm tree. There are many such trees here at the Museum. But, as I walked past this particular pair of arboreal specimens I noticed several clusters of passerine contour feathers stuck to the thin branches of the small, bare elm. Most of the feathers were white, some had rufus colored centers. What happened here? When I see a group of feathers clumped together as on theRead more

Bluebird Update 5.5.15

We’re into the eighth week of nest box inspections and we now have sixteen nestlings, twelve bluebirds and four chickadees. We also have six house wren eggs cooking. I haven’t been able to get an accurate count of eggs in the nest at the Cow Pasture over the past few weeks due to the female’s insistence at sitting tight on those eggs when I opened the nest box for a quick look inside. Likewise, she was reluctant to leave theRead more

Bluebird Update 3.31.15

I can now say that there is at least some nest material in each of our six nest boxes here at the Museum. And, one nest has a few eggs. Here’s the low down. The Cow Pasture nest box, which for the past two weeks has had nothing at all inside its cedar walls, now has one single pine needle. A male bluebird has been in the box and signaled his interest in perhaps starting a nest. Will more pineRead more