Archive for the ‘Bird Observations’ Category

Backyard Birding: Santa Cruz Mountains

American Crow

American Robin

Barn Swallows

psaltriparus minimus

Black Phoebe

California Towhee

California Quail

Dark-eyed Juncos

House Finch

Mountain Chickadee

Mourning Dove

Northern Scrub Jay

Pacific Slope Flycatcher

Red-tailed Hawk

Spotted Towhee

Stellar’s Jay

Tree Swallows

Wild Turkeys

… and mama deer with their fawns

and coyotes, oh my!


Birds by West Cliff, Santa Cruz, CA



Pelagic Cormorants, nesting;
California Brown Pelican in flight;
California Gull on a rock

…  and sea lions on an island
and a seal in the water!


Birds of Light

Moonlight Forest at the Lantern Art Festival
at the Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanical Garden

From _The Feather Thief_ by Kirk Wallace Johnson

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Ruddy Ducks!

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This Saturday morning, I was in the right place at the right time: I biked into Bonelli and found the flock of Ruddy Ducks right away! Very satisfying to see the males with their blue-gray beaks, white cheek patches, ruddy bodies and upturned tails. I counted thirteen. The American Coots were around in abundance; a Great White Egret flew across the water to the reeds, oddly contrasting with one small coot once it landed and was stalking its prey. I counted three Black-Capped Night Herons. Two white mallards were following a green-headed male … There were two pied-bill grebes on the water then and a Clark’s Grebe; the Canadian Geese flew in while I was observing. A Black Phoebe swooped about it a circle while song birds choired up in the eucalyptus trees. I biked on … I saw four Muscovy ducks, and three picked on one until that one flew off. The hissing was vicious.

I paused for the Pims (bushtits); they are just so sweet! There was a rabbit nearby. At the top of the hill, I heard a hummingbird, and I drew near the tree where I heard it. An Anna’s Hummingbird decided to flash his bright gorget in my line of sight before darting off.

I saw a Red-Tailed Hawk wing her way above my path and land near the top of a pine tree. She looked back at me and met my eyes. The light was grayish this morning, and her tail looked almost yellow after she landed, tho’ in flight it caught the light and was red.

I went down the hill to find a table and eat second breakfast. There I saw two killdeer, a male grackle, the greater white-fronted geese / graylag geese, northern shovelers, the belted kingfisher, coots, mallards, lots of gulls, including a Ring-billed Gull … The Tricolored Blackbirds swooped down to join everyone.

By one of the piers, I saw a ruddy-headed duck with a white breast (hybrid?) cleaning its feathers … O, and the white-crested duck was still out there! I greeted two mini-dachsies and their owner, so saw my sweet California towhee …

Biking back, on the road to Bracket Airfield, I saw white-crowned sparrows, a lesser goldfinch, a cedar waxwing, and a bluebird. Nice!

p.s. Did I mention the Peregrin falcon I saw on the way in …? Short-tailed … perched on a pole and watching.

I looked for the barn owl nesting the palm tree, but didn’t find it yet …

My Christmas Book: Noah Strycker’s _Birding Without Borders_


Bewick’s Wren!

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Seen today at Descanso Gardens:  Hutton’s Vireo by the entrance fountain, a Doe on the path, Dark-Eyed Juncos by an orange leaf and a stone, Mallard Ducks on the lake shore, California Towhees, a Northern Mockingbird, and a hummingbird by the cacti …

in the oak wood, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Spotted Towees, and a Stag whose antlers were illuminated by the morning sunlight as he lay down in the ivy …

in the rose garden, Bewick’s wren and a Yellow-Rumped Warbler!

Hutton’s Vireo


Bird Puns Galore

1.  When should you buy a bird?

When it’s going cheep!

2. Did you hear the one about the crow and the telephone pole?

He wanted to make a long distance caw.

3. How does a bird with a broken wing manage to land safely?

With its sparrowchute.

4. Why did the little bird get in trouble at school?

Because he was caught tweeting on a test.

5. How do crows stick together in a flock?


6. What do you call a parrot that flew away?

A polygon.

7. What do you call a sad bird?

A bluebird!

8. What kind of math do Snowy Owls like?


9. What do you call a very rude bird?

A mockingbird!

10. Why couldn’t anyone see the bird?

Because it was in da skies!

11. What kind of birds do you usually find locked up?


12. How did the bird break into the house?

With a crow bar.

13. What language do geese speak?


14. What kind of bird runs the church?

A cardinal!

15. Why did the pelican get kicked out of the restaurant?

Because he had a very big bill.

16. What do you get when you kiss a diseased bird?


17. What does a bird like in his soup?


18. What bird movie won an Oscar?

Lord of the Wings.

19. What do you get if you cross a duck with a firework?

A firequaker!

20. What is a parrot’s favorite game?

Hide and Speak!

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21. What do you call a bird that kicks your butt?

Steven Seagull.

22. Why did Mozart sell his chickens?

Because they kept saying “bach bach”!

23. What kind of bird doesn’t need a comb?

A bald eagle.

24. Where does bird royalty live?

Duckingham Palace.

25. What kind of bird can carry the most weight?

The crane.

26. What books did the owl like?


27. What robs you while you’re in the bathtub?

A robber ducky.

28. What bird can you buy at the grocery store?

A kiwi.

29. What bird is helpful at dinner?

A swallow!

30. What’s another name for a clever duck?

A wise quacker!

31. Which bird is always out of breath?

A puffin!

32. What soap do birds use?


33. Where do birds invest their money?

In the stork market!

34. What did the Eagle say when he was cold?


35. What do you call a duck on drugs?

A quackhead.

36. Which birds steal soap from the bath?

Robber ducks!

37. How many cans does it take to make a bird?


38. What do you call a bunch of chickens playing hide-and-seek?

Fowl play!

39. What do you call a sick eagle?


40. What did they call the canary that flew into the pastry dish?

Tweetie Pie!

41. What birds spend all their time on their knees?

Birds of prey!

42. What does duck eat with his soup?


43. What do you get when you cross a bird with a comedian?

Jay Leno.

44. What do you call a crate of ducks?

A box of quackers.

45. How do chickens get strong?


46. Why do hummingbirds hum?

Because they don’t know the words.

47. What do you give a sick bird?


48. Why do seagulls fly over the sea?

Because if they flew over the bay, they’d be baygulls!

49. What do you call a chicken in the 1960’s?

A funky chicken.


Mountain Chickadees, Pygmy Nuthatches, and Redbreasts Nuthatches

I spotted all three of these delightful little birds at Camp Mariastella in Wrightwood in the San Gabriel Mountains during the Haiku Hike and the Writing and Soul-Walking Hike held during the Rattle Writing Festival on Saturday, 9/29. Lovely!