Monday, October 29, 2007

Fall Migration in Full Swing!

The fall migration has been great so far this year! I've seen a number of birds that are not here year round. The newest one is the White-Throated Sparrow.

There are two variations of this sparrow, one with a tan-stripe and the other with a white-stripe. I'm not really sure, but I may have both.

This little fellow is very distinctive with a yellow supraloral mark next to its bill. Both variations have a strongly outlined white throat.

They are very common in brushy patches in woods. They feed on the ground and kick the ground with their feet to stir it up.

Check out The Nemesis Bird for a great post on more interesting details of the White-Throated Sparrow.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Red-Breasted Nuthatch Pics

I got a few more pictures this afternoon of my new little friend. He (or she) is starting to get a little more brave and is starting to try the sunflower seeds from the feeders.

I really liked how he was 'posing' because I was able to get shots that really show off his plumage.

raised his head up and really made his red breast visible. The Red-Breasted Nuthatch's plumage is much different than that of the White-Breasted Nuthatch.

He spent several minutes running up and down the tree getting to the feeder. He is still a little skittish as he flew off to eat it!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Under The Church Steeple

I got a few shots of a visitor to my backyard today as he was snacking on sunflower seeds. He was posing next to this great little feeder my wife Shelley got us which resembles the front of a church. He is a male House Sparrow, also known as the English Sparrow.

They were introduced to North America from Europe. They were released in New York City in 1850. Since that time, they have become widespread. In fact, they are the most abundant songbird in the world.

The male House Sparrow has a distinctive black bib with a black bill. They have a gray cap with a black mask and a chestnut nape.

The females are not as distinctive and have a much different plumage than the male. They lack the black bib, black bill, and chestnut nape.

As the winter draws closer, the males lose the plumage as their black bib, black bill and chestnut nape lightens up. As you can see, this is gradually happening to this male visitor.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

First Blast of Fall!

I got a surprise today with a new visitor to my backyard. At first, from a distance, I thought it was one of the many Carolina Chickadees that are always at the feeders in the afternoon.

Then, it turned on the peanut feeder and faced down, in the typical Nuthatch posture. I've seen a White Breasted Nuthatch before, up on Brush Mountain, but it is a much bigger bird. This Nuthatch was much smaller than the White Breasted Nuthatch. The White Breasted Nuthatch is about 6" in length compared to only 4 1/2" for the Red Breasted Nuthatch. Also, notice that it has a dark eye line and a white eyebrow. The White Breasted Nuthatch has an all white face and breast.

The red breast is definitely noticeable and shows up. I believe this one to be a female Red Breasted Nuthatch. On the males, the rust colored underparts extend further up the neck.

Arkansas is in the winter range for the Red Breasted Nuthatch so this little blast of cooler weather appears to be causing a little movement. I'm excited!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Orange Sapsucker

This Red-Bellied Woodpecker has been frequenting my backyard lately. Besides the normal bevy of daily visits by the Cardinals, I've been carefully watching to see what other birds are visiting. The Red-Bellied Woodpecker really likes the suet block and has started coming to it often.

It's red belly, which it gets the name from, is rarely seen. It's back has a very noticeable upperparts with the black and white barring, like a zebra. So much so that is is sometimes called the Zebra Woodpecker.

The plumage of the sexes are very similar except the males have a complete red hood on their heads. The females, as noted in the pictures, only have red on the nape of their necks.

They are fairly large woodpeckers, 9-10 inches in length, with a 15-18 inch wingspan. They are nonmigratory, monogamous birds. They have 1 brood in the North and 2 - 3 broods in the South.

They got the name "orange sapsucker" from Dr. B.H Warren who called attention to their love of oranges in Florida in 1890. They would eat many oranges when they were ready to pick and destroyed many trees by boring into the tree and sucking the sap.


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