Dan Tallmans Bird Blog

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 Canvasback

Also present on Capitol Lake on 21 October 2021 were a few Canvasbacks. These ducks show fluctuating population numbers, with high numbers in wet years, and lower numbers during dry ones. Canvasbacks have also benefited from strict hunting regulations. Populations have increased since 1995, appearing to have recovered from a stretch of below average numbers from the late 1970s through 1995. We saw six Canvasbacks during our short census.

0comments Tuesday, October 26, 2021 Ruddy Duck

In the crowd of newly arrived waterfowl on21 October 2021 in Capitol Lake, the most interesting were two Ruddy Ducks. We have only observed a few in Olympia depsite Walt et al.s (2005 assertion that Ruddy Ducks are locally common migrants in western Washington. Ruddy Ducks tend to float with their tails held at an upward angle. Ruddy Ducks are classified with a few other similar species around the worldall falling within a group called stiff-tailed ducks. Just how this group is related to other ducks is open to debate. Some ornithologists consider this group to be a sister group to all of the other ducks, Other researchers place stiff-tailed ducks within the greater assemblage of ducks.

0comments Monday, October 25, 2021 American Coot

On a short stroll to Capitol Lake on 21 October 2021, Erika and I discovered that great numbers of coots have returned. We counted 40. The vanguard of a host of other waterfowl were also presentRing-necked Ducks, American Wigeon, Canvasbacks, and Lesser Scaup, among others. The photos I took are pretty, thanks to reflections of fall, bank-side foliage. A few of these images will appear in upcoming posts.

0comments Sunday, October 24, 2021 Eurasian Wigeon

Erika and I are always delighted when we spy an Eurasia Wigeon, like this one on 18 October 2021 at the Billy Frank Jr National Wildlife Refuge. These ducks are abundant across the northern climes of the Old World, but, in the winter, are increasingly seen in Canada, the United States, and even northern Mexico. We find them every winter here in Olympia. This October bird is a bit oddly plumaged. I can find no similar photos or illustrations. Perhaps this is a young male or a male emerging from eclipse plumage. A hybrid with an American Wigeon is also a possibility. We took the second photo, of a more typical male, at the refuge on 12 March 2021.0comments Saturday, October 23, 2021 Cackling Goose

During our most recent stroll at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge on 18 October 2021, Erika turned to me and said, Look at all those Cackling Geese! Where? I asked. You dont see them? They are right in front of you! Oh, wait, maybe I do. I thought they were clods of dirt on a newly plowed field Erika shook her head and mused, No wonder I am doing most of the driving these days. I did a quick estimate, and came up with 3,000 birds. Then another seven landed in the field. So I guess that would make 3,007. I called the refuge and asked them if my estimate was realistic. They patiently replied, At this time of year, 3000 birds is totally reasonable.

0comments Thursday, October 21, 2021 Rufous Hummingbird

This Rufous Hummingbird image languished in my blog queue since 12 May 2012. Rufous Hummingbirds have departed Olympia for their west Mexican wintering grounds. They breed in the Pacific Northwest north to Alaska. As a result, Alaskan birdsenjoy a short breeding season but the longest day-length seen by any hummingbird (Healy and Calder 2020).

0comments Wednesday, October 20, 2021 Red-winged BlackbirdErika and I encountered a few female Red-winged Blackbirds at the Billy Frank Jr Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge on 18 October 2021. These blackbirds are one of the most common North American birds, so we were surprised that we had not listed the species since 3 August. Their absence is a mystery. Although migratory elsewhere, this bird should be present in our area all year. Red-winged Blackbirds owe their abundance to their nesting in large freshwater and saltwater marshes and prairies as well as near lakes, ponds and roadside ditches (Yasukawa and Searcy 2020).Red-winged Blackbirds even breed in urban and suburban habitats and in fallow fields. Most Interstate highway edges provide perfect habitat and facilitate the species spread.0comments Tuesday, October 19, 2021 Barred Owl 2

As I watched the Barred Owl in our backyard on 15 October 2021, and I reported on my last post, the bird preened, fluffed out its feathers, and violently shook its whole body.

To my surprise, little information has been published on Barred Owls preening, stretching, or other aspects of self maintenance (Mazur and James 2021). I regret not having photographed the preening, which appeared to be typical of most birds, with the owls bill pulling at its flight and body feathers. I did catch the body-shaking behavior. The owl remained at its perch when the shaking was finished.

0comments Monday, October 18, 2021 Barred Owl 1

On 15 October 2021 in the mid-afternoon, while doing house chores, I returned an empty trash barrel from our curbside. This endeavor is noisy. As I strolled out of the forest and into our front yard, I was surprised to spy a raptor fly along the forest edge and perch low in the outside edge of one of the Western Red Cedars. I abandoned my trash bin, ran into our house, and returned with my camera. The Barred Owl took little notice of me. Barred Owls seem to be fairly common in our woods, but we seldom see them in the day. More often we hear their calls during the night.Barred Owls regurgitate pellets of fur and bones of their prey. I believe, however, that here I captured the owls yawning. Barred Owls apparently sleep much of the day. Captive owls sleep about a third of each hour between 5 am and 6 pm (Mazur and James 2021). Most spend their days roosting deep within tall trees. Finding this owl in the middle of the day at the edge of the tree was a surprise.

0comments Sunday, October 17, 2021 American Kestrel

Falcons are another family of birds in systematic flux due to molecular studiesin this case, an American Kestrel on 1 October 2021 at the Billy Frank Jr National Wildlife Refuge. Falcons were thought to be close relatives of hawks and eagles. In this new research, falcons cluster closer to screamers (large South American ground-birds) and parrots (Winkler et al. 2020). Most recently published books reflect this interpretation of these data.0comments Older PostsHomeSubscribe to:Posts (Atom)Dan Tallman
photographer, bird bander, retired biology professor.Enjoy this blog? Consider donatingall donations are appreciated. Simply click the button below.
New Edition Hot Off the Press. Various formats, including PDF, available.NEW EDITION: Damselfly pdf $9.99. Also other formats. Click cover image.

Costa Rica Trip Report. PDF formal only $9.99.The White Album: Portraits of Minnesota Birds
Large-format booka selection of Minnesota birds with white backgrounds. Click cover.Popular PostsRuby-throated vs Black-chinned Hummingbirds Every fall I watch for vagrant hummingbirds at our feeder. On 27 August 2018, this there appeared this noticeably white-breasted hummer. ...Great Blue Heron Gular FlutteringBy opening their bills, and vibrating their upper throat muscles and bones, herons (and a few other bird families) are able to increase the ...Eastern vs. Western MeadowlarkI naively assumed that identifying Eastern and Western Meadowlarks is not impossible. According to my first Peterson guide, although the tw...Northern FlickerIn the photo above, a Northern Flicker is showing off her red nuchal (neck) collar. She is a female, since she lacks a black mustache (mala...Black-throated Blue Warbler I banded and released this Black-throated Blue Warbler on 20 October 2009 in Northfield, Rice Co., Minnesota. One of the joys of banding ...Common LiverwortAlthough my students never seemed to share my enthusiasm for liverworts, the reproductive biology of these primitive plants is both strange ...Why Are Grebe Eyes Red? This Eared Grebe certainly sports bright red eyes. The photo was taken of a breeding bird at Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge many year...Cloacal ProtuberancesI last posted about some of the ways banders identify a birds age. Often both sexes of birds are similar. The photo below is of one o...Belted KingfisherAfter the Snow Goose counted on our 9 October 2021 eBird Big Day, a female Belted Kingfisher flew by and landed on a nearby pier piling. It ...Philadelphia vs. Warbling VireoDuring our bike trip on 18 May down the Cannon River Trail in Goodhue Co., Minnesota, Erika and I photographed a Philadelphia Vireo (first p...Contact Dan TallmanBlog Archive 2021(254) October 2021(24)CanvasbackRuddy DuckAmerican CootEurasian WigeonCackling GooseRufous HummingbirdRed-winged BlackbirdBarred Owl 2Barred Owl 1American KestrelHorned GrebeBelted KingfisherSnow GooseBrown PelicanVaried ThrushSong SparrowNorthern PintailWestern Red Twin-spotNew Editions of Dragonfly BooksTurkey VultureGreat Blue HeronHeermanns GullCackling GooseDunlin September 2021(27) August 2021(29) July 2021(25) June 2021(24) May 2021(26) April 2021(25) March 2021(26) February 2021(24) January 2021(24) 2020(263) December 2020(26) November 2020(23) October 2020(23) September 2020(20) August 2020(27) July 2020(27) June 2020(22) May 2020(21) April 2020(16) March 2020(16) February 2020(20) January 2020(22) 2019(250) December 2019(24) November 2019(24) October 2019(25) September 2019(22) August 2019(24) July 2019(25) June 2019(23) May 2019(26) April 2019(23) March 2019(11) February 2019(11) January 2019(12) 2018(283) December 2018(13) November 2018(16) October 2018(20) September 2018(18) August 2018(22) July 2018(23) June 2018(25) May 2018(29) April 2018(31) March 2018(31) February 2018(25) January 2018(30) 2017(287) December 2017(29) November 2017(30) October 2017(31) September 2017(29) August 2017(31) July 2017(13) June 2017(19) May 2017(24) April 2017(26) March 2017(25) February 2017(16) January 2017(14) 2016(261) December 2016(19) November 2016(21) October 2016(26) September 2016(23) August 2016(25) July 2016(26) June 2016(25) May 2016(27) April 2016(22) March 2016(16) February 2016(14) January 2016(17) 2015(243) December 2015(21) November 2015(19) October 2015(23) September 2015(25) August 2015(25) July 2015(23) June 2015(22) May 2015(28) April 2015(18) March 2015(11) February 2015(14) January 2015(14) 2014(279) December 2014(16) November 2014(18) October 2014(26) September 2014(26) August 2014(29) July 2014(27) June 2014(26) May 2014(29) April 2014(29) March 2014(23) February 2014(13) January 2014(17) 2013(246) December 2013(15) November 2013(15) October 2013(21) September 2013(26) August 2013(25) July 2013(25) June 2013(24) May 2013(27) April 2013(21) March 2013(17) February 2013(14) January 2013(16) 2012(248) December 2012(15) November 2012(14) October 2012(19) September 2012(23) August 2012(26) July 2012(27) June 2012(27) May 2012(28) April 2012(24) March 2012(14) February 2012(14) January 2012(17) 2011(261) December 2011(14) November 2011(16) October 2011(22) September 2011(26) August 2011(27) July 2011(29) June 2011(24) May 2011(26) April 2011(26) March 2011(26) February 2011(11) January 2011(14) 2010(185) December 2010(14) November 2010(17) October 2010(20) September 2010(26) August 2010(23) July 2010(20) June 2010(14) May 2010(20) April 2010(13) March 2010(10) February 2010(6) January 2010(2) 2009(10) December 2009(1) November 2009(3) October 2009(6)A great way to keep track of your bird records:
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