Saturday, April 7, 2012

Nature Photography: Springtime Birds

Hi everyone! I have been shopping like crazy at Sephora this past week, taking advantage of the 15% VIB discount and have a lot of new items to try out. I'm also looking forward to posting about spring colors soon. Until then, I just wanted to check in and wish everyone a happy spring season and share some photos I took recently of the birds in my neighborhood.

A male House Sparrow - taken on my way to work while in Starbucks parking lot. Isn't it pretty? 

Sparrows taking a dust bath 

I like the beautiful blue-black color of the crow's feathers

A lone male Cardinal. These birds are difficult to photograph as they don't stay in one place long and shy away from people.

I'm not a bird expert at all, but looked up doves on the web and I believe this is a Eurasian Collared-Dove

   

More sparrows in the parking lot outside of my office. They are so cute!


Enjoying the puddles of water


The regal American Crow



It seems this time of year, I usually encounter at least one or two baby mockingbirds. A few years ago we found one in our yard being attacked by a neighborhood cat, so we took it to a wildlife rescue in our area and they said they would take care of it and release it when it was able to survive on its own. Last year I found a baby who couldn't fly yet, sitting in the middle of a busy street outside of my home. I scooped it up and placed it in the yard nearby, out of the way of traffic, hoping it would be found by its mom.



About a month ago, I noticed a nest in a hedge outside of my office. Each day, as I walked by the hedge on my lunch break, I would see the mother bird sitting on her eggs and she would glance at me as I walked by. From time to time, I would check to see if there were babies in the nest and when at last they hatched out I wanted to take some photos while they were still little, but the nest was up high and embedded in a bush. It would have been difficult to capture any closeups without disturbing them or the mother, so I gave up. Mockingbirds are very territorial and like any good mother they absolutely do not tolerate any intruders coming near their babies. As you can see below, the momma bird is giving me the "evil eye."

Get away lady before I peck you! 

A week or so later, I saw the babies hopping around the bushes, testing out their little wings, but not yet able to fly. At that time I observed that the mother bird would still return to the area to feed
them berries. The following day when I got to work they were nowhere to be found. I was kind of heartbroken that they were gone so quickly and I hope the little guys survived and will make it to adulthood.


Mockingbird fledgling

You can still see some of the wispy baby feathers on his head. What a little cutie. 


When you think about it, it's really amazing how quickly a baby bird must grow and learn to fly in order to ensure its survival and avoid predators, like stray cats and such. From the time a baby mockingbird is hatched to the time he is out of the nest is a period of only 12 to 13 days!

cat in the lot next to my office

I think this mockingbird may be getting ready to build another nest!

Some interesting facts about the Northern Mockingbird:

The male chooses a nesting area and may build several nests in preparation for the female, who then picks one to lay eggs in. The male does most of the work, building the outer base of the nest with twigs and then the female lines the nest with shredded paper, grasses, yarn, or other found material. Isn't it nice that they work together as partners? They tend to be monogamous with the female continuing to return to the same male from the prior season. How civilized!

  • Incubation period: 12-13 days
  • Average number of babies: 2-3 
  • Nestling period: 12-13 days

In the nineteenth century people kept mockingbirds as caged pets. So many were captured and sold that for a time they nearly disappeared from some areas on the East Coast.

They sing day and night and continue to add new songs to their repertoire throughout their life. They are known to imitate not only the calls of other birds, but also other noises like car alarms!


Have a great weekend and a Happy Easter to all who celebrate!

14 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, the (not so) baby mockingbirds are so cute! What a lovely post :)

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    1. Hi Amy, Thank! They are adorable, but I guess they are what you would call ugly-cute :)

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  2. Great post and pictures! You take lovely photographs and I enjoyed learning about the mockingbird. Love your blog. Katheryn R., McRae, GA

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    1. Thanks very much, Katheryn! It was fun doing the research for this post and I learned some new things :)

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  3. Goodness, those birdies are so damn cute! I love watching birds and sometimes many minutes will pass before realizing I should get back to what I was doing. Thanks for reminding me to take some time to enjoy nature and all the creatures that call it home!

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    1. Thank you Lexi! :) I sometimes take for granted or don't really notice all the common birds I see so often, but the more you find out about them the more you realize they are actually very interesting and intelligent!

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  4. Oh my goodness! What a great post! I love birds too, but I've never had the diligence or patience to capture the up close like you have! I had no idea crows feathers actually shone blue. My favorite photos are the one with the extended wing on the powerline and the 'evil eye' :D. I'm impressed by your cardinal shot too. Whenever I see cardinals it's a rare but happy sight. The red is just so striking! I think you're right that they move along quickly.

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    1. Hi Dovey! Thank you! :) I have been wanting to get a good photo of a cardinal for such a long time but so far this is as close as I've ever gotten. We get a few from time to time in my neighborhood, but by the time I grab my camera they are usually gone! :)

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  5. I loved this post! Thank you for sharing the wonderful pictures of the birds.♥

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    1. Thanks ZP! Birds are interesting subjects to photograph. Some of the more common birds are so ubiquitous that I don't notice them much of the time, but when you stop & watch them long enough you find they have their own little society with interesting customs and behaviors! :)

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  6. Those cute little birds are sparrows :) Beautiful pictures :)

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    1. Hi escritora, Thanks so much for identifying the type of bird and for the kind comment! :)

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  7. Wow...I didn't see this post earlier. I must have missed this during the period when I was away due to busy workload. Just want to drop in and say that the photos are really beautiful and I really appreciate you sharing these in addition to beauty products.

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    1. Thanks Paige!! I really enjoyed taking these pictures of the birds :)

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Thanks for commenting!