A Tale of Seven Birds

The Carolina Wren featured in “Some Elements of a Good Photo” signaled the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency. But, it didn’t know about the Delta variant and the return to mask mandates. The Common Yellowthroat never has to give mask mandates a second thought. It’s forever attired in a black one.

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat

I wrote in “A Few Good Bird Photography Tips,” “If I had a nickel for every time I photographed a bird on a chain-link fence, barbed wire, power line, or cable, I’d be rich.” Well, here’s another one on a chain-link. I took the photo in my patch at Money Point. Why do birds take so readily to these things? Because they simulate natural perches, and they’re everywhere.

Song Sparrrow
Song Sparrrow

Tricolored Herons recently appeared in northern Virginia, and a White Ibis supposedly showed up in Massachusetts. It’s always amazing what shows up in MA—especially on the Cape and Islands. I was fortunate to capture both species a few weeks ago here in southeast VA, where they’re more common. It was early morning, and the birds were refueling. You might think I had hip waders on. I was actually sitting on a water control pipe.

Juvenile Tricolored Heron
Juvenile Tricolored Heron
Juvenile White Ibis
Juvenile White Ibis

You’ll recall the photo of the Roseate Spoonbill in “Self-Care to Spoonbills” and Tricia Lombardi’s comment about how the birds preen. She wrote that they preen using a row of ridges on their bills. Well, she sent me this photo in which you can see those ridges. Adaptations like this are fascinating. Someone noted that the species looks like a character in a Dr. Suess book.

Adult Roseate Spoonbill
Adult Roseate Spoonbill

Here’s a bird with a preening tool that makes a bit more sense to me. Few things are more important in the life of a bird than feather maintenance.

Juvenile Green Heron
Juvenile Green Heron 

The photo below may be an even more striking adaptation example than the photo of the spoonbill. I’ll let the photographer, Cameron Sullivan, tell you about it in his own words.

“A close up of the business end of an osprey. It shows some of their unique adaptations to hunting fish, such as the rotating toe and spicules (rough barbs) on their feet that give them the ability to grip slippery, wet fish. They can snap their talons shut in 2/100th of second! 💥 If you look closely at the talons you will notice that that the osprey has linked a talon from each foot together.”
Osprey
Osprey

And This Just In

Many thanks to Tricia and Cameron for allowing me to use their photos. Always bring your cameras.

There was just a report of a Roseate Spoonbill that had made its way to southwest MA. It could be heading to Tanglewood.

Quip, Question, Quote

“If it weren’t for birds, how many of us would take notice of the natural world? Birds are all around us. In our back yards or driving across country, most of the animals we see are birds. Many draw attention with their songs. Some birds hunt on the wing, and you’ll see one if you watch the sky. They sometimes fly in large flocks. Birds are unavoidable. How many fewer nature-lovers there would be, if it weren’t for more than the 10,000 species of birds!” A summary of Dennis Paulson’s thoughts from “If It Weren’t for Birds.”

5 thoughts on “A Tale of Seven Birds

  1. Love the yellowthroat Dave! What a great pose. Would you consider use of this photo by me as a reference image for a workshop on drawing birds? I have an upcoming workshop at the Currier Museum in NH called “Tapping Audubon’s Passion” and we’ll be sketching some of the same birds that are in the Currier’s collection of Audubon prints. I have not found a good reference image for the yellowthroat. Credit to you, of course. Let me know and no worries if you would prefer not to share it this way. Thanks, Jean

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  2. Hi Dave–I’ve enjoyed your bird partner blog so much. I’ve learned lots about birds from delighting in your photos. I hope to see your blog from a different location when you move and explore birds there. Safe travels!

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