Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Conserving Georgia's Nongame Wildlife Program

What a great news to know that Georgia's governor, Nathan Deal signed House Bill 881 INTO law on April 14, 2014 at Jekyll Island!

"The legislation rolls back the cost of buying or renewing a wildlife plate to $25 and dedicates more than 75 percent of fees to the Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division programs that depend on them. Passed in this year’s General Assembly and sponsored by Rep. Bubber Epps (R-Dry Branch) and Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), the changes are scheduled to take effect July 1." 
Read full report here .


One of three new tags. Image source : DNR website

I would like to give many thanks and great appreciation to all DNR peronnel and to the ones who support and to pass this House Bill 881 (what a lucky number of A DOUBLE 8) and with DNR Tim Keyes to send out this great news to all of us this morning! During my lunch break, I did a quick read for all the links Tim sent out in his email and I got few questions in my mind, "How does DNR conduct their research and work to protect these species and their natural habitats?" and " Where does the funding go towards educational and conservational purpose?"   ...and I thought if you are like me, care for birds, wildlife and native plants and flowers, you will be so proud to know that the majority of all the money we donate to this nongame program or purchase and/or renew your wildlife car tag will go towards to this nongame wildlife program to protect 318 species that are endangered or near threatened. This is the link that will provide you a very good knowledge how Georgia DNR use the funding to protect Georgia's plants and animal species, including the birds we love the most such as protecting American Oystercatcher's nest on the Georgia coast and to restoring Sandhill Crane's habitat with prescribed fire just southwest of Macon and to re-establish over 160,000 acres Southern Pine forest for Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers.

2013 Fiscal Year Report -
http://www.georgiawildlife.com/sites/default/files/uploads/wildlife/nongame/pdf/Annual_Reports/NongameAnnualReportFY13_Summary.pdf

 It is very interesting in knowing that maybe this is a very small amount of money, or maybe it is too small to even think about it...buying/renewing a wildlife plate for $25. I read that $20 of each new purchase or $19 of each renewal will go towards helping wildlife! I hope I can buy more than one plates but Country tag office told me one tag per car :)

Press release -
http://www.georgiawildlife.com/node/3607

There are total 5 wildlife plates. Three new plates can be found via this link
http://georgiawildlife.com/node/340/#License_Plate

One of three new plates. Image source: DNR Website


As a birder and wildlife lover, I would like to encourage all of you, birders, non-birders, friends and family of birders and non-birders, or flowers and plant lovers....all of you who love nature and wildlife to purchase a new plate for this year! The Wildlife Resources Division's Nongame Conservation Program receives no state funding to conserve Georgia's rare and endangered species and other nongame wildlife, as well as native plants and their habitat. Our contribution today will determine if we will see these beautiful birds, animals and the native plants in the future. Your small contribution will make a BIG difference! Just like the Hummer plate says " Give Wildlife A Chance".




I welcome you share this page to all your friends alike. Let's work togehter to make a difference, even it is so small, so insignificant.  It's because these insignificant efforts that you do that makes a person great :)\

Happy Birding! -- Linda

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wild Eastern Phoebe comes to hand!

The Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) is a loner and seldom comes to in contact with other phoebes and to my knowledge they rarely visit feeders. During breeding season, mating pairs stay together to feed their young. Then return to their solitary life as soon as their young fledged. I noticed one Eastern Phoebe came near my suet feeder in November. However I did not pay much attention to him until few days ago when I tried to refill my sunflower seed feeder. Not only was he not shy away from me, he perched on my deck railing and watched me refill my feeder. After I splashed old water from my bird bath, he was still sitting there and watched me attentively. Now, he got me so interested in him. The first sign came to my mind was this little bird  might have a head injury from hitting someone's window. When I looked at him and he then stared back at me. Wow! He was perfectly fine to me and seemed very alerted and smart and had no sign of injury at all. Out of sudden, he flew to suet cake that I put out for woodpeckers and snatched a tiny bite. Eastern Phoebe is a tyrant flycatcher, they are insectivorous and snap insects on the wing. Unfortunately he did not get much out of the suet hanging on my deck because he was not capable of landing on top of my free swinging suet feeder. He is a flycatcher! Out of my curiosity, I got one chopstick poked some suet and put on my hand and imagined he might feed from my hand.  This mischivious phoebe immediately landed on my shoulder, with my left arm all the way stretching out and holding my smart phone in my right hand, I did not dare to make a move.


Eastern Phoebe. Click image to enlarge :)

Overjoyed, I could hardly believe my eyes that a wild phoebe got this close to me and he had no fear what so ever, much like a pet bird... but he is not my pet. He is a happy, free bird, comes and goes as he wishes. At that moment I just enjoyed his company :) For one second, I wanted to name him. But I decided not to. I didn't want to attach myself to him because I'll be so sad if he leaves in spring and not knowing if he will ever return. Wildlife is the happiest when they stay in the wild.

Phoebe did not return the following morning and I was sad for a while. It was freezing cold outside with only 24 degree Fahrenheit and I started thinking if he was warm last night...... The thoughts of my worrying dissipated within seconds, "He is a wild thing, he surely knows how to take good care of himself", I talked to myself with a silly smile! Besides, the main functions of feathers not only provide birds important signals to their mates and rivals, they regulate their bodily temperature. In the mid morning, he returned with Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chickadees and brought me a surprise guest, a Harry Woodpecker! He flew around my head for few seconds and when I offered him my hand, he decided to perch on my right index finger! I now have a great new idea for my little friend. Stand by, everyone!

This short video is composed with few clips taken from my less than ideal phone and its quality is not the best I'd like it to be. I hope you enjoy watching him as much as I photographed him ! --Happy Birding! -- Linda




Note: If I am busy, he will call me by singing his heart out on my deck. It's hard not to hear his raspy calls.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lost or Found - American White Pelicans in Georgia

Two American White Pelicans ( Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) were reported to be seen on and off at Murphey Candler Park last week. I have seen White Pelicans many times during my coastal trip and my recent trips to San Francisco, California. But this is first time for me to see them in the Piedmont region of Georgia. Things really got me so interested in is why these two White Pelicans chose to stay at an intown lake?


After waiting for about 8 hours :) ...They finally woke up for me! Click image to enlarge

Breed in isolated islands of northern states and in central Canada, American White Pelicans migrate through central and western of the states and winter mainly in Southern California, Florida southern Texas and New Orleans and in Mexico. They are the second largest birds just a bit of smaller than the largest bird American Condor, with a wingspan about 10 feet  (or 3 meters) and weigh over 20 lbs (or 9 Kgs)! A birder I met during my photo shoot, told me unlike Brown Pelican plunges into water to hunt, American White Pelicans forage by using their huge, pointed beak spear through their prey while swimming in shallow water. It's amazing to know these graceful birds systematically search for fish when paddling! An adult can eat over 4 lbs fish a day! Unfortunately I did not see them hunt for fish when I was there today.



Click image to enlarge


Not sure if you notice some trash in my second image. There are many beer cans left by some careless human, that really spoiled my photo :( The worst for me is to know that some people choose not to care or just completely ignore the fact that we should all work towards well being of all species on this planet. I believe everyone already know there is a way to reduce human waste by recycling plastic containers, paper and aluminum products. If you are reading this post, I am sure you DO CARE! Start recycling any thing that can be "taken" back and teach young adults and your friends of influence to the concept of "3-R" : recycle, reduce and reuse! To me, reduce and reuse are far more important then recycle. Because if we all "reduce" what we need in our daily living and "reuse" shopping bag or containers or completely ban using plastic bags in our country, we automatically will buy less and eventually create less waste of any kind and, ultimately do less harm and damage to our environment and wildlife.


"Are they lost their way to their wintering ground or they just found each other and decided to travel together?", I asked myself.  We might never know the answer ...But one thing I do know is American White Pelicans hunt in clean pond and lake. Murphey Candler Park definitely offers a wonderful roosting and foraging ground for these two tired rare visitors. When you visit this park, please remember your birding etiquette, be quiet, be sightful and be respectful to wildlife. If you must take something from the park, please take some beautiful autumn photos, and if you must leave something, leave nothing but your foot prints :) -- Happy Birding! -- Linda


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wood Duck

Male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) is stunning pretty with iridescent green, purple and brown. Female is over all grayish brown with a white eye ring.  Unlike most waterfowl, Wood Ducks are cavity nesters, perch and nest in trees and are comfortable flying through woods. Their broad tail and short, broad wings help make them maneuverable. When swimming, the head jerks back and forth much as a walking pigeon's does. You often see Wood Ducks in small groups (fewer than 20), keeping away from other waterfowl. However, I spotted this stunning male mingling with a flock of Mallards! One time, someone told me when you have your telephoto lens with you, you don't have to take your binos. This person is a photographer not a birder. I think I need to reconsider what this person said.


Male Wood Duck. Click photo to enlarge


Birder and bird photographer are different in many ways. Scouting my surroundings before snapping is a great way to find surprises. Knowing the life and behavior of birds definitely help me to capture magic moments. My target bird might not show up today, but birds always indulge me with their most amazing colors. Cannot wait for the weekend to arrive. Lubricate my gears and ready for my next adventure :)





Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The long way home - Sandhill Crane

"There is no place to where I fly to. Untamed heart is my final destiny".

Sandhill Cranes flying near dusk, no where, USA
Click image to enlarge 

I took the first shot when I was on a long road trip, starving, kind of lost, and freezing cold... I heard cranes calling (Click link to hear their calls) and decided to pull over in the middle of no where.  When I shut off my car engine and grabbed my camera, it was about 8 pm, I witnessed a flock of Sandhills start descending in front of my lens. Even with my camera's aperture wild open, I found this less than ideal, underexposed photo interesting. I did not like the wire in the background as much at the first. But when I take a look this photo after many many days later, a sense of serenity created by the blue hue tells a story of a flock of weary cranes will finally take the long way home. Birds strive to survive with or without human's interference or disturbance. Sandhills breed in the north and migrate to the southern region, mainly to Texas, New Mexico and Florida in winter. A spectacular flock of over 10,000 birds congregate at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife  Refuge  , New Mexico from November through March next year. According to the fossil record, Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadesis) has the longest fossil histories among all birds that have been discovered today, that was back to about 10,000,000 years ago! Wow, just knowing how ancient these birds are really makes me wondering they must "learn" and "know" a lot more than us:)


Central Florida, USA. Click image to enlarge

There are two special people I'd like to thank to for this portrait shot. The first person is my mother. Mom spotted a family of three cranes during our summer trip to central Florida. I tried to pay attention to any thing "flying" during driving but I can only "scout" so much. That proves to you that, mom was not bore with her bird nerd daughter :) She sat in her wheelchair comfortably and enjoyed her breakfast while I was gone chasing these carnes. The second person I'd like to pay my gratitude is a friend from Down Under. When I told a photography friend of mine, this photo was mom's favorite shot from our four-day trip but I was frustrated with my poor photo editing skill. This friend indefatigably helped me to "transform" a mediocre image into a lovely, print ready photograph so Mom can take this print flying 9,000 miles home with her. Thanks TA ;)

-- Happy Birding! -- Linda




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Red-headed Woodpecker, A Naturally Born Carpenter

I am blessed with living on a "tree top" surrounded by thousands of trees around my cozy nest and bestowed with over 76 species of yard birds. Most people worry about having so many trees that dead or diseased trees might fall upon their roof one day, fortunately I never have to worry about that because I have some special "tree doctors", the woodpeckers, regularly visit my trees! One male Red-bellied Woodpecker habitually drums on my gutters in early spring; a pair Downy Woodpeckers will never forget to say good night at my suet feeder; Norther Flickers like to play "seek and hide" with their favorite food, ants and Pileated Woodpecker's (click to view a video ) loud, whinny calls remind me to take a break in my gloomy days. Out of seven commonly seen species in the east of United States, the one never shows up in my backyard is Red-headed Woodpecker.


Red-headed Woodpecker excavates his winter home on a dead tree trunk 


A friend of mine from Down Under was fascinated of knowing these woodpeckers are capable of carving into trees and he gave me an assignment to find a woodpecker coming out of a nest hole. Seeing and finding a pecker is an easy task but photographing one out of a nesting hole is merely a luck or I have to wait till the spring. One day on my way to my fall migration field trip, sluggish morning traffic allowed me to enjoy my slow ride and accidentally spotted a pair flickers trying to excavate their wintering home. Too bad that I did not have my camera with me that day. When I returned to the same spot the very next day, flickers did not show and they never returned for the next seven days. I was disappointed and told myself, maybe they found another better location and moved on. Frankly, this location is not an ideal spot per photographer's point of view. First, this tree is located in a residential neighborhood and I have to park my car in a shopping center and walked for 20 minutes. I might even have to climb on someone's wall to have a better angle. Secondly, the opening of this hole is facing east. Due to the poor light condition, I will either snap the back of birds with great light or the front of birds with dark faces. Thirdly, since I could not seem to relocate this pair and I believed they might move to another better location. I did a thorough research and reading, found out that if woodpeckers lay eggs in a cavity near a busy street or power poles, their chicks might not fledge or survive. I am sure young birds are afraid because I will be so scared jumping into this strange world the first time if I were a young bird seeing no trees around but a train of four-wheeled boxes ("cars" in human term) along the streets and many two legged talking to themselves none stopping. Soon I gave up searching and moved on to my routine boring tasks till one day ... something hit me, A Snag!





"In forest ecology, a snag refers to a standing, dead or dying tree, often missing a top or most of the smaller branches. In freshwater ecology it refers to trees, branches, and other pieces of naturally occurring wood found sunken in rivers and streams", per wikipedia. Standing snags provide crucial habitats for as many as 1,200 species of insects, amphibians, fish and birds. Tree frogs and beetles may use the empty space between trunk and bark as their shelter at night, woodpeckers excavate nesting holes on snags and search termites and beetle larvae as food, many fish use snags at their spawning sites and the top of the snags become an important look-out for hawks to catch prey. That day I was 20 minutes early on my meeting. While waiting for my meeting to start, I birded around a street near by and suddenly I heard this loud calls, without a second thought, I knew it was a Red-headed Woodpecker! In a split of second, I noticed a snag just across the street. A Red-headed was sitting on top. It would be nearly impossible to photograph this bird without going to someone's private backyard. After my meeting, I visited the home owner and expressed my intention of photographing this woodpecker. They were so kind in allowing me to go to their park-like backyard and investigate the possibility of photographing the woodpecker I dreamed to snap! It was late in the afternoon so I told them I will return the next day. They don't want to be named here but I owe my gratitude to these nice, nature-loving people. They assured me I can stay as long as I like.





I always run into nice folks around town. Talking and advocating the importance of wildlife protection and habitat conservation for birds often make new friendship. Woodpeckers are not song birds, they don't sing, instead, they drum on trees, chimney, gutters to attract mates and deter their rivals during breeding season. Unlike other woodpeckers, Red-headed Woodpeckers do reuse their nest year after year and they are also the only woodpecker catching insects on wings. During breeding, bonding pair will  vigorously defend their territory and they live a separate life during non-breeding. Another interesting behavior of Red-headed is that they start caching acorn in crevices when insects slowly dying out in fall. Though not much research has been conducted, the number of Red-headed Woodpeckers has declined steadily according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey and it has been listed as "Near Threatened" species per IUCN. Besides the scarcity of seeds and nuts during winter, removal of snags from many manicured community causes the greatest concern. Red-headed Woodpeckers live in an open forest, they prefer to nest in older trees, but they also can be seen throughout younger forest. If you happen to have few snags in your backyard, or if you are about to develop a new construction by deforestation, please leave those dead trees for woodpeckers. Even fallen logs can be a food source and shelters for them! When we learn to protect birds and their habitat, we actually protect ourselves from going "backwards". It will take 30 years to grow into a mature forest but it will only take one match to destroy it. Be a tree hugger and I hope you are inspired!

Happy Birding! -- Linda


Note: font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px;">have few questions here after my observation:

1. I noticed Red-bellied and Red-headed are excavating their nesting holes. But for this time of the year, I will assume they are making this for the winter. Since most the male does the excavation, so I'm wondering if females will also excavate her own place during non-breeding? Of, they just stay together in winter? I know bonding pairs live a separate life during non-breeding but I could be wrong. This is just a general knowledge I have and I am sure every species might behave differently

2. Do woodpeckers use their roosting hole for breeding in the following year? 

3. Is there any research done for woodpeckers nesting in man-made nesting box/hole and if the answer is yes, what is the successful rate of fledgling? I know some smaller woodpeckers use power poles, but unfortunately with unknown reasons,  not much successful rate of survival with young fledgling.



Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ruby-throated Hummingbird migration

I try to have some fun with few of my remaining hummingbirds. Weather is not helping me. It's getting cooler these days in northern hemisphere with not much flower left for these hungry migrating hummers. If you have watched hummers, you will know that they are territorial and will guard their food source and chase other hummers come in their way.  My last male was gone two weeks ago, young and immature will hang around for another month, possibly they need to grow more feathers and eat more nectar to fatten themselves up for their first journey of non-stop flying across the Gulf of Mexico!

For this shot, I waited for a week and they did not like this exotic flower I left for them. One day I was called from my work and I hurried out. When I returned, I noticed a tiny hummer sat on the flower. He flew off as soon as I grabbed my camera. Wow! I was not upset at all, Actually I was quite excited and thought they finally noticed my flowers! Then, it's another waiting game for me and he never returned.


Immature male Ruby-throated Hummingbird, click image to enlarge


I decided to leave this flower outside under the sun and I know it will not last too long. But again, it does well in South America so I went ahead to continue my work and once a while came back to check to see if this "banded" hummer returned. Finally my patience got paid off, I snapped him behind my window. I especially love this shot with his wing flapping and show how eager and anxious he is ready for his long journey! 



Click image to enlarge


Before I called my day off, I saw him flying and chasing other hummers on my deck. So I decided to give him a treat! I then set up my camera 15 feet from him and patiently wait for his arrival with all that vicious mosquito hoovering around my head. But all I cared was looking into my view finder to capture that magic moment. This young male was so curious and wanted to find out what I prepared for his dinner. He zoomed in the position precisely and showed me how great a hummingbird he can be (Click the link to see some amazing facts of a hummingbird)! Like a tiny flying vessel floating in the air! Gosh! I have imagined this particular angle for so long and finally I got one! I was so happy this evening! I can never love hummer enough! 

 --- Happy Birding! --- Linda

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wild and beautiful!

One thing I love about my work is that I get to go different part of town and in the mean time, I take advantage of knowing I might see something wild and beautiful. Believe it or not, I do all the time!


Click image to enlarge

I took this photo just outside a resident's home. Mother came by with two fawns and they love eating their apples and pears. Today they come for the grass and hosta. I also encourage home owners not to use pesticide and herbicide on their lawn. Yes, your yard might not look as nice as your neighbor's. But do you know you actually doing a good deed for the nature, birds and wildlife?  If you are passing by a golf course field next time, please take a good look at what you see on that gulf course then you will know what I mean. It's a lonely open place with only people and grass, nothing more.

Now see what they get in return and they never complain these deer come to eat their fruits and vegetables because they have plenty :)



Do you enjoy reading Wings Spirit? If you do, I welcome you subscribing to my posts. You will see the subscription link just below "About".  -- Linda



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Art of Sitting! The Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 I have written over a dozen of posts regarding the bird I love the most, hummingbird, especially Ruby-throated Hummingbird! Ruby-throated is the only hummingbird breed in the east coast of North America. Most people don't really notice these tiny birds if they are not birders. Even birders, if they don't pay attention to listen, it's hard to catch a glimpse of these speedy flying birds. Linda's backyard is full of glittering hummers these days.  I admit that my nectar feeders definitely attract their visit. But do you also know that September and October are the migration months that thousands of hummingbirds (and many other migratory birds) travel through Southeastern states to their winter home in central and south America. Putting up nectar feeders definitely help to refuel these tiny travelers. My last two males left on the 5th of September, females and young ones will linger a little bit longer.



Click image to enlarge ...are you putting your nectar feeder out?


Young male Ruby-throated Hummingbird as you can see few red gorget feathers coming out already. Someone told me once that it's hard to be a good birder and a good photographer at the same time. I just love birds :)



After chasing other hummers away, this young male came back and sat at his favorite branch :)


Birds in flight definitely is a beautiful visual sensation for the most birdwatchers. Comparing to BIF, perching or sitting on a tiny branch might not be too exciting.  Birds surprise us in every possible way. A friend of mind told me wildlife photographer is a lonely road. We might snap alone, but we definitely are not lonely. If you are willing to sit and wait for a while, you might see something amazing even in one of the smallest birds in the world :) --- Happy Birding! -- Linda


Do you enjoy reading Wings Spirit? If you do, I welcome you subscribing to my posts. You will see the subscription link just below "About".  


Monday, August 26, 2013

Angel Flys! White-tailed Kite

Have you seen kites swoop above your head about 10 feet tall? With my tight schedule, my mother and I made a quick visit to Half Moon Bay area only to see these White-tailed Kites (Elanus leucurus). By the time, we arrived there, I found out I left my battery at hotel! OMG!  I took water, mother, my camera bag, tripod and sunscreen, but I missed the most important part of the camera, its battery!  How can I be so forgetful? Watching White-tailed Kites soaring and vibrating their wings above the sea, I was so upset and only sighed. I wanted to find a camera story and there was non in Half Moon Bay! I was in a small shopping center asked a patron and she did not know what I was talking about :(  The only way for me to capture this kite was to fly back to hotel in the speed of light and returned to the kite location and luckily, more kites came back! By the time I finished snapping after three hours, mum asked me "are you hungry, Linda?" ..While playing back my camera and I said to mum,  "Oh....do we have lunch?" Birds come the first, everything else can wait! That's how much I love bird! Mum made me a delicious sandwich because she knows I always forget to eat when I snap :)


White-tailed Kite, Half Moon Bay, California


I would not be able to find and photograph this beautiful bird without my friend, a master photographer, Jerry Ting's great input and recommendation. Thanks Jerry! I will definitely return to this wonderful habitat very soon. This is also a lifer for me!!! Yeah!!   More photos to come :)

Happy Birding! --Linda


Do you enjoy reading Wings Spirit? If you do, I welcome you subscribing to my posts. You will see the subscription link just below "About". 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I lost my heart in San Francisco - Cooper's Hawks

Beside enjoying delicious sea food at Fisherman's Wharf, Farmer's Market at United Nation Plaza ( aka Civic Center) and window shopping at Pier 39, I still managed to visit some of top birding hot spots near San Francisco recommended by a good friend, Jerry Ting! The first image I would like to share with you is a pair Copper's Hawks!


Photographed at Sycamore Grove Park, Livermore, California
Click image to enlarge

I was told by two birders when visiting Coyote Hills Regional Park that I could find Acorn Woodpeckers at Sycamore Grove Park. Since my schedule was pretty tight, I was not sure if I can make to Livermore. When I arrived at Sycamore Grove Park, there was no one single bird! Two huge bulldozers were picking up dirt and drove around the tree where the woodpeckers should be present. I was so disappointed and decided to take mum for a quick lunch and do some Costco shopping. I decided to return after 5  and hoped workers will be gone home by then.  I waited under a large half dead Sycamore tree for over an hour and did not see a single soul of any woodpecker. Suddenly I saw three Anna's Hummingbirds, this was a bit of comforting as we don't see Anna's at the east coast. Suddenly, out of jungle, I heard one hawk's calling. Quickly I picked up my gear and walked towards the sound....Overjoyed, there was not one, but two Copper's Hawks perched on top of the tree by each side of park entrance. Most of time, these two hawks were flying back and forth, not sure if they were welcoming me or wanted me to leave. As I kept snapping, they seem friendly and flew very low. Then, they both landed on a single branch! OMG! What a beautiful pair! They communicated with each other by calling and preening. I believe they are juvenile hawks as adult has red eyes :) ...That night I had the sweetest dreams!


San Francisco Bay ...I took this shot because "bird" :) ..I am sure you know what I mean

I was told when a pair hawks show up, they try to protect that lonely traveler. Beautiful hawks might be sent by a far away friend, who is not with me at present but his spirit is always with me  -- Happy Birding! -- Linda


Do you enjoy reading Wings Spirit? If you do, I welcome you subscribing to my posts. You will see the subscription link just below "About".  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tricolored Heron - A fisherman doesn't like sun


Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) is a small heron breed in the southeast states of the United States, northern Mexico and South America. They prey fish in shallow water by stalking and running from place to place.  Watching them chasing after their prey was comical. I was told by one of my master birder class teachers that the reason herons open their wings is to cover the sun so they can have better vision. Somehow I was wondering why not all herons adopt this skill. Later I found out that though herons might have similar feeding behavior of standing still, each species of heron has its species-specific behavior of preying.  Green Heron likes to use bait such as bread, flowers, twigs to lure fish; Great Blue Heron's long, S-shaped neck can spear prey at a distance; Little Blue Heron stays white plumage for the first year so they can mix with Snowy Egrets to gain protection and catch more fish; night herons generally nocturnal, they hide and roost during the day, hunt at night. However, they will feed during the day when they bear young. Tricolored Heron like to dance with their fish by spreading their wings to gain balance during quick movement from place to place.


Tricolored Heron, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida


Tricolored Herons nest on tree and often mix with other herons. They are not threatened per IUCN. Now you know a fisherman doesn't like the sun :) -- Happy Birding! -- Linda


Do you enjoy reading Wings Spirit? If you do, I welcome you subscribing to my posts. You will see the subscription link just below "About".  
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