We do not have Satin Bowerbirds in our neighborhood, but they are distant cousins of our crows and ravens. I am entranced by their bower building and use of color to attract a mate.
Satin Bowerbird by Bert Kitchen :: from And So They Build
The bowerbird especially loves the color blue and will make use of discarded bottle caps and plastic straws, as well as toothbrushes, clothespins, and other garbage. An amazing bird that is able to turn trash into art .
Australian printmaker Rachel Newling has lovely linocuts and engravings; while looking for artistic rendering of bowerbirds, I came across her flying foxes...she has cards available too.
This year we have spunky Bewick's Wrens nesting in the side of our garden shed (they totally ignored the birdhouses we have installed for them), a reclusive pair of Spotted Towhees nesting in the hedgerow underbrush, and some riotous Stellar Jays have built their nest in a neighbor's conifer. We are enjoying getting to know these three bird couples. It's been fun to observe their quirky personalities and how they interact with all the other songbirds who visit throughout the day.
Since I recently donated my cameras and lenses to Peter Pearsall, wildlife photographer, I was compelled to go looking for images of these avian parents. I am very pleased to have discovered Whatbird.com. It is a nice compliment to my favorite site :the Cornell Lab's All About Birds.
Valentine's Day Bird Count began with two black-capped chickadees at my feeder.
Join me in getting out and counting birds this weekend?
Cornell Lab of Ornithology and E-bird make it easy!
Two new birds to end my year: an unusually marked sapsucker and a Belted Kingfisher.
We spotted these on Christmas Eve, near Duck Pond at the northern end of the Arboretum.
It was a handy coincidence that Union Bay Watch was on hand to take photos, and then to do a bit of research. According to Larry:
"It seems to me that this 2019 bird is most likely a hybrid between a Red-breasted and a Red-naped Sapsucker. However, the black mask surrounding the eye is rather puzzling. None of the four species of sapsuckers in North America have such a complete mask of black around the eyes. Three of the four have a black eye stripe running between white highlights, similar to the Red-naped Sapsucker. The Red-breasted Sapsucker is the exception. This 2019 bird appears to be a unique individual. The black mask around the eye appears to be personal variation. Maybe this is how a new species begins. If this bird's unique DNA is passed on maybe someday its progeny will form another species. They might even be called, Black-masked Sapsuckers."
How cool is that?
Happy Bird Year 2020!
this lovely card was created by Artist Gennine D. Zlatkis