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Lily Valley

BIRDS (and how to look at them)

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Birding has been SO GOOD these last couple of weeks. Got my mom 3 lifers in one 10-minute jaunt across the street from her house. I got one -- Townsend's Warbler. Plus I almost got my ass kicked by a turkey that was displaying like whoa. Today I barely missed another lifer: Mourning Warbler. Saw it fly, but didn't get a good enough look for it to count (it was positively ID'd by the people I was birding with). This weekend I'm going to try to knock another lifer off the list: Golden-winged Warbler. Gotta travel upstate a bit to do that.

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We went to a park over the weekend, a bit out of our normal way.

We saw lyrebirds! We heard them well before we saw them because they were making the sounds of traffic! They're completely amazing imitators, they can make pretty much any sound.

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On 5/23/2018 at 8:08 PM, Xray the Enforcer said:

This weekend I'm going to try to knock another lifer off the list: Golden-winged Warbler. Gotta travel upstate a bit to do that.

And mission accomplished. Went to Sterling Forest state park and got three Golden-winged Warblers. Also got Mr. X another lifer in the form of a Prairie Warbler. And we saw two Yellow-billed Cuckoos, which is always a gas.  

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Congrats on the sightings, Xray!  One question, though:  What's a "lifer"?  Is this a birding term? 

 

We've had people working on the back of our house for the last several weeks, which has disrupted the feeding of our birdies tremendously.  And our ducks haven't been around either.  :cry: 

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2 hours ago, Tears of Lys said:

Congrats on the sightings, Xray!  One question, though:  What's a "lifer"?  Is this a birding term? 

It’s when you see a bird you’ve never seen before in your life.

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Birding has been frustrating since I've been home.  

1.  The fledgling / juveniles are to learn all over again.

2.  The FROGS.  OMG, The young frogs sounded like cat-sheep-ducks for about two weeks.  We have standing water that starts two blocks away regularly, but creeps towards us when it's very, VERY rainy.  I thought I had some crazy new birds. The juvie frog voices were NUTS.

I do love the frogs, now that I know what they are,  and the water is attracting lots of crows, gulls, starlings and the odd egret.

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I was in Boston a couple of weeks ago and I saw a red tailed hawk eating a pigeon in the street, apparently completely unconcerned by all the people within a few feet of it. I did think it might be domesticated and being used for pest control or something but it didn't seem to have anything on it's legs that would indicate that (or a handler).

I saw another one really close to me in Canada last year so that makes two red tailed hawks I've had really close encounters with in the space of less than 3 weeks actual time spent in North America compared to no other close sightings of birds of prey the entire rest of my life. 

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Red-tailed Hawks are generally not used for pest control -- the bird you saw was just your average urban raptor who does not give a damn about the humans in its midst. But glad you got to experience some proper American birdlife! 

Edited by Xray the Enforcer

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There are so many damn ducks and waterfowl cruising past my place right now, going to get out there early tomorrow before work and see if I can ID anybody.  Ice is starting to show up in the river and riverwise, it's one of my favorite times of the year.  Other than the whole living in darkness deal.

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On 12/12/2018 at 8:01 PM, Xray the Enforcer said:

Please report back! I love winter ducks. I am betting you have some Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, maybe some Gadwall and Wood Duck?

Cool thanks for the heads up!  Unfortunately was unable to get out there due to doggy medical issue (under control now) but will be out there Monday and Tuesday - will definitely report back afterward.  I did see some buffleheads last week!

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While in Cuba over the holidays, I went horseback riding and saw a crested caracara. It had a fish in its claws and dropped it as it flew away. That was a new one for me. 

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Today, my brother called me and told me he accidentally killed a mourning dove when a different bird chased it in front of his car (probably a starling, little bastards). RIP poor little dove.

 

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RIP little dove, indeed :(

Well I saw a female cardinal today which was for me pretty exciting.  I live in downtown Chicago.  I tend to just see crows and pigeons and those little brown birds on a day to day basis.  But every so often...maybe only once every couple of years I spot a cardinal on my street.  I've only ever seen a male cardinal before so this was different.  I wonder if its jut the pair?  Because if there was more I would think I'd see them more often.  But it would have to be multi generations over the years because I spotted the first one over 10 years ago.  I think if they live anywhere its behind one of the older buildings which I believe has a little garden with some trees which would afford more shelter.  But I wonder what they do in the winter and how they manage to keep coming back to my block as they do.  Anyway it made me so happy when I came home tonight and spotted that splash of color on the grass.

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9 hours ago, lady narcissa said:

RIP little dove, indeed :(

Well I saw a female cardinal today which was for me pretty exciting.  I live in downtown Chicago.  I tend to just see crows and pigeons and those little brown birds on a day to day basis.  But every so often...maybe only once every couple of years I spot a cardinal on my street.  I've only ever seen a male cardinal before so this was different.  I wonder if its jut the pair?  Because if there was more I would think I'd see them more often.  But it would have to be multi generations over the years because I spotted the first one over 10 years ago.  I think if they live anywhere its behind one of the older buildings which I believe has a little garden with some trees which would afford more shelter.  But I wonder what they do in the winter and how they manage to keep coming back to my block as they do.  Anyway it made me so happy when I came home tonight and spotted that splash of color on the grass.

Cardinals stay over for the winter. I have a pair that I see in my backyard all the time. The females are hard to spot as they are a dull brown colour. I love seeing them also. 

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15 hours ago, maarsen said:

Cardinals stay over for the winter. I have a pair that I see in my backyard all the time. The females are hard to spot as they are a dull brown colour. I love seeing them also. 

Thanks for that information.  Although now I will forever be worrying about them in the winter and wondering how they are doing and continuing to worry if I don't spot them sometime in the spring!

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Cardinals are shy birds and when I do see them the are in a tree rather than on the outermost branches. They eat seeds and such that are available year round. I suspect that someone near to you may have a feeder set up so that they are hanging around it during the winter. 

Woodpeckers are one of my faves. I just saw a pileated woodpecker in a tree next to my cottage and just yesterday I had a red headed woodpecker bang away at my eavestrough. I thought my place was under attack. 

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I just saw a red kite in Spain. I seem to have a knack for encountering red birds of prey while abroad.

Edited by ljkeane

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