My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Songbirds and a Great Horned

Published February 13, 2014
Tags: General Observations, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Black-capped Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wren, White-breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, White-throated Sparrow, American Black Duck, Cooper's Hawk, Great Horned Owl

Have you been noticing the subtle changes in the bird songs in recent mornings? I've been hearing the two-toned calls of the Black-capped Chickadees for the last several days and, just about 3 days ago, I heard the beautiful song of the Northern Cardinal. Spring is coming and the birds are starting to broadcast it!

Songbirds were easily found today. I went to Goat Island with Celeste Morien and we found a nice variety of them all around. A pair of singing Carolina Wrens was, perhaps, the highlight of our time there, although a Cooper's Hawk's fly-through really got our adrenaline going! We found Black-capped Chickadees and Northern Cardinals, a pair of American Robins, and a few Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, White-breasted Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and a Brown Creeper.

Before all this, we happened to see a Great Horned Owl fly in to where we were! Wow, that was nice! I happened to have my camera out and ready for a change too.  We were able to clearly see its gorgeous yellow eyes, widely spaced ear tufts, and white throat. The owl quickly began to get mobbed by some crows. I'm sure s/he was definitely able to hold its own, though, being one of the most powerful and largest raptors of our region.  They are one of the few predators who will will take a skunk for prey.  The Great Horned is exceeded in size only by the Great Gray Owl and is one of the earliest birds to nest, sometimes even in late January.  Here are some photos of a nesting Great Horned from last year:

As I write this, it's still cold but the sun is shining and spring is slowly pushing the cold blanket of winter out of the way!
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Great Horned Owl
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Great Horned Owl
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Great Horned Owl
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You can just make out one of the crows that were mobbing the owl in the lower right of the photo. It didn't seem phased at all!
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Black-capped Chickadee - these guys were soooo friendly! I think folks come with seeds because one even landed on my finger as I was pointing out a nuthatch to Celeste!
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And here's the White-breasted Nuthatch I was pointing to!
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Downy Woodpecker (male)
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Tufted Titmouse
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Golden-crowned Kinglet (male)
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Golden-crowned Kinglet (male)
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Northern Cardinal (male)
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Northern Cardinal (female)
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White-throated Sparrow
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White-throated Sparrow
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Distant shot of one of the two very vocal Carolina Wrens
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Love these black squirrels!
Reply from: Eddie Wren on 2/16/2014 6:57 PM
 Yet another nice set of photos, Sue. The pictures of the Golden-crowned Kinglet bring to mind a chapter I've just read in Bernd Heinrich's excellent book, 'Winter World', about exactly how tiny, insect-eating Kinglets manage to survive in the frozen north woods, right through winter!
Reply from: Tim on 2/16/2014 8:28 PM
 Beautiful Sue ! Hope you plan on printing and framing one of those GHO shots
Reply from: Sue on 2/17/2014 8:53 AM
 Thanks, guys - and maybe I will, Tim - that one twig in front of him bugs me though, haha! And yes, Eddie, one does wonder how these little guys find anything nourishing to eat during these frigid months. It's amazing that they can survive!