Juvenile chickadees

Black-capped Chickadee_sketch_20150703_web

The artwork shown here is available for sale, click here to view current auctions After being nearly invisible for weeks, the local chickadees here in Massachusetts are suddenly everywhere. This is their typical pattern, and it’s common to many species. Nesting pairs become very quiet and secretive while they have eggs and young in the […]

‘Tis the season for baby birds

Surfbird Denali June2015_web

The artwork shown here is available for sale, click here to view current auctions Birds are busy this time of year, trying to raise a family (or two or three) and then get ready for fall migration, and it all goes so fast. The young birds are full-grown just a few weeks after they hatch, […]

An interesting warbler

Geothlypis_philadelphia_20150528_web

On my usual birding circuit on the morning of 26 May 2015, along the Assabet River in Concord, MA, I heard the distinctive song of a Mourning Warbler. This species is a rare but regular migrant through the area, so finding one is a highlight any day, and I set to work to try to […]

Finding hawks by watching doves

Mourning_Dove_alert

  No matter how serious you are about birding, or how much you want to see hawks, a Mourning Dove will always have a stronger interest in spotting them. Birds that are in mortal danger of hawk attacks have excellent eyesight and are constantly alert to any potential threat. It’s a safe bet that they will spot […]

The mysterious sounds of the American Woodcock

American_Woodcock_wing

Download a free one-page guide to American Woodcock display The flight display of the male American Woodcock has to be one of the most remarkable avian performances in the world. And yet, despite the fact that countless ornithologists and birders have marveled at this spring spectacle, some very basic questions are still unanswered, including this […]

Why are they called goatsuckers?

Eastern Whip-poor-will head

The painting shown here was recently sold at auction Birds in the family Caprimulgidae, which includes Eastern Whip-poor-will (shown here), have been referred to as “goatsuckers” based on a superstition that goes back well over 2000 years. They all have tiny beaks that open to reveal an impressively large mouth used to catch flying insects, and […]

Red-winged Blackbirds showing off

The Red-winged Blackbird from the front, the way this display is intended to be viewed, the intense red of the shoulders is set off against a very deep black shadows of the body and underwing.

This is the time of year when Red-winged Blackbirds are returning to marshes all over the continent, and the males are performing their showy displays to impress females and intimidate rivals. You might think the display simply involves fluffing up the body feathers and especially the red patches on the wings, but there is a […]