Archive

Birds

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus)

The unique shape of this raptor makes it unmistakable in flight. It builds nests in treetops of sticks such as cypress or pine, lined with lichen and spanish moss.

Diet: “primarily eat flying insects, but during the breeding season they also hunt small vertebrates, including tree frogs, lizards, nestling birds, and snakes. Less commonly, they also eat bats, small fish, and fruit.”

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Swallow-tailed_Kite/overview

My take: http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/once-a-fan-this-week-not-so-much/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) female

FINALLY! I’ve been seeking a glimpse of a female of this species for years.

I spotted a female noshing on the Spanish needle seeds. I took the photo through the kitchen window since any attempt to open the door for a clearer shot would have resulted in the bird flying off.

They are primarily seed eaters, except during breeding season. Migratory in Central Florida.

Females are quite drab compared to their colorful males counterparts.  https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/painted-bunting-passerina-ciris-2/

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Painted_Bunting/id

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens Alba

My take: http://osceolaflgardenblahblahblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/lousy-photo-fleeting-encounter.html

Take II:  https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/01/30/the-bunting-and-the-bidens/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)

Huge flock was milling around snagging fruits from the sumac and elderberry and, as can be seen here, acorns from the oaks

Noisy, but beautiful iridescent coloring especially the males.

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Grackle/id

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LAUREL OAK; DIAMOND OAK (Quercus laurifolia)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/05/28/day-of-the-grackle/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

Young male stopped by for a taste of beauty. Photo taken through a window pane and screen.

Quite vocal, you can always hear them as they glean insects from tree trucks.

diet: mostly insects, but as can be seen here enjoys fruit as well. Nests in dead trees, so leave those SNAGS!

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-bellied_Woodpecker/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN BEAUTYBERRY (Callicarpa americana)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/pa-rum-pum-pum-pum-little-drummer-bird/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) juvenile and adult

The adult stopped by this area to snag some Florida native BLACKBERRY (Rubus sp.).

Soon baby followed begging.  I suspect for insects.

Quite vocal, you can always hear them as they glean insects from tree trucks.

diet: mostly insects, but as can be seen here enjoys fruit as well. Nests in dead trees, so leave those SNAGS!

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-bellied_Woodpecker/lifehistory

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/pa-rum-pum-pum-pum-little-drummer-bird/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)

Noisy, but beautiful iridescent coloring especially the males.  This one is likely female. The coloring was less intense.

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Grackle/id

Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN ELDER; ELDERBERRY (Sambucus nigra L. subsp. canadensis)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/05/28/day-of-the-grackle/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

I saw a glimpse of this guy nectaring at my my Florida Native CORAL HONEYSUCKLE (Lonicera sempervirens). Before I could get the camera turned on he flew high into the tree.

To my untrained eye something made me think that it didn’t really look like a ruby-throat which is the only regularly occurring hummingbird listed for Central Florida.  I checked in with my friends from Kissimmee Valley Audubon and they pointed out the bill length, dark head of the male, amount of white and the shape of the tail that are characteristics of the Ruby-Throated.  It may be that most of my prior encounters were seeing females.

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ruby-throated_Hummingbird/id

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LONGLEAF PINE TREE (Pinus palustris)

closeup photos from encounters in prior years: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/ruby-throated-hummingbird-archilochus-colubris/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)

Secretive, colorful bird. This male spent quite a bit of time noshing on the Spanish needle seeds. I took the photo through the kitchen window since any attempt to open the door for a clearer shot would have resulted in the bird flying off.

They are primarily seed eaters, except during breeding season. Migratory in Central Florida.

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Painted_Bunting/id

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens Alba

My take: http://osceolaflgardenblahblahblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/lousy-photo-fleeting-encounter.html

Take II:  https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/01/30/the-bunting-and-the-bidens/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

Scavenger. Smaller size, pale head, white legs and wings with only the underside tips showing white distinguish this one from its Turkey Vulture cousin.

Diet: mainly carrion

Shown in Florida native plant: LONGLEAF PINE TREE (Pinus palustris)

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black_Vulture/id

My take:  Nature’s Cleanup Crew
http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/natures-cleanup-crew/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:   Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus)

 

Over the past few days I have heard this guy (gal?) calling loudly. Is it a mating call?????? I’ve had a nest in this particular tree two years.  Could they make it three?

The tree overlooks my pond so I suspect it is prime real estate.  Time to practice my drone skills so hopefully I can check out the nestlings without knocking them out of the tree.

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Fish_Crow/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant Longleaf Pine  (Pinus palustris)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) juveniles under cloudy skies

This juvenile pair was somewhere around my pond but flew up into the Pine when I opened the gate to enter the pond area. I’m guessing they are near adulthood since the beaks were pink.  Their mottled feathers will soon turn all white.

Diet:  mostly insects but also aquatic fauna.

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/White_Ibis/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LONGLEAF PINE TREE (Pinus palustris)

My take: Treetops to Marsh: The White Ibis

https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/treetops-to-marsh-the-white-ibis/

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) pretty close to be a full fledged adult as the feathers are close to being all white.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)

Distinct yellow eye.

They nest in low dense shrubbery or sometimes on the ground. Secretive, they like my place because I leave dense patches of grasses around so they can safely hide.

I have been lucky to have had this species nest at my place in a tangle of Virginia Creeper and Wax Myrtle.

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown_Thrasher/id

Diet: insects (including many pest species such as grubs and tent caterpillars), lizards and berries…I see them quite often close to the elderberry and the virginia creeper.

Shown on Florida Native Plant: WINGED SUMAC (Rhus copallinum)

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

 

Beautiful bird with distinctive call. The males are bright red, the females a more subdued reddish brown.

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Cardinal/id

Male Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN ELDER; ELDERBERRY (Sambucus nigra L. subsp. canadensis)

My take: Gardening Payoff
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/gardening-payoff/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)

It’s that time of year in Central Florida when the swallows show up.

Fascinating behavior.  Hundreds will gather together and perform an aerial show right out of the Alfred Hitchcock book of bird swarming.

A cavity nesting bird. Non-breeding in Florida

Diet: Tree Swallows may supplement their insect diet with berries, such as fruit from bayberry and wax myrtle shrubs.

Learn:  https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Tree_Swallow/lifehistory

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/hard-to-swallow-hardly/

video from 2013, landing in a Wax Myrtle:

 

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)

Often heard but not seen.  This one was hopping in a tangle of Florida native plants listed below.

Favors insects but does eat fruits and seeds. Secretive. Non-breeding in Florida.

Learn: www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Gray_Catbird/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant:  a mix of SWAMP BAY (Persea palustris)SOUTHERN BAYBERRY; WAX MYRTLE (Morella cerifera)VIRGINIA CREEPER; WOODBINE (Parthenocissus quinquefolia); MIDSORUS FERN; SWAMP FERN (Telmatoblechnum serrulatum); MUSCADINE {GRAPE} (Vitis rotundifolia)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/when-a-yard-cat-is-ok/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronatagal)

a.k.a. Butter Butt and you can see why in this photo 🙂

Beneficial
Diet: insects, bayberry, seeds

“The Yellow-rumped Warbler is the only warbler able to digest the waxes found in bayberries and wax myrtles.”

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Yellow-rumped_Warbler/lifehistory

Are they on their way out? https://www.allaboutbirds.org/goodbye-yellow-rump-will-we-see-a-return-to-myrtle-and-audubons-warblers/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LAUREL OAK; DIAMOND OAK (Quercus laurifolia)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/warblers-if-one-is-a-butterbutt-should-the-other-be-a-butterhead/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Bird (Polioptila caerulea)

This one was dancing in a tangle of Bidens alba, Blackberry (Rubus sp.), Bushy Bluestem Grass (Andropogon sp). and Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) to gleen the insects held within.

Its primary diet is insects.

These birds don’t stand still for even a moment (thus the blur of a picture)

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Blue-gray_Gnatcatcher/id

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

Beautiful song from this state bird of Florida who mimics others. Big on berries, especially holly and winged sumac.

They stir up insects to feed their young during nesting season and I’ve had them nest many times in the native groundsel tree and wax myrtle (bayberry) shrubs. Territorial, they will battle each other and other birds including those much larger than themselves.

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Mockingbird/id

babies in nest: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/northern-mockingbird-baby-mimus-polyglottos/

fledge: https://centralfloridacritteroftheday.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/northern-mockingbird-fledge-mimus-polyglottos/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LAUREL OAK; DIAMOND OAK (Quercus laurifolia)

My take: Mockingbird: Melodious but Mean

http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/mockingbird-melodious-but-mean/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)

The snowbirds are back!

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Yellow-bellied_Sapsucker/id

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LAUREL OAK; DIAMOND OAK (Quercus laurifolia)

My take: Solving Garden Mysteries
https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/02/01/solving-garden-mysteries/

From May 2014, a tell tale sign of a Sapsucker visit:

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker wells in a Live Oak tree.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker wells in a Live Oak tree.

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

I was out trying to capture a photo of an elusive Painted Bunting in the brush when out of the corner of my eye I saw this beauty fly in for a landing..

This raptor has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782.

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Bald_Eagle/id

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LONGLEAF PINE TREE (Pinus palustris)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/in-the-garden-the-eagle-has-landed/

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