4 Mockingbird chicks, 1 starving!

Bird mocker babies

Once hidden in an apple tree, a lovely nest of 4 mockingbird chicks grows louder every day, drawing attention from endless predators. At this stage the chicks are mostly mouth! Mom and dad are constantly busy feeding and defending their gang.  We barely survived their attacks as we took a quick photo yesterday afternoon.

bird mocker chicks 2

Here they are this morning, twice as big as yesterday. Look carefully for 4 heads.  My husband is taking these photos because he is taller.

Remains in the Romaine!

Herring in romaine

Our local male osprey, Diver, brought a lovely herring to Robyn’s garden and dropped it perfectly in line with her newly planted row of romaine lettuce! The traditional native American fertilizer!  We’re pretty sure it was Diver because garden is near his new nest and he has been busy catching herring for days. It was such a lovely fish it must have attracted the attention of a local eagle. There was undoubtedly a dramatic war between the osprey and the eagle in the air over Robyn’s garden. Wish we had seen it happen. If the fish had dropped into the Potomac River, the eagle would have swooped down and stolen it before it slipped below the waves.  But neither bird wanted to attempt to retrieve the fish from inside Robyn’s  fabulous plastic net fencing designed to deter deer, groundhugs, rabbits and turtles.  We have added osprey and eagles to that list. Please use sketch for another CrayolaMoment!

herring 2

Robyn just sent me an actual photo of the herring nuzzled up against a romaine seedling, precisely in line with the just-planted row.  My drawing was from memory.  The fish was the most important part of my drawing so it did (unintentionally) become bigger than life… A drawing allows you to show a whole lot more than a photograph!

Meadowlark Lemon is a color!

bird-meadowlark-1

Have you ever seen a more wonderful lemon color? Shouldn’t it be called Meadowlark Lemon? 3/1/17 a pair of Eastern Meadowlarks stalked through our lawn, probing the ground for insects with their long, sharp bills.

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On the ground, their brown and black dappled upper parts camouflage the birds in the dry grasses. This was my first view, so hard to see I got out my spotter scope. That allowed me to try to take some photos through the scope with my iPhone.  Hard to do but worth trying.

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This is the mate. They are chunky, medium-sized songbirds with short tails and a sweet, lazy, repertory of flute-like whistles. The Eastern male meadowlark sings 50-100 songs. Sounds like we should compare the Eastern Meadowlark with the Northern Mockingbird! Both like to sing from exposed perches.

bird-meadowlark-pair

Male and female look alike. We rarely see them.I keep records in our Sibley. Prior sightings were 3/31/05, 3/18/10, and 3/22/14.

 

That couldn’t possibly be an eagle!

Who ever heard of a bald eagle with a brown head and a white belly? Eagles have white heads and dark brown bellies, don’t they? Adult eagles do. But eagles don’t reach adulthood until they are about 5 years old. Baby eagles and juvenile eagles go through many stages of color combinations as they molt their way to maturity. Those two birds above are not ospreys or peculiar vultures. They are juvenile eagles. Check the pair out as they enjoy the view from a sycamore tree!

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Looks like an eagle in reverse…

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Check out the bent-over neck and head of this one. The first eagle has a brown head but this eagle’s feathers are mixed brown and white. Remind yourself when bird-watching, if the body is as big as an eagle’s, it probably is an eagle! Then try to figure out whether it is one, two, three or four years old or if it is a mature adult.