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02/02/08
Lazy Birding
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Florida & SE US
Posted by: Ken @ 1:39 pm

There are only two ways for a birder to find birds: either get out and chase them or let them come to you. If you feel lazy, you can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, February 15-18, 2008, or the Bird Watchers Digest Big Sit in October.

I can usually meet my 20-Bird RDA (BirdChaser’s Recommended Daily Allowance)  by just sitting on the back patio.

The birds I expect to see so easily fall into these categories:

Gimme’s (can’t miss almost any day of the year): (17)

Rock Pigeon, Boat-tailed Grackle, Common Grackle, Muscovy Duck (the ABA does not exercise jurisdiction over my back yard, thank you!), Northern Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Loggerhead Shrike, Blue Jay, Osprey, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Tricolord Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret

Should-see’s (usually seen at least once a week all year round): (10)

Tree Swallow, Red-winged Blackbird, Monk Parakeet, Killdeer, Green Heron, Mottled Duck, Anhinga, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Pied-billed Grebe

Seasonal Snowbirds and Summer visitors– includes breeders and post-breeding wanderers from nearby)(9) :
Belted Kingfisher, Ring-billed Gull, Palm Warbler, Least Tern, Barn Swallow, Purple Martin, Cliff Swallow, Cave Sallow, Rough-winged Swallow

Glad-to-sees (occasional but reliable visitors):
Red-shouldered Hawk, Kestrel, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Glossy Ibis, Yellow-rumped and other migratory warblers, Northern Flicker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Bald Eagle, Fish Crow, Common Moorhen.

Therefore, I have no good excuse for not meeting my nutritional quota every day (unless the grandchildren are visiting).  Interestingly, there are a few bird species that may be common locally but do not visit our yard, such as Painted Bunting, House Sparrow, European Starling, American Robin, and any owls. We no longer put the feeder up. It attracted hordes of Muscovy Ducks, grackles and noisy Monk Parakeets. We did have scores of goldfinches the first year, but never enticed a visit from the longed-for Painted Buntings.

Just this morning, as I sipped coffee before Mary Lou and I took a walk, I photographed the above Green Heron and Snowy Egret. The egret exhibited an interesting behavior. It stirred up the water with one of its bright yellow feet, either to attract or to startle small fish into becoming its meal:

A pair of Mottled Ducks walked up on the lawn. Many of our local Mottled Ducks are rather heavy in the chest and may show some signs of genetic admixture with semi-domesticated Mallards, This pair is usually quite wary. They must nest in the wetlands nearby and appear to be of pure wild stock.


After we got back from our walk, I heard a ruckus and saw a Snowy Egret in a dueling match with a Tricolored Heron, obviously over fishing rights. Both birds had flown over to where a cormorant was diving near the edge of the lake. It probably was chasing some fish towards the shoreline.

On our walk we saw this weird hybrid duck. It has a green bill and was associating with a group of Muscovies. It lacks the red bare facial area of the Muscovy Duck and it “quacks” like a Mallard. Probably a Muscovy-Mallard mix, but with a green bill??

Also photographed this exotic Brown Anole on the patio. These critters have nearly displaced the Green Anole (or “Chameleon”  that I wanted to buy as a little kid in New Jersey. The toy catalog said it came with a silver chain that attached to your shirt. Thankfully, my Mom resisted my pleadings).

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