Saturday, August 29, 2015

American Golden-Plover

An American Golden-Plover and a tiny Semipalmated Plover on a Lake Erie beach early this morning.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

National Aviary

In the world of bird rehabilitation, conservation, and education, there are places that really stand out. The National Aviary in Pittsburgh is one of those places.  Their residents are birds that were rescued and are considered to be "unreleasable" due to handicaps that would prevent them from surviving in the wild.  Other resident birds at the aviary were rescued from the exotic pet trade and would also be unable to survive in the wild at this point in their precious lives. These magnificent creatures are used to educate the public and bring awareness to the plight of birds from all over the world due to pollution, hunting, poaching and habitat loss.  On a visit to the National Aviary yesterday, I was able to photograph several of their beautiful ambassadors.  Some of my favorite shots are posted below.

Victoria Crowned Pigeon (New Guinea)

Steller's Sea Eagle (Russia)

Northern Bobwhite (United States and the Caribbean)

African Penguin

Eurasian Eagle-Owl

American Flamingo

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (United States and Central America)

Wattled Curassow (South America) - It is believed that less than 10,000 of these birds still exist in the world today.

"As human population grows, more plants and animals are becoming extinct.  Today, more than 1,300 bird species are under threat of extinction.  That amounts to 13% of all birds now living on Earth. Let's work together to share our planet -- with each other and with all living things around the world." ~ excerpt from a plaque in the National Aviary

Monday, August 24, 2015

Short-billed Dowitcher

The Short-billed Dowitcher (along with the Red Knot pictured below) has been listed on the "State of the Birds Watch List" which lists birds most in danger of extinction without "significant conservation action."


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Red Knot

A beautiful Red Knot still showing breeding plumage.  I found it taking a break near a Lake Erie beach in Ohio on its migration to South America.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Named for the way morning dew sparkles on its leaves.

Aside from being a beautiful wildflower, Jewelweed also has healing properties for skin that has been damaged by poison ivy or burns.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

Least Sandpipers

Least Sandpipers take a break from their southbound journey along Lake Erie early this morning to look for food. Even though it's still summer, fall migration for shorebirds is well underway.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Spotted Sandpipers at Sunset

Immature Cooper's Hawk

Perched on the fence of a small municipal airport.

A deceased Cooper's Hawk was found in Canada earlier this year with stunningly high levels of toxins in its liver. That bird is now considered to have been the most polluted bird in the world.  To read about what scientists found, click here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Magus Avium

A family group of Marsh Wrens including fledglings is pictured below.

According to ancient Celtic lore, the wren was considered to be the "king of birds" and believed to have prophetic abilities. Supposedly one could learn about the future by attentively listening to the wren's song. Wrens were called the magus avium which means "magic bird."  However...

...for many years this beautiful little bird was hunted and killed on December 26th. Since the wren was seen as a sacred bird to the early druid people it was targeted by christians as a pagan symbol. Young "christian" boys were rewarded with money for killing and parading the dead birds impaled on sticks from house to house. This is just another sad example of senseless cruelty created by humans in the name of religion.

"He who shall hurt the little wren, shall never be beloved by men." ~ William Blake

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hairy Woodpecker

This woodpecker was on a snag we created from a pine tree that was growing too close to the house. For more information on the importance of snags and other dead wood for wildlife, click here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Magnolia Warbler