As an artist who paints the natural world I am interested in the preservation of natural habitat and native species of plants, insects, birds and mammals so when the call came out for Edmonton Area Land Trust online art auction I gladly sent works. http://www.gobid.ca/auction/816
We must work together to save land for all species.
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Monday, April 11, 2016
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Thursday, March 17, 2016
White-winged Crossbill, male. I love how they hang upside down.
Male White-winged Crossbill, a special winter visitor.
Black-capped Chickadee are daily visitors coming to collect black oil sunflower seeds. We always buy seeds and suet from the Wildbird General Store in Edmonton. We discovered years ago that being seed specialists they are very fussy and that cheapo department store seeds are a waste of money as the birds just toss them to the ground.
Red-breasted Nuthatch are also regulars, they love the suet put out for them in winter. We are lucky to have a nesting pair in our spruce tree so its boughs are always busy with the chatter of family life year round.
Boreal Chickadee are sometimes winter visitors, we don't get them often so they are a delight when they come to gather bugs and grubs hibernating in the spruce trees.
White-winged Crossbill, female, these we had never seen in our neighbourhood till this last week. We were happy to watch both the Red and the White-winged Crossbills forage at the tree tops and on the ground.
Red Crossbill, male.
House Finch, male. House finch come most days as they also enjoy the black oil sunflower seeds. I've noticed lots of singing lately and the males are feeding the females, spring courting bonds start early.
Common Redpole is another sporadic visitor to our yard. They come for seeds from the Paper Birch tree in the back yard. This one though seemed to enjoy the company of the Crossbills and was foraging amongst them under the coniferous trees.
Friday, January 29, 2016
With excitement I share with you a gift granted to me, the winter birds that blessed us with their presence this past week. The temperature warmed greatly above zero and as the snow melted flocks of birds we had never noticed in our area arrived to gleam seeds from the cones of the fruitful spruce trees that sport a bumper crop of cones way up top.
There are seven White-winged Crossbills in this photo, but if you can spot five you are doing well as they blend in so fine. The interesting thing I've noticed is this is a mixed flock, there are also Red Crossbills, see below photo.
The red birds are the males, the yellow greenish birds are females.
Male White-winged Crossbills.
In The Birds of Alberta book it says they rarely flock together, so I guess we were really given a gift. These birds stayed mostly in the tree tops. Two days later they were back, this time many were feeding on seeds dropped to the ground.
Crossbills top mandible (jaw, beak) crosses over the lower one. The beak is specifically designed to pry into coniferous cones to gain access to the seeds within. What a wonderful experience to watch this female White-winged Crossbill pry out seeds by jabbing her thin curved beak up under the lip of the cone and wiggle her head back and forth pulling out seeds.
Unique specialty designs of nature these birds are, you can clearly see the beak crosses over itself. Got this shot as the bird hopped under the window I was shooting out of.
Female White-winged Crossbill.
While the females were prying seeds from fallen cones the males were a lazily picking seeds from the ground.
I believe this may be an immature male as his coloration is more orange than red.
Mature White-winged Crossbills were elusive as they took flight at the slightest noise so I was lucky to get this clear shot of one on the sidewalk.
Male Red Crossbill, notice no wing bars and softer coloration.
Female Red Crossbill posing on the gutter just above where I was standing. A female flew down and landed two feet away from my head, I held my breath in awe, a gift to behold close up. She peered into my eyes, cocked her head, then took to the air. sigh.
Where the melting snow puddled in the gutter the Crossbills took turns bathing.
May you enjoy the gift of these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.