Category Archives: Birds

A Happy Accident

It was a beautiful Spring day and I spent some time taking images of Bald Eagles ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) chasing one another. They were flying fast and low through the trees. I was tracking this Bald Eagle when it flew behind some trees. I like this image because it looks like a composite image or a dream. I was lucky the camera’s autofocus remained on the Bald Eagle and wasn’t confused by the branches and leaves. Some photographer’s might delete this image, but I like it.

Hot Pursuit
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Blustery Winter Day

We received some snow last night and I decided this morning to get outside with my camera. The wind was howling, it was cold and the snow was blowing horizontally, but walking in a winter storm was a refreshing change of pace. I didn’t see any other people and the birds were more relaxed with my presence. I came across this Bald Eagle ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) perched on a branch and I could see it was using its nicitating membrane to protect its eye from the snow and wind. The nicitating membrane is like a third or inner eyelid that sweeps across the eye from side to side. It’s either translucent or semi-transparent while it covers the eye. It reminds me of someone wearing goggles while skiing in a snowstorm.

Nature Is Metal

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Double-crested Cormorant

A medium-sized bird that is found on any open water from ponds to ocean, the Double-crested Cormorant ( Phalacrocorax auritus ) lives on the west coast year round. They lack waterproof feathers, so I’ll often seem them perched in the sun and using the technique of ‘wing-spreading’ to dry their feathers after swimming. The double crest is only visible on adults during the breeding season ( March to May ). They have orange-yellow skin on their face and throat and striking aquamarine eyes that sparkle like jewels.

Adult Double-crested Cormorants
Double-crested Cormorants Wing-Spreading After Swimming

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Hoodie

It was raining heavily when I came across this male Hooded Merganser ( Lophodytes cucullatus ). This is a small duck with a slender bill and a hood ( crest ) that can be raised or lowered, which changes the shape of the head and the white head patch. Hooded Mergansers are fairly common on small ponds and rivers, where they dive for fish, and other food, seizing it in their thin, serrated bills.

Hoodie In The Rain
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Happy New Year

May the New Year bring you happiness, peace, and prosperity. Wishing you a joyous 2021!

Bald Eagle
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Fresh Snow

A Juvenile and two Adult Bald Eagles ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) after a fresh snowfall. In the winter the sun is farther south and creates beautiful sidelight and shadows. There is not an absence of colour in the winter. Click on a photo and then use your left and right arrow keys to scroll through the gallery.

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Fierce Beauty and Proud Independence

With their Superman-like vision and sharp talons I never tire of taking images of these majestic birds. No baiting or calling was used in taking photos of these Bald Eagles ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ). Click on a photo and then use your left and right arrow keys to scroll through the gallery.

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Steep, J-Shaped Dive

This morning I spent some time photographing a Anna’s Hummingbird ( Calypte anna ). I watched it perform this elaborate swooping or diving aerial display. The male hummingbirds usually do these displays for females. The Anna’s Hummingbird does a steep, J-shaped dive, curling around at the bottom. It also produces a distinctive sound at the bottom of the dive, which I heard. Very cool.

Adult Anna’s Hummingbird

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Above and Below

The Bald Eagle ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) builds one of the largest nests of any bird. It can be 1.3 to 3 metres wide. Sticks are weaved together and they fill in the cracks with softer material like grass and moss. Both the male and the female bring materials to the nest, but the female does most of the placement. A nest can take up to 3 months to build and may be reused year after year. After laying the eggs the incubation period is 34 to 36 days. Both the male and the female take turns sitting on the eggs, but this is mostly done by the female. During this time, the other Bald Eagle is hunting for food or is perched close by to guard the nest, like in the photo. When I took this image it was windy and challenging for the Bald Eagle perched on the branch to maintain its balance.

Protective Parents
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One From the Vault

During this period of self isolation I was looking at some of my older images. In this photo of a Great Horned Owl ( Bubo virginianus ) you can clearly see its ear tufts or ‘horns’. Roughly a third of owl species worldwide have ear tufts and these appendages are mainly used for display and visual communication. It’s also thought to play a role in camouflage, breaking up the bird’s outline against its background. The tufts are made up of feathers.

Fierce Predator

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