Great Egret on Nesting Platform Boundary Oak Golf Course 01/25/2011
The Great Egret is a large bird with all-white plumage that can reach a little over 3 feet in height, weighs up to 2.1 lbs and has a wingspan of 65 to 85 inches. It is thus only slightly smaller than the Great Blue or Grey Heron.
Apart from size, the Great Egret can be distinguished from other white egrets by its yellow bill and black legs and feet, though the bill may become darker and the lower legs lighter in the breeding season.
The Great Egret is generally a very successful species with a large and expanding range. In North America, large numbers of Great Egrets were killed around the end of the 19th century so that their plumes could be used to decorate hats. Numbers have since recovered as a result of conservation measures. Its range has expanded as far north as southern Canada. However, in some parts of the southern United States, its numbers have declined due to habitat loss. Nevertheless, it adapts well to human habitation and can be readily seen near wetlands and bodies of water in urban and suburban areas.
In 1953 the Great Egret in flight was chosen as the symbol of the National Audubon Society, which was formed in part to prevent the killing of birds for their feathers.
Boundary Oak Golf Course 04/14/2011
The Black Phoebe is a medium-sized flycatcher, about 6.3 inches in length and weighing 0.5 to 0.8 oz. It has predominately black plumage, with white on its belly and undertail feathers. The white forms an inverted 'V' in the lower breast. The sexes are identical, and plumage does not vary seasonally.
Juveniles have browner plumage with cinnamon-brown feather tips on their body, and brown wing-bars. The bird has brown irises, and black legs, feet, and beak.
The phoebe can be recognized by a characteristic 'tail-wagging' motion, in which the tail is lowered and fanned, then slowly wagged.
Its song consists of two alternating phrases (tee-hee, tee-ho or sisee, sitsew). The song can be heard from both sexes, but is more commonly sung by the males.
Boundary Oak Golf Course 02/15/2011
The Belted Kingfisher is a stocky, medium-sized bird that measures between 11–14 inches in length with a wingspan of between 19–23 inches. Birds usually weigh 4.9 to 6 oz. This species has a large head with a shaggy crest. Its long, heavy bill is black with a grey base. This kingfisher shows reverse sexual dimorphism, with the female more brightly colored than the male. Both sexes have a slate blue head, large white collar, a large blue band on the breast, and white underparts. The back and wings are slate blue with black feather tips with little white dots. The female features a rust colored band across the upper belly that extends down the flanks. Juveniles of this species are similar to adults, but both sexes feature the rust colored band on the upper belly. Juvenile males will have a rust colored band that is somewhat mottled while the band on females will be much thinner than that on adult females.
The Belted Kingfisher is often seen perched prominently on trees, posts, or other suitable "watch points" close to water before plunging in head first after its fish prey. They also eat amphibians, small crustaceans, insects, small mammals and reptiles.
Boundary Oak Golf Course 05/11/2011
The Cedar Waxwing is a medium-sized, sleek bird with a large head, short neck, and short, wide bill. Waxwings have a crest that often lies flat and droops over the back of the head. The wings are broad and pointed, like a starling's. The tail is fairly short and square-tipped.
They are pale brown on the head and chest fading to soft gray on the wings. The belly is pale yellow, and the tail is gray with a bright yellow tip. The face has a narrow black mask neatly outlined in white. The red waxy tips to the wing feathers are not always easy to see.
Cedar Waxwings are social birds that you're likely to see in flocks year-round. They sit in fruiting trees swallowing berries whole, or pluck them in mid-air with a brief fluttering hover. They also course over water for insects, flying like tubby, slightly clumsy swallows.
The Cedar Waxwing's call is a thin, high-pitched warbled "zeee" or "zeeet."
Boundary Oak Golf Course 12/27/2011
The Barn Owl is a pale, long-winged, long-legged owl with a short squarish tail. Depending on subspecies, it measures about 9.8 to 18 inches in overall length, with a wingspan of 30 to 43 inches. The light face with its heart shape and the black eyes give the flying bird an odd and startling appearance, like a flat mask with oversized oblique black eye slits, the ridge of feathers above the bill somewhat resembling a nose.
Its head and upper body typically vary between light brown and light colored and dark grey (especially on the forehead and back) feathers in most subspecies. Some are a purer, richer brown and all have fine black-and-white speckles except on the remiges and rectrices, which are light brown with darker bands. The heart-shaped face is usually bright white, but in some subspecies it is browner. The underparts vary from white to reddish buff among the subspecies, and are either mostly unpatterned or bear a varying amount of tiny blackish-brown speckles. The talons are black.
On average, within any one population males tend to be less spotted on the underside than females. The latter are also larger, as is common for owls.
Contrary to popular belief, the Barn Owl does not hoot. It instead produces the characteristic shree scream, ear-shattering at close range. Males in courtship give a shrill twitter. It can hiss like a snake to scare away intruders, and when captured or cornered, it throws itself on its back and flails with sharp-taloned feet, making for an effective defense.
Western Blue Bird
Boundary Oak Golf Course 05/11/2011
The Western Bluebird is a small thrush, approximately 5.9 to 7.1 inches in length.
Adult males are bright blue on top and on the throat with an orange breast and sides, a brownish patch on back, and a gray belly and undertail coverts.
Adult females have a duller blue body, wings, and tail than the male, a gray throat, dull orange breast, and a gray belly and undertail coverts.
Immature Western Bluebirds have duller colors than the adults and they also have spots on their chest and back.
They are sometimes confused with other bluebirds, however they can be distinguished without difficulty. The Western Bluebird has a blue (male) or gray (female) throat, the Eastern Bluebird has an orange throat, and the Mountain Bluebird lacks orange color anywhere on its body.
Red Tail Hawk
Boundary Oak Golf Course 05/11/2011
A male Red-Tailed Hawk may weigh from 1.5 to 2.9 pounds and measure 18 to 22 inches long, while a female can weigh between 2 and 4.4 pounds and measure 19 to 26 inches long. Wingspan is about 45 to 52 inches. As is the case with many raptors the females Red-tailed Hawk are up to 25% larger than males.
Though the markings and hue can vary, the basic appearance of the Red-tailed Hawk is consistent. The underbelly is lighter than the back and a dark brown band across the belly, formed by horizontal streaks in feather patterning, is present in most color variations. The red tail, which gives this species its name, is uniformly brick-red above and pink below. The bill is short and dark, in the hooked shape characteristic of raptors. They have short, broad tails and thick, chunky wings. The legs, and the feet of the Red-tailed Hawk are all yellow.
Immature birds can be readily identified at close range by their yellowish irises. As the bird attains full maturity over the course of 3–4 years, the iris slowly darkens into a reddish-brown hue. In both the light and dark morphs, the tail of the immature Red-tailed Hawk is patterned with numerous darker bars.
Baby Red Tail Hawks in Nest
Boundary Oak Golf Course 05/30/2011
Red-tailed Hawks typically put their nests in the crowns of tall trees where they have a commanding view of the landscape. Both members build the nest, or simply refurbish one of the nests they've used in previous years. Nests are tall piles of dry sticks up to 6.5 feet high and 3 feet across. The inner cup is lined with bark strips, fresh foliage, and dry vegetation. Construction takes 4-7 days.
A clutch of 1 to 3 white to pale blue eggs, sometimes spotted with brown, are laid in March or April, depending upon latitude. Clutch size depends almost exclusively on the availability of prey for the adults. Eggs are laid approximately every other day. The eggs are usually about 60 x 47 mm (2.4 x 1.9 in). They are incubated primarily by female, with the male substituting when the female leaves to hunt or merely stretch her wings. The male brings most food to the female while she incubates.
After 28 to 35 days, the eggs hatch over 2 to 4 days. The female broods them while the male provides most of the food to the female and the young, which are known as eyasses (pronounced "EYE-ess-ez"). The female feeds the eyasses after tearing the food into small pieces. After 42 to 46 days, the eyasses begin to leave the nest on short flights. The fledging period lasts up to 10 weeks, during which the young learn to fly and hunt.
Juvenile Red Tail Hawk
Boundary Oak Golf Course 06/02/2011
Immature red-tailed hawks can be readily identified at close range by their yellowish irises. As the bird attains full maturity over the course of 3–4 years, the iris slowly darkens into a reddish-brown hue. In both the light and dark morphs, the tail of the immature Red-tailed Hawk is patterned with numerous darker bars.
The juvenile red-tailed hawk does not have a red tail. A red-tailed hawk gets its red tail after the molt in the year after they hatch.