Saturday, June 27, 2009

W Kingbird's unusual nest location

Today I found a Western Kingbird nesting above an old oriole nest. This pair of kingbirds lost a prior nest a few weeks ago when it was blown off a utility pole, a common location for their nests in this area. They apparently built their new nest on top of the old oriole nest that has not been occupied by Bullock Orioles this year. This may be a good strategy since the old nest has survived a year in good condition.
The top pic shows the full oriole nest made with some colorful string, a common thing with Bullock Oriole nests. I think the kingbirds may have enlarged the top of the oriole nest to better accommodate their nest. The kingbird's bill is prominent in the pics. Her white throat and her left eye can also be seen. And her tail is visible sticking out of the nest to the left side. Very innovative birds. SeEtta

Monday, June 22, 2009

Duplex oriole nests

I found these two Bullock's Oriole nests after hearing the fledglings calling. This is the first time I have seen these apparent duplex nests. Though I tried for two days, the parent's would not return to the nests while I was standing there so I cannot confirm that there are nestlings in both nests or just one. If the smaller nest has nestlings, it would seem to be only large enough to hold one or two--actually this nest looks like a sidecar to the nest on the right. SeEtta

Juvenile Belted Kingfisher

I have been watching a family of 4 Belted Kingfishers over the past 3 days. I believe there are an adult male, an adult female, and 2 juvenile birds so I suspect the parents are still teaching the young to fish. They could be fledglings as they have not shown any sustained flight, but I haven't been able to find the parent's feeding them which would confirm fledgling stage.

This pic is one of the birds in juvenal plumage. First note the relative shortness of the bill which is much shorter compared to adult kingfishers. As described in Birds of North America online, "birds in Juvenal plumage have a darker crest, more white in the wing coverts, larger white tips on secondaries, and white spots on the central pair of rectrices (like adult females), and more cinnamon or brown color in their slaty breast band." This kingfisher has all these characteristics. Since it has so much cinnamon on the breast band I think it is likely a female. I took this pic, handheld, from about 12 -15 feet away. Do double-click on the pic to get a better close-up view. SeEtta

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Black Phoebe juveniles in Canon City area

Yesterday 2 juvenile Black Phoebes found their way to one of the ponds on my friend's property east of Canon City. I suspect these are the offspring of a pair of Black Phoebes I observed on the west end of my friend's property for several weeks this spring. I couldn't relocate them a few weeks ago and thought the pair might be nesting under a nearby RR bridge where a pair of Black Phoebes had successfully nested last summer (and likely the summer before). Since I haven't seen them in that area recently (and they would be fairly obvious as the parents secured food for the growing youngsters) I think they found another location, though somewhere not far, to nest.

The is a pic of one of those juveniles and it clearly shows the cinnamon/brown edging on the wing (also on back feathers not visible in pic) that most easily distinguishes those in juvenal plumage from adult plumage. Other distinguishing features of juvenal plumage are not visible in this pic which I took, handheld, about 50 feet from the bird. However, the still somewhat yellowish bill flanges are visible and indicate that this is a fairly young juvenile. In my experience with a number of Black Phoebe nestings, birds that still have as much distinguishable gape flanges have only recently moved from being fed by parents as fledglings to their independent juvenile stage. Double-click on the pic to enlarge it for better viewing. SeEtta