Thursday, February 18, 2010

13th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count

Here we are in the middle of February and it's time for the 13th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audobon Society and Bird Studies Canada. As has been the tradition over the last few years we participated and this year is not any different. All of the photographs were taken in the last week. Those from the hawk to the end were taken during the days of the count.

13th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count, Susquehanna Township, Cambria County, PA.

A male and female pair of Downy Woodpeckers fight over a perch on the suet feeder.

These are the male and female Hairy Woodpeckers. There are three photographs this week that show two birds of the same species competing at the feeders. Believe me, it isn't easy to get these shots, especially those of the male and female of the same species at the same feeder at the same time.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker
In this shot I've allowed myself a little head room in front of the bird so that I can be sure that the woodpecker is completely in the frame.

Female Red-Bellied Woodpecker.

I have seen this hawk three or four times over the last month or so, but it was never around long enough for me to properly identify or even get a photograph of until this weekend. This was the highlight of our 13th Annual Backyard Bird Count weekend. It happened at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, the first day.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk -- Accipiter striatus
When I first spotted the hawk it turned and flew away from me. I then spotted the hawk sitting on a limb overlooking the bird feeders which is one of the Sharp-shinned's favorite places to hunt.

It was only a stroke of luck that I pressed the remote control shutter release as the Sharp-shinned Hawk took off for a better perch nearer the feeders.

At this point the Sharp-shinned Hawk is all but directly over my head about 15 feet high in the trees. To get this shot I'm kneeling on the floor, shooting almost straight up through a closed window.

I can't wait until spring comes and they lose their greenish color and go back to the gold.

Blue Jay.

Tufted Titmouse.

Mourning Dove flying through the trees.

Female Cardinal on a sassafras branch. The sassafras trees are abundant at the edge of the yard just at the start of the woods.

Male Cardinal on a sassafras branch.

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