Feathered Friends

Many thanks to Pat Diehl for her photos and descriptors!!
Image 1

These are Trumpeter Swans. As you can see, this photo was taken at the pond. Hopefully, some will show up this year; they are starting to move north now, & if the pond thaws soon, we might see them there again. We’ve seen them flying over the valley in previous years– usually, you hear them first.Image

This is a Northern Shrike. They show up in the valley very periodically. Although they are classified as songbirds, they are predatory. They  have a nasty habit of  impaling their catch on a thorny bush. For this reason, they are also referred to as “butcher bird”.Image 2

A juvenile American Kestrel. They are the smallest of all the falcons. The adults show up in the valley almost every year (often seen in the gravel pit area), and like to perch on a power line, or fence post. They eat grasshoppers & other small insects; we get them more often in hot, dry weather. The males are gorgeous, & the females aren’t too shabby, either!
Image 3

This is a male Evening Grosbeak. They love sunflower seeds, and will bring all their family & friends to a feeder. They nest in this area, and will bring their young to feeders when they are able to fly. Some showed up about a week ago, and will stay for the summer.

Image 5

This is a leucistic (lacking in melatonin, therefore white, instead of being coloured in the same  way as other birds of the same species) Hoary Redpoll. Very rare;

Image 6

These are Red Crossbills; the red ones are the males . They too, love sunflower seeds. I haven’t seen them in the valley very often at all in all the years we’ve been here. There is another species of Crossbill called White-winged Crossbills; both are uncommon. Their crossed bills are very distinctive, & designed to open pine cones, the main source of food for both species. Oddly enough, they don’t flock together. Count yourself lucky if you see them!