Kagawa BONSAI on Instagram: “I went to look for cypress. ヒノキを探しに行きました。 . Cypress with lovely leaves. . It is a beautiful bonsai. . Today ‘s a journey to find such a…”


Bird’s ID – Yellow-rumped Warbler

H.J. Ruiz - Avian101

Yellow-Romped Warbler

The Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) is a North American bird species combining four closely related forms: the eastern myrtle warbler (ssp coronata); its western counterpart, Audubon’s warbler (ssp group auduboni); the northwest Mexican black-fronted warbler (ssp nigrifrons); and the Guatemalan Goldman’s warbler (ssp goldmani).

This is a mid-sized New World warbler, though it is one of the largest species in the genus Setophaga (formerly Dendroica) which comprises most of the species in the family. In total length, the species can range from 12 to 15 cm (4.7 to 5.9 in) long, with a wingspan of 19 to 24 cm (7.5 to 9.4 in). Body mass can vary from 9.9 to 17.7 g (0.35 to 0.62 oz), though averages between 11 and 14 g (0.39 and 0.49 oz). Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 6.3 to 8.4 cm (2.5 to 3.3 in), the tail is 5 to 6.6 cm (2.0 to 2.6 in)…

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Return of Bird of the Week: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Wickersham's Conscience

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Brownsville, Texas

North America boasts two very long-tailed flycatchers. The first is the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. It’s found in the summer throughout he southcentral United States, and year-round in Mexico and Central America. It’s a bit of bug-eating specialist, targeting mostly grasshoppers and beetles. The male’s tail is longer than the female’s and the colors on the female are duller and drabber.

While this species is reasonably adaptable – they are often seen perched on wires and fences – it prefers the mesquite habitat and there is some concern that loss of that habitat through human activities is jeopardizing the species. But, at least so far, populations appear stable.

For more bird photographs, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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Return of Bird of the Week: Fork-tailed Flycatcher

Wickersham's Conscience

Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Oaxaca, Mexico Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Oaxaca, Mexico

This is a pretty wretched photo; WC includes it only because it’s the best image WC has of this distant cousin to last week’s Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, the Fork-tailed Flycatcher. It’s a vagrant species in the United States, but fairly common in Mexico and Central America, and much of South America. The tail is even longer than the Scissor-tailed’s. It’s difficult to confuse the two species: the Scissor-tailed has a white head; the Fork-tailed has a black cap and lacks the buffy wash on the sides of the body.

This is a bird of open habitats, including forest edges, secondary vegetation, savannas, pastures, residential areas, lawns, woodlands, cerrado, and mangroves. It hunts on the wing, and that long tail flutters and streams behind the bird as swoops to nab flying insects.

The species has adapted to human disturbances well; we may have even increased its population and distribution…

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Dr. Tom Cade.  Click here for obituary and description of his role in reviving our peregrine population.

Breeding endangered species in captivity and releasing them after proper preparation has worked to keep many species alive–California Condor for example.

The release part is still not a guaranteed for the Hawaiian Crow (Alala), however.  Click here to read about their current status, with most Alala living still in captivity.  Their threats in the wild include endangered hawk, endangered owl (Pueo) and toxoplasmosis from feral cat feces.  There are fewer than 200 of these birds alive.

One pioneer of  captive breed and release as programs for endangered species was Gerald Durrell.  The TV series, “Durrells in Corfu”, is fun viewing those of us who enjoy animals as much or more than other people.


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Winter Robins

This Veggie Life

The robin is one of my favourite birds because they are so obliging and friendly. One of the easiest garden birds to photograph. And I’m not the only fan – the nation voted the robin its favourite bird.

Here are some of the photos I’ve managed to capture of robins this winter. Currently the robin in our garden regularly greets me as I come back from my daily walk and he sits there on the bush near the front door as I struggle to get the pram through. I’ve started offering a hand of seeds to him – with a little patience, I hope to have him feeding out of my hand.

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Visiting The Peregrine Fund’s Back Rooms

Wickersham's Conscience

Here’s a nearly Christmas present for WC’s loyal readers.

The Peregrine Fund has an educational mission and performs it very well. Whether it is environmental hazards for birds or habitat loss or climate change, The Peregrine Fund teaches well, wrapping the message in the spectacular birds it houses. The Free Flight programs have probably educated as many non-birders on the astonishing powers of birds as anyone in the country.

But education isn’t the primary mission of TPF; that’s preserving and developing populations of raptors. TPF was a major force in bringing its namesake falcon back from the very bring of extinction. It’s a leading force in captive breeding of the California Condor. And it has international programs involving a dozen other species of endangered raptors.

WC had a chance to get a visit to the back rooms of TPF. Photos were taken.

Harpy Eagles are arguably the Western Hemisphere’s largest…

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What WC Did On His Vacation: Harpy Eagles

Wickersham's Conscience

Crikey. WC leaves the internet for a few days and returns to find that Gov. Mike “Sucker Punch” Dunleavy has kicked Alaska and the Alaska economy in the fork. You have to wonder how many times Alaskans will elect a governor from Wasilla before they learn their lesson. It’s too much to deal with right now; let’s talk about birds instead.

Harpy Eagles, Male on left, dark morph female on right, Darien National Park, Darien Privince, Panama Harpy Eagles, Male on left, female on right, Darien National Park, Darien Province, Panama

Most folks kick back a little bit on their winter vacations. Maybe soak up some sun in Hawai’i. Maybe take the kids to Disneyland.

WC and Mrs. WC chase birds. In this specific case, Harpy Eagles. One of the largest and most powerful raptors in the world, Harpy Eagles are very hard to see. It’s not just that big birds need very large hunting grounds; habitat loss is driving Harpy Eagles to extinction in the…

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Holiday Greenery and Trees  

Acreage Life - Nebraska

Deciding on an artificial versus real Christmas tree is a matter of personal preference. Growing up, we had an artificial tree mostly because my mom’s allergies were very sensitive to the smell of pines and our house was pretty small so having a small tree we knew would fit in our dining room was preferred. We did however one year have a pine tree that we cut out of our windbreak that needed to come down and I remember how big, beautiful and magical it was!  There are pros to cons for both. If you decide to go real, here are some tips to help you.

berry branch christmas christmas balls Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Popular Christmas tree species include Frasier Fire, Balsam Fire, Douglas Fir, Scotch Pine, Black Hills Spruce (White Spruce variant) and Eastern White Pine. Firs have a strong and pleasant smell most people enjoy while spruces have a strong…

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