Monday, April 18, 2011

Enjoying my common birds!

Below are some of the most common birds I see, but all worthy of attention and each is beautiful.

California Quail (male) under my feeder
European Starling - showing the yellow breeding bill.  Non-breeding Starlings have dark bills.  Love 'em or hate 'em, you cannot deny the beauty of their iridescent plumage.
Speaking of iridescence, check out this Black-billed Magpie showing off its blues.  And then I caught it hoping up to the burned out log showing off its impressive color pattern of white, blue, and black.
A fellow Utah birder/photographer joined me for my lunch-hour walk at my patch.  He is a much more skilled photographer than I and has a bigger lens too.  He was taking images of this Magpie at the same time.  I'll post a link to his photos if he puts them online.
Keeping with the theme of iridescence, check out that Mallard head!

We saw this Canada Goose swimming over a hundred yards this way...kind of like it was hiding or like it was sneaking up on something?  Why was it doing that?


  1. ...great series! The quail and the Black-billed Magpie might be common to you, but they are super cool (and would be quite a rarity here in Cincy! :-)

  2. Love these beautiful pics, wonderful!

  3. Hi Robert,

    Nice shots! I've witnessed that Canada Goose behavior, too, and I've always thought it was a "heightened alert" posture of some sort. I have no idea if they're really trying to be stealthy or hidden, or if it's simply a posture that conveys something to another individual, like "I'm coming to get you . . . ". From what I've seen, the end result is often a bird flapping or diving underwater to get away from the seemingly-territorial goose, which may be an actual area or a female goose.

    I haven't found anything that explicitly states what that posture/behavior means, but surely someone has studied it.

    Very cool to have quail as a common bird, especially when they visit your feeder! I always love watching them when I make it out west.

  4. Wow, you can see Californian quail regularly... I'd love to see it once with my own eyes! And the Canadian goose are rarely spotted over here... Well done on this nice set of pictures!

  5. Yes indeed, each bird is so very beautiful. Wonderful images of a variety of feathered friends. Love the black-billed Magpie, a bird we don't get to see here in Chicago. Always a joy to visit your blog!

  6. People laugh, but I love photographing California Gulls. Some of my favorite birding photos ever have them as the subject.

  7. @Kelly @Chris - good point - birds common locally may often be a treat for folks who don't live there. I remember being so excited seeing Blue Jays, Tufted Titmouse, and Carolina Wrens in the east because we don't get them in the west.

    @Cynthia & @Julie G. - Thanks for the nice comment!

    @Lauren - I like you comment about photographing California Gulls. I like photographing Robins, even though they are abundant and common.

    @noflickster - I too have seen Canada Geese go into that position when ready to attack another goose, but there were no other geese around when this guy was acting like this. Interesting!

  8. It's always good to see the common birds, good photos.

  9. Great pictures!! I especially love the magpie one with the reflection. GORGEOUS.

  10. @Bob - uncommonly beautiful common birds, right?!

    @Kiirsi - I had never seen a magpie showing so much blue. The light was just right. Thanks for commenting!