Sharing Early Literacy Learning Journeys

Posts tagged ‘birds of north america’

Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

A duck family goes for an early morning swim on the lake.

A Canadian geese family goes for lunch and a swim in the lagoon.

And in the afternoon, a mother starling
feeds her hungry family in their nest in a tree!

Different families. Different times of day. But love and caring in all the families…

See here for more interpretations of ‘Family’.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

The weekly photo challenge, ‘fleeting’, immediately brought to mind one of my favourite quotes: “Cherish the children; their time is fleeting.”

But instead of children, chicks…


Starling chicks, holed up high in a tree, squawking for food…


and for a fleeting moment mama starling brings food to her babies…

and for a fleeting moment I click the camera …

The birds are back…

The birds are back.
For spring and summer.

Water birds. Land birds.
Familiar birds: Geese. Mallards.

Unfamiliar birds.
Bobbing on the river that runs through town.


Black and white heads against choppy, blue water.
‘Hooded Mergansers’? Not sure…

On the way out of town,
Stop at calmer waters.

More ducks.
Black and white. Grey and white.

The ducks dive for food.
Re-surface. Anywhere!

Camera: Press. Focus. Click.
Duck:  Dives down. Out of sight.

Left with a photo of calm, cold water,
With a squiggle on the top!

Drive home. Download photos.
Beautiful black and white heads.

Google ‘Hooded Merganser’ to check.
Black head. White hood. But brown on the body? No…

View another picture.
Black and white head.

Bufflehead? Bufflehead?
Check google photos with my photos.

Could be…
Male. Black head. White wrap around patch. Yes…

Then, a telling factor:
“… buoyant, large-headed duck that abruptly vanishes and resurfaces as it feeds.” Yes…


A male Bufflehead


Later, we see a male Hooded Merganser.

The birds are back!

Unexpected Visitor, Number Two

“Hey Honey. Grab your camera. Will’s got a bird at his front door.”

For the second time in four days. A photo opportunity. And a learning opportunity. Excitedly I cross the road and see a small hawk on the lawn.
Is his wing broken?

He struggles and flaps his wings trying to get away from the admiring humans. He runs towards the open garage but stops on nearby bags of soil –
a higher vantage point perhaps?

Note the strong, sharp talons!

From there, he walks to the patio, watching us all the time.
I see his sharp, hooked beak and his ‘fierce, free eyes’ – as Byrd Baylor (1976) describes Rudy Soto’s hawk in Hawk, I’m Your Brother.

I see a droopy left wing, stopping him from flying as a hawk is meant to fly: soaring, gliding, diving…

One last photo, then we leave him in peace…

I phone and leave a message at a wildlife centre to see what we should/could do with a young hawk with a possible broken wing.

An hour later the hawk goes from Will’s front yard. When he leaves and where he goes, we do not know. It’s up to Mother Nature now…

As for me…
I re-read and relish Byrd Baylor’s wonderful book, Hawk, I’m Your Brother.

I also aim for ‘just-in-time-learning’.

I look up ‘hawks’ in the index of A Guide to Field Identification, Birds of North America (1966) by Robbins, Bruun and Zim and flip through sixteen pages of vultures, hawks and falcons (all of whom are in Order Falconformes) and learn that they are ‘diurnal flesh eaters and most take live prey.’  In addition, they ‘all have a heavy, sharp, hooked bill, and toes with strong curved talons’ (p. 64). However, I am not sure which hawk this one is…

I Google. But there are many, many choices…

I’ll settle for ‘hawk’ for the time being!

Can you share your information about hawks?  

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