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Jim W

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  1. Older post, but I just stumbled on it. In case you still are interested, here is what birdsoftheworld (Cornell) says: "Also occasionally kills small birds in flight, including fledglings (Michener and Michener 1945, Carmen 1988, Ehrlich and McLaughlin 1988) as well as adults, sometimes captured in flight (McLandress and McLandress 1981)." It goes on to say they will capture and consume lizards, small snakes, field mice, etc. So I guess it was not an anomaly...
  2. I had a group of 5 visiting regularly that I assumed was a family (this was before I put up my house). Normally they would chase other bluebirds off. However, on this day, they all seemed to get along. Not sure why that was... I've never had a group this large since.
  3. I read that dried mealworms lack calcium. They are fine as long as the birds are getting variety so they get calcium from other sources. Cornell's feederwatch webpage includes mealworms as a suggested type of food, so I figure they are OK. Similar to Charlie, I put out about 1/4 cup in the morning. I stand out on my porch for a few minutes to give my resident Eastern Bluebirds and Carolina Wrens first shot at them. Once I go inside, starlings clean up whatever is left. During breeding season, I will usually put out dried mealworms a second time in the evening for my nesting blueb
  4. Disclaimer: I've never actually been to South TX. However, I'm deep into planning my next cross-continent drive (happening next spring) and I've spent a LOT of time looking at eBird and researching S. TX sites. From what I've discovered, I completely agree with Seanbirds statement above. I also suggest you look into Salineño. There are a few fairly rare birds that might be found here - Morelet's Seedeater (ABA 3), Red-billed Pigeon (2), Muscovy Duck (wild, not feral). It also looks like the highest probability site in the area for a couple of other birds that can also be found at oth
  5. Lake Apopka is outstanding. Plan on being very busy there. Depending on how far you are willing to drive, you might want to look into Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (on the east coast). It is about 1 hr 15 minutes drive from Lake Apopka. If you have not seen one, it is a great place to find Florida Scrub-Jays (on the Scrub Jay Hiking trail).
  6. Picture taken last night near West Chester, PA. I was sitting in my den last night when I saw something big fly into one of my trees. Even though it was almost dark, I grabbed my camera and went out onto my screened deck. As I did, it flew up onto my neighbors house. I quickly fired off a couple of shots in fully auto mode, but within seconds it flew away. This picture is brightened and cropped. Here's what I saw and my analysis: While I was outside, the owl did not make a sound. When it flew, it looked quite large. My sense was its wingspan was larger than a crow, but
  7. I thought a pure Glaucous-winged Gull's wingtips are the same shade of gray as its mantle? These look darker. I read a study that said Olympic Gulls are more prevalent on the Olympic Peninsula than either pure Western or pure Glaucous-winged. Unfortunately, I just wrote that fact down in my notes, I didn't capture the source.
  8. It's at times like this that I realize how very, very far I have to go to become an expert at this! 👍
  9. Look for some sort of photo editing software. Not only do they allow you to crop, but the better packages allow you to improve the pictures (for example, change the brightness). I edit my pictures on a Windows 10 PC using Corel Paintshop Pro. I'm not saying this is the best package out there, I use it because it came bundled with my camera. If you don't want to buy a package, I'm sure there are free packages out there. In the case of Windows 10, you can use Paint (which comes with Windows). It doesn't have photo editing features (e.g. brightness), but you can use it to crop.
  10. Great idea! If you do, I would suggest you add a bullet or two on Merlin. Partly as a warning against its limitations, partly as a guide on how it can help you. I personally think Merlin is underrated by many people here. While I agree 100% that you should not accept Merlin's ID as gospel, I think it is a great tool for beginner and intermediate birders if used correctly. Since it give a list of possibilities, it helps you guard against getting tunnel visioned on the first bird you think of. How many times has someone been corrected on this forum and their reply is some version
  11. It is a good article, especially the part about the challenges of sifting through opinions on online identification forums. This forum is a great resource, once you've been on it long enough to know which people are really good at bird identification. I do worry about infrequent visitors getting questionable identifications from people only one page ahead of them in the book. The good news is the attitudes of pretty much everyone on here are excellent. Mistakes get corrected, everyone learns, no hard feelings and there are no rancorous debates.
  12. I'm in SE PA. We are either in, or just south of the intergrade band depending on whose map you look at. Half of the chickadees I get to my feeders appear to be hybrids. Most of the rest are Carolina. I didn't even bother listening to this playback because I hear so many different calls from these guys that I can't conclude a thing from them 🙄. In the intergrade area, the two breeds learn each other's songs.
  13. Are we talking about the goose with the whiter face? So on the bottom picture, third from the right? I have to admit I don't know much about Barnacle Geese (I don't live in Greenland), but this doesn't look like a Barnacle to me. Birdsoftheworld says they have a black neck and breast. I'm not seeing it. Not really close to pics in Macauley.
  14. For what its worth, I would call this a Caspian. The undersides of the primaries are dark and the uppersides of the primaries are white. This is a match for Caspian. Royal Tern has only dark trailing edge on primaries; uppersides of primaries are dusky. The tail is not forked enough for Royal.
  15. Yeah, I was wondering about Laughing Gull. I noticed the lack of mirrors, but thought the picture may be too far away to show them. I realize Laughing Gulls can appear pretty dark, but I was thinking this bird was too dark. Of course, that easily could be lighting.
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