Category Archives: Birds

Wink!

Great Grey Owl

This is the last of the winged visitors I met at the Indigo bookstore. This beautiful monocled great grey owl has been taken in by the folks at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre after he was hit by a car. The collision injured his left eye, which had to be surgically removed.   That didn’t stop him from keeping a close eye on me.

This is the largest of the owl family, with a wingspan that can reach 152 cm. I’m told that its size is somewhat deceptive, made up mostly of fluffy and broad feathers. It is rather lightweight.

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

I met this 11-year old peregrine falcon at the Indigo bookstore, of all places. We could tell, from her loud squawking, she was very happy to come out and meet with the other bookworms. She suffers from cataracts (who would have thought birds get these too?). The nice folks at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre look after her.

If you like peregrine falcons, you might enjoy watching a livecam from a rooftop nest, here in Winnipeg. Charming…

What a cutie!

Northern Saw-whet Owl

I had never seen one of these before. This probably explains why:

Where mice and other small mammals are concerned this fierce, silent owl is anything but cute. One of the most common owls in forests across northern North America (and across the U.S. in winter), saw-whets are highly nocturnal and seldom seen.

This little owl is a northern saw-whet owl, a patient at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre near Winnipeg, Manitoba (actually in St. Adolphe). I met her, two other patients (peregrine falcon and great grey owl) along with great volunteers from PWRC at the Indigo bookstore—who would have thought, of all places—while I was there for a book signing.

Where did I put it?

Maui (1347 of 2119)
A couple of Ruddy Turnstones at at the Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, on the Hawaiian island of Maui

I first met ruddy turnstones on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, at the entrance of the Bay of Tampa. From our very first encounter, it was impossible to forget their name (although I didn’t know the name at the time we met) because that is exactly what turnstones do: they turn stones on the beach looking for insects and other little creatures they can eat, quickly moving from one stone to the next, never staying in place for very long.

These two were enjoying the white foam on the shores of Keālia Pond on Maui.

Hey, look over here!
This one looks so familiar.
No, must be elsewhere…

Cattle Egret

Maui (1380 of 2119)

I had been photographing Hawaiian stilts, coots and ducks when a flash of white caught my attention, from the thicket of tree across the pond. The sunlight and the shadows from the tree’s branches played on that magnificent bird, highlighting it from its surroundings.

It turned out to be a cattle egret, with its bright yellow to reddish sharp bill, red legs, bright white plumage accented by a red or brownish patch on its forehead. I had no doubt it was aware of my presence as it continued poking around the base of the tree for some insects. Eventually, it strolled away, hidden by the long grass and bushes.

 

 

Hawaiian Coot (ʻalae kea)

Maui (1330 of 2119)

The Hawaiian coot is an endangered species endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, with a population estimated between 1,500 and 2,000 birds. I came across this coot at the Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Its distinctive bright white frontal shield (sometimes with a red patch) and its deep red eyes are quite striking. A member of the rail family, its feet are not webbed, but it is a good swimmer.