Posted by: atowhee | March 9, 2015


It’s spring and the male bird’s fancy turns to…real estate.HOSP PAIR AT HOOMEHere a pair of House Sparrows seem to have already decided this box is going to be their nesting site.  It is on an oak trunk just a few yards from the edge of Ashland Pond.HOSPRO HOWS TRSW BACKNorthbound Tree Swallow.  He may be a thousand miles from his nesting grounds still.  But this Acorn Woodpecker is clearly drilling a new hole that could be either roost or nest site.  This hooe is too big around simply to store an acorn. TWO OECKERS3And the Acorn was nt the only woodpecker on the dead snag.  A Flicker was checking out a nearby section of the same old trunk. TWO PECKERS1 TWO PECKERS2 TWO PECKERS4There was one other woodpecker busy around the pond.  This one seemed more interested in food than housing.  The Red-breasted Sapsucker took a little break from feeding to pose in the sun.  Thank you very much, Mr. RBS. rbsun1 rbsun2 rbsun3Do we have a more handsome woodpecker in America?  There are subtle patterns here seen only at close range…the scalloping along the pale back bars, the pale nose stripe over the base of the beak, fuzzy white flecking on the spiked tail feathers (such pointed feather ends being typical of woodpeckers).  I had never noticed before that the head feathers do not always mold into a smooth, round crown but show a bit of tendency toward a crest like some flycatchers.

My best garden bird of the day was this Varied Thrush.  The day before I had photographed one, perhaps this bird, just across the street from my house. vt-yard2 vt-yard3 vt-yrd1 (1) vt-yrd1Strangest bird of the day: this small, loud gas hawk.gas hawk1Fl,ying higher and much more elegantly were these two cavorting, courting Ravens.  One, male presumably, was carrying a gift in his beak for his mate. raven pairdraven loveThe Ravens’ choice of real estate is likely to be very high up in some very tall conifer where you and I will not be able to see their nest.  I did once find a Raven nest high on a utility pylon but even there it was very hard to see even with a scope.

A note on Ashland Pond: The February flood jammed sticks and leaves in the intake pipe so no more water flows into the pond and it’s down about two feet from high water mark.  If the pipe is not unclogged the pond will dry up again this summer as it did a few years back.

The Red-breasted sapsucker is one of the birds many Mountain Bird Festival-goers want most to see.  There are still slots in most of our trips.  You can click here to see the full trip schedule.  If you already live here in southern Oregon, alert your benighted birding friends who live around sea level…they’re missing some great birding.  Green-tailed Towhee, Mountain Bluebird, White-headed Woodepecker…and maybe even that big owl, the whatchamacallit.  BTW: the Great Gray Owl book I’ve been working on is about to go to the publisher.MTBF COLOR LOGO


  1. Gas Hawk, one of your better unforgivable puns!

  2. Did you add “gas hawk” to your list?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: