Nesting Robins

Robin's Nest by Cyrene Krey
This nest has been here outside of my home for years. I’ve seen birds check it out from time to time, but rarely do they have more than a passing interest. This past spring though, a pair of American robins made it their own for raising their babies. Not once, but twice!
Quick Escape by Cyrene Krey
I was afraid that all the activity on my porch would scare the couple off. Although the mom robin did quickly hurry away from time to time, she was always quick to return.

I’m finishing up the photos from my daily observations of this robin pair from this past spring. You can see more photos about this project on my website at www.cyrenekrey.com. Also be sure to follow me on Instagram.

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Backyard Birds

Small Bird by Cyrene Krey
I spend so much time watching and photographing the wildlife in my own backyard. I do what I can to maintain the area to encourage wildlife to continue hanging out here. Thankfully, the previous owners and many of my neighbors do the same, which has created a beautiful haven for wildlife and some great opportunities for wildlife photography.
Cardinal by Cyrene Krey
Cardinals are abundant and I frequently find them arguing over territory. Although I change the food I put out for wildlife so they don’t grow accustomed and dependent on me as a source of food, several of my neighbors maintain regular feeders. Cardinals frequent these feeders, ousting smaller birds and bickering amongst themselves.

View more of my wildlife photography at www.cyrenekrey.com and be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with all of my adventures!

Strutting Crow by Cyrene Krey

Organizing

I’m finally getting around to properly organizing my mess of photos and it’s had me stumbling on a lot of oldies but goodies. So that’s what today’s post is all about!

Cocky Crow by Cyrene Krey
This cocky little crow mean mugs the camera after stealing the socks from the shoes of an unsuspecting beach-goer.
Strutting Crow by Cyrene Krey
The sock-stealing crow really knew how to capture people’s attention as he strutted around the beach!

Remember to visit my website to check out more of my oldies but goodies at http://www.cyrenekrey.com!

Squirrel licking sap by Cyrene Krey

Field Report (School+Work+Fun)

Once again, I’m taking Ornithology! This time as a graduate student. I loved taking it as an undergrad and as always, my favorite part is the field observations. It’s like work, school, and play all rolled into one πŸ™‚ This field report was especially fun too because I was also able to combine it with the Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen science effort to collect data on bird observations during one weekend every year. This data is published on the eBird website atΒ http://gbbc.birdcount.org.

Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapilla) by Cyrene Krey
The Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapilla) were the most abundant and active throughout both my observations. I saw at least four distinct birds during my first day out. They were flying back and forth from tree to tree, foraging for food. One would occasionally noisily come to an already occupied branch and displace another bird. They have a black cap on their heads (hence their name) as well as a black throat, while the rest of them is white and tan. They look like Carolina chickadees but have different vocalizations, which is one of the methods I used to ID them as black-capped chickadees.
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) by Cyrene Krey
Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) were also very active. I saw four in total, three males and one female. One of the males appeared to be watching over the female as she foraged. He would inspect a tree, move to a higher branch or tree, and she would come over to his previous location to begin foraging. He maintained a relatively close distance to her the entire time I was observing. The other two occasionally appeared to face off with one another, while minding their own business looking for food the rest of the time.
Female cardinal by Cyrene Krey
Male cardinals are bright red with a black mask and females are brown with red tinges on their wings and head crest. Although the males are known as the beautiful ones, I’ve always been partial to the females.
Male Cardinal Licking Sap by Cyrene Krey
Fun note, when I first spotted the male he appeared to be drinking sap off of a tree. The female also came to that tree to do the same .
Squirrel licking sap by Cyrene Krey
Not to be left out, this squirrel decided to see what the cardinals found so delicious about this tree’s sap.

I encourage you to check out the data collected from this year’s bird count and to be on the lookout for it next year! If you participated in this year’s count, comment about your experience πŸ™‚

Great Backyard Bird Count http://gbbc.birdcount.org.

Check out cool audio files of bird songs atΒ http://www.xeno-canto.org.

Tekiela S. 1999. Birds of Illinois Field Guide. Cambridge, Minn.: Adventure Pub.

Turkey Vultures at Devil’s Lake State Park

On Monday, October 26th my husband and I drove up to Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin to so some hiking. We both had different expectations and goals going up there. He didn’t think he’d enjoy hiking around for several hours but was still looking forward to getting some exercise and fresh air. I was excited for several hours of hiking and wildlife watching but concerned that I wouldn’t be able to stay as long because he wasn’t as much of an outdoor enthusiast. It ended up working out perfectly though and he enjoyed himself more than he thought he would, so we were able to hike for a few hours.

I decided to visit because I wanted to see the turkey vultures gather before they began heading south. Turkey vultures aren’t a species that are really thought of as migrators, but northern birds do go a little bit south in the winter (Cornell University, n.d.). One of the areas they tend to gather is Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

We saw several as we drove into the Baraboo area circling in the skies above us. But for the first half of our hike once we were at the park, didn’t see any. I was concerned we weren’t going to spot any when one flew right in front of the cliff we were standing on. I quickly pulled out my camera and waited for him to circle again, thrilled to see one of my favorite bird species so close. When he disappeared from view, I figured that would be it. Until I glanced down at the rocks below us and saw two small groups of them hanging out. (Interesting sidenote: I counted a total of 13 vultures on the cliffs and realized later that it was a full moon that day :p)

How many vultures do you count?
How many vultures do you count?
They are sometimes mistaken for eagles or hawks, but turkey vultures can be identified by their raised wings and the uneven circles as they soar (Cornell University, n.d.).
They are sometimes mistaken for eagles or hawks, but turkey vultures can be identified by their raised wings and the uneven circles they fly in as they soar (Cornell University, n.d.).
This guy was watching me while I was watching him! :)
This guy was watching me while I was watching him! πŸ™‚
Turkey vultures serve a valuable purpose in ecosystems as scavengers. Without scavengers, carcasses are left to rot and can pose health dangers to humans and wildlife.
Turkey vultures serve a valuable purpose in ecosystems as scavengers. Without scavengers, carcasses are left to rot and can pose health dangers to humans and wildlife.
Although not a technically "perfect" shot, it's one of my favorites of the day. They are some of the most beautiful birds in flight.
Although not a technically “perfect” shot, it’s one of my favorites of the day. They are some of the most beautiful birds in flight.

The vultures weren’t the only spectacular sights that day! We had beautiful views of the last little bit of fall colors all throughout our hike. Everything from within the woods to the stunning sights from the tops of the cliffs, nothing disappointed!

Beautiful Baraboo as seen from the cliffs in Devil's Lake State Park. (c) Cyrene Krey
Beautiful Baraboo as seen from the cliffs in Devil’s Lake State Park. (c) Cyrene Krey
The last of the fall colors. (c) Cyrene Krey
The last of the fall colors. (c) Cyrene Krey

Be sure to get out and enjoy the little remaining fall colors while you still can! They’re fading fast and winter will soon be upon us. While I’m looking forward to lovely snowy days, I will miss the bright orange and yellow hues of autumn, the last incredible shows of migrating birds, and an excuse to eat leftover Halloween candy! πŸ˜€

References

Cornell University. (n.d.). Turkey Vulture.

Devil’s Lake State Park Visitor Guide.