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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
This cocky little crow mean mugs the camera after stealing the socks from the shoes of an unsuspecting beach-goer.
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
Two of the camps at Standing Rock, adjacent to the Cannonball River, where people gathered in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Friend and journalist, Winifred Bird, and myself went there in mid-November 2016 as the final leg of our journey to travel the length of the pipeline’s route to survey for ourselves what natural areas were being placed at risk.
The night we arrived was the night of the super moon. Everyone in the camps took a moment about of their busy work to appreciate the sight.
I learned a lot from this experience and challenged my photography along the way. More of the photos from this project are available on my website at
www.cyrenekrey.com. My co-pilot and I published a brief photo essay about our trip on Sierra Magazine’s website. More of Winifred Bird’s journalism can be accessed at her website, www.winifredbird.com.
I encourage everyone to continue fighting for better energy alternatives and clean water for all. I’m grateful to the people of Standing Rock who were welcoming and enthusiastic about this project.
A blue heart painted onto a tree near the Illinois River, one of the major waterways the Dakota Access Pipeline crosses. The risk of a spill along one of these major sources of fresh water has been a motivating factor in the opposition to the pipeline.
A tall, old tree stood along the roadside at a scenic turnout located near the Illinois-Iowa crossing. Based on the survey flags that were there, it stood directly in the path of the pipeline at the time of my visit. This probably means this beautiful tree has since been removed to make way for an oil pipeline.
Bare autumn trees are reflected in the waters at the Mahaska County Conservation Center in Iowa, near where the pipeline route is located. Locals complained to us about the pipeline, stating they felt it put their waters at risk and compromised unmarked Native burial grounds located in the area.
Several different species of aquatic birds were observed at the Maskunky Marsh, a small marsh maintained by Mahaska County Conservation. The pipeline is immediately adjacent to the marsh that waterfowl make home during breeding seasons and use to refuel during migratory periods. Loss of habitats like this have led to numerous disease outbreaks, compromising both bird and human health.
A wind farm in Iowa was the last stop of the second day of the trip. While wind turbines are controversial because of the harm they can inflict on birds, it was an interesting dichotomy to see an oil pipeline being constructed through a source of renewable energy.
More photographs from this and other projects are available at my website,
http://www.cyrenekrey.com. For additional background on my work and extra info, please like my Facebook page.
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 🙂 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 at
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 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.
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.
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 .
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 🙂
Great Backyard Bird Count
http:// gbbc.birdcount.org .
Check out cool audio files of bird songs at
Tekiela S. 1999. Birds of Illinois Field Guide. Cambridge, Minn.: Adventure Pub.