My Digital Photography

and Video of Birds

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Rose breasted Grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus

Highland State Park, May 25, 2015



Eastern Towhee (male), Pipilo erythrophthalmus

I was surprised to find this bird in my own backyard on April 24, 2013.  It is the first one I've ever seen in my entire life!





Leucistic Robin (Piebald Robin)

This robin was in my backyard on March 10, 2013.  You can see its normal mate in the background.  Be sure to also check out the piebald grackle below.




Leucistic Grackle (Piebald Grackle)

On July 22, 2011, I saw the most interesting grackle I've ever seen in my life!  I knew about piebald xenopus from my experience visiting the XenopusOne facility in Dexter, MI.  They had some very special frogs there with blotches of white on regular coloration.  I looked up "piebald grackle" and discovered that the same thing can happen, but it is quite rare.  I only found a few photos available on Google.  I was so thankful to have the opportunity not only to see it, but to be able to photograph it for everyone else to enjoy.








"Hoppy II" the Grackle

In 2010, there was a grackle that had a broken leg that I called "Hoppy."  He lived that way for about 2 weeks and then I never saw him again.  This year, another grackle met the same fate.  First, he had two functioning legs, but at the beginning of May 2011, his head got all pecked up from fighting with other males during mating season.  His head was just skin, and was all red.  He seemed delirious and would just sit out in the grass in the hot sun.  Two weeks later, his leg was broken too.  He hopped around for nearly a month with a crippled, useless leg.  I photographed him playing the role of "King of the Food Dish" on June 11, 2011.  He was still having to fight off other grackles in order to eat.  This time, the broken leg was missing from slightly below his knee.  Sadly, I never saw him again after this photo shoot.  He will certainly never be forgotten.  He sure was a fighter until the end.












Brown Thrasher, Toxostoma rufum

I photographed this brown thrasher through my window with the telephoto lens on April 17, 2011.  Last year, around this time, was the first occasion I have ever seen one of these birds in Michigan.  For all I know, this could have been the very same bird I saw last year, stopping by on it's migratory route.  Apparently, they live in the South for the winter and travel north for the summertime.  It was only here a little over a week, just like last year, feeding on all the feces from any other birds that came to the yard to eat.  I assume it must fly farther north for its permanent summertime home.






On November 18, 2010, on a rather dismal looking day, I noticed that a group of crows landed in the trees across the street.  I attached my telephoto lens and snapped a few shots before they took flight.





Red-bellied Woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus, female

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this woodpecker a few days before these photographs.  I have never seen such a woodpecker in my whole life in Michigan.  It was pecking on my suet feeder the first time I saw it.  This time, I was able to get a few shots of it while standing in the doorwall area (I was even able to open the door without it flying away).  In the photographs, it is hidden by a lot of branches, but I am posting the photos anyway since this is such a rare bird here.








"Woody" the Downy Woodpecker, fledgling male

This poor guy had an unfortunate ending to his young life.  Somehow, on July 10, 2011, he landed in the location where three poles come together to form the stand for the bird bath in the backyard.  I noticed a woodpecker that appeared to be hanging on to the pole and breathing heavily.  I thought at first he was hiding from the hawk that frequents the area.  Then I saw him flipping upside down, which I knew wasn't right.  I immediately ran out there, knowing he was stuck.  He had thrashed around so much that his bones were broken in several places.  I knew he would die right away if I let him go like that, so I tried to take care of him as best I knew how, with antibiotic ointments, keeping him clean and well fed.  It was obvious when I got him that he was not used to eating on his own.  He would peck suet from my hand or drink water from a dropper.  I discovered he was very smart---the first time I showed him where his water container was, using the dropper as a guide, he was all set and didn't need me to give him water anymore.  He learned to peck suet hanging from his cage.  A few days later, I tried super worms, a large type of mealworm.  He would batter them around in his cage and eventually eat them whole.  The cutest thing was that every night, he would sleep in his "nest", a little washcloth I formed into a nest shape in the corner of his cage.  I would tuck him in sometimes, or find him there already when it got dark outside.  He would pull at the washcloth edges so he could be all covered up.  He was such a sweet little bird and seemed to know I was doing my best to help him.  Sadly, he died on July 25, 2010.  I took this video of him on July 15, 2011, battering around a superworm.


Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens, male

Here are some photos taken through the glass of the family room window of a male that commonly frequents my suet feeder, taken on January 8, 2011.  He is the same bird as the entry below.


These photos were taken through the glass of my family room window, so they're not the greatest, but they do show one of the male downy woodpeckers that visits often, likely the mate of the female pictured below this entry.  He was photographed on December 26, 2010.





Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens, female

I believe that this woodpecker, photographed on January 5, 2011, may be the baby of the woodpecker in the entry below it.



On November 11, 2009, this female downy woodpecker who frequently visits my backyard was so comfortable with my presence as I was filling up the sunflower seeds that she decided to eat some of the suet and peck on the nearby ash tree.  I was only about 4 feet from her and I was able to keep her there while talking to her the whole time.  She stayed about 3-4 minutes.  She was on the move or pecking most of the time so it was difficult to get photos that were completely in focus.






Mallard Ducks

Here are some mallards feeding in the backyard on December 18, 2010.


These are terrible photos, but I was trying to document some unusual feather coloration in some of the mallards in the area.  I have seen a male and a few females with white rings around their necks.  In these photos, you can see one of the females.  These were taken on September 19, 2010.


On June 11, 2011, a ringnecked female (I think the same one as above) and her two babies were in my neighbor's yard.  They were feeding bread to the ducks (which actually isn't recommended because it can cause problems in growing ducks because of the sugars and lack of protein).  Later, her male came out from the garden.  It was a partly cloudy day and the sun kept peeping in and out of the clouds, making for some different appearances of the photos.









This sparrow was photographed after a snow storm on February 22, 2010.  These are not very good photos, but they did show some little yellow feathers that I never knew existed until I saw these photos.





This chickadee was photographed after a snow storm on February 22, 2010.  It is eating a sunflower seed from the feeder.



Hollywood Finches

These finches were photographed after a snow storm on February 22, 2010.







These male cardinals were photographed on February 22, 2010.  Notice how the one in the third photo is eating a berry.


These cardinals were photographed in my backyard on December 19, 2009.  They are part of a flock that contains at least 6 males and 6 females that often travel around together.  I have never seen cardinals behave in this manner---generally, they are very territorial.  I think it may be partly due to the fact that there were 9.6 acres of woodland habitat that were just destroyed this summer.  This area is very close to my house and the birds may have joined together from there.  Last winter, I only had 2 male cardinals at my feeder and they were very territorial.  You can see that these males are hanging out in very close proximity.  There are no dominance issues between any of the six males of this group.  I see them all sitting around or feeding together very often.







Dark-eyed Juncos

These juncos were photographed in my backyard on December 19, 2009.  I have never seen these in southeastern Michigan before this season.  Apparently, it is pretty much unknown where these birds hang out during the summer, but many areas get to enjoy them during the winter.  I hope that I will get to see them every winter.  There seem to be four of them that travel together.





American Goldfinches

Here is a goldfinch with its winter coloration eating niger thistle at my birdfeeder on December 19, 2009.


These are the first photos from my telephoto lens.  I wasn't using a tripod and was just testing it out, so they are somewhat out of focus.  These are goldfinches in my backyard photographed on July 3, 2009 and are sporting their bright yellow summer coloration.






Male Killdeer Protecting Nest

I didn't take any photos of this killdeer I found in a nursery while looking for trees, but I did take two videos of him as he tried to get me to leave his nesting area.  Look closely in the nest and you will see some eggs.  These videos were taken on May 30, 2009.



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