For the Birds...

When I saw Ham's photo the other day, I knew it was time for a bird post. Different birds are lured by different things and Baltimore Orioles are attracted by/to oranges. So when Chari and Ham noticed a couple of those birds out and about, the oranges appeared on deck so they could have a closer look. I wouldn't mess with this orange section as it seems this Oriole has claimed it, don't you think?

           "Mine"   Photo by Ham Rutledge

           "Mine"   Photo by Ham Rutledge

Spring is here...the weather is cold one day and mild another. Internet service can be iffy. However, one thing is for sure...the birds are returning.  I am new to birding but have learned quite a bit over the past years from helpful, encouraging birders on the Island. We have much to see here as our island is a stopping point on many birds migratory path. We are very lucky!

Snowy owls were out and about on the Island this December. That was cool! Melody was surprised by this one while taking a photo of a different bird. Birds can be photo bombers!

Oh yes, we saw many birds in Florida this Winter. Even spent some time at "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Identified an Anhinga ... quite a dramatic bird. After that I was able to find them in our neighborhood... fun to watch as they preen.

I have learned quite a bit about Cape Coral since I made this decision to winter here. One being, there are owls there, too!  Cape Coral is a center for Burrowing Owls. They are protected under Florida state law and are found throughout the state although Cape Coral seems to be a real gathering place! Given the disturbed soil and large open spaces, these pint sized cuties have made this place their "go to" place, on a year round basis.

Being somewhat new at birding, it was so much fun finding them on my walks and getting to observe them close up ...well, no more than 20 feet. A nature group stakes off the burrows and roosts and posts signs. While they do fly a bit, burrowing owls tend to make their home on the ground or under it so, it was easy to find and follow them.


 About the size of a soda can, the owls are quite photogenic .... Mother Nature has done a good job in giving them coloring that blends with their surroundings. Endangered in Canada, Mexico, and in parts of the US (Minnesota and Iowa), the burrowing owl is considered a " Species of Special Concern" in six states including Florida.

If one can be found there is usually another not far away. Burrowing owls tend to be in pairs. Sounds vary as with many species. When they are on alert or protection mode, their call can be rather "chirpy". The little one to the right might be getting a bit concerned as the body is straighter and taller with the legs starting to stretch out a bit.

I was surprised by the photo bomber here as I was focusing on the far one and this one literally did a "jack in the box" pop up into the shot. That "chirpy" sound was evident! He/she was telling me a thing or two. I wasn't even that close...but then, maybe there were babies to protect down in the burrow.

I was lucky to see this family before I left. Funny thing, the burrow was located across from a preschool.


All of this talk about birds is leading somewhere. The Door Islands Bird Festival is coming up ... quickly! Each year is different. Never know what will be seen.

It should be fun!

til next time ...