Colorado Photography of the American West

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26 July 2009

Sunday Morning Gallery - Birds of a Feather

Although I have no interest in owning a caged bird, I have always enjoyed watching wild birds. Nothing is quite as fun as seeing a new species at the bird feeder and rushing to get my Audubon field guide to identify and learn about a new neighbor in the forest. Although these photos are not of any rare bird species, I enjoyed photographing them and think they are all quite beautiful birds even if they are considered "common."

The Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) is the most widespread species of swallow in the world. It is a bird of open country which normally uses man-made structures to breed and consequently has spread with human expansion. It builds a cup nest from mud pellets in barns or similar structures and feeds on insects caught in flight.

The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is one of the most common and one of the largest members of the genus Buteo in North America, typically weighing from 690 to 1600 grams (1.5 to 3.5 pounds) and measuring 45–65 cm (18 to 26 in) in length, with a wingspan from 110 to 145 cm (43 to 57 in). Because they are so common and easily trained, the majority of hawks captured for falconry in the United States are Red-tails. The Red-tailed Hawk also has significance in Native American culture and is sometimes called Red Eagle. Its feathers are considered sacred by some tribes, and are used in religious ceremonies.

The Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) ranges from southern Alaska to the Yucatan peninsula in the south, and from the western coast of California and Canada to the east coast of the continent. The male is all black with a red shoulder and yellow wing bar, while the female is a nondescript dark brown. When migrating, the Red-winged Blackbird travels in single-sex flocks. The males usually arrive a few days before the females; once they have reached the location where they plan to breed, the males stake out territories by singing. They defend their territory aggressively, both against other male Red-winged Blackbirds and against creatures they perceive as threatening, including crows, ospreys, hawks, and even humans.

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  1. Great red tailed hawk photo, the bokeh is beautiful..

    Interesting info on the birds, as well.

  2. Wow beautiful work! Thanks for stopping by! I'm following you so I can keep up with your new posts! Absolutely amazing!

  3. Julie - I don't know what to say anymore - I'm out of superlative adjectives for your work. There are not enough adjectives for the quality of your work. I look forward to coming here on Sundays to see it.

  4. I love all the different species of wildlife you share with us! The photo of the hawk is magical!

  5. lovely Julie you have a creative eye. Linda

  6. I too am a huge lover of birds and have a back yard feeder and have watched the families come and go over the last 5 years. My most exciting contact with a bird was while living in the hills in Santa Cruz CA when a local and regular red tail came right over me while gardening and I don't know why but I said"Hello there" and he turned his eye and looked at me and let out a "Caw" and to this day I am convinced he was speaking to me. Call me crazy, I was sure of it.
    I love the red tails the most! But my little towhees are the sweetest..thanks for the beautiful photos and writing!

  7. Beautiful birds Julie,

    We have Red Winged Blackbirds here and I just love them, they are gorgeous, and I love to watch them. The females are quite beautiful also. And I recently spotted a male yellow headed blackbird too, boy would I love to get a picture of him! ha ha I was on the bus when I saw him and no camera!

  8. What wonderful captures. The coloration of the swallow is stunning. The wonders of nature. How come whenever I want to take a snapshot of birds, they are gone by the time I snap those photos??? Guess that's just not where my talent is.

  9. Wonderful captures, Julie!


Contemporary photography of the cities, landscapes, flora and fauna of the American West.
Julie Magers Soulen Photography