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.