Friday, October 9, 2009

Kimmer's Favorite Random Bird Pictures

From Home base in Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kimmer writes: It's rather dreary here in O.H. this morning, and, to be honest, I don't really feel much like working. I was looking through some of the thousands of bird photos that Kenn and I have, and in the spirit of all things good and beautiful, I want to share a few of my randomly selected favorite bird photos.

Now tell me, who can resist fuzzy little baby Black Terns? Not me...

What all fuzzy little baby Black Terns hope to be; an adult Black Tern. This one was photographed at Metzger Marsh, just west of the Bird-O.

Compared to gulls, terns seem to get all the accolades. But, this supremely gorgeous gull helps to level the playing field. It's the Heermann's Gull, and we photographed this one on the coast of California three years ago. Not only is it handsome, but, it spells its name with two N's, just like another handsome creature I know!

This photo might just look like a substandard shot of a Red-breasted Nuthatch. But, in fact, this little bird brought such joy and delight to my life, that this picture will forever be one of my favorite bird photos of all time. I had just gone through a very difficult time in my life, and moved from a big beautiful house surrounded by fabulous bird habitat, into a tiny drab apartment in the city. Just to make myself feel better, I hung a tube feeder filled with thistle seed and one tiny little suet cake outside my window; never suspecting that any birds would find them. Two days later, this little stinker showed up, and put my life back on track for me. He was tiny, but he carried a HUGE message of hope; that, even when your world is turned upside down --
upside down ain't all that bad!

Turn to page 358 in your Kaufman Field Guide to the Birds of North America to learn more about the diagnostic song of the White-throated Sparrow!

This is the Channel-billed Toucan, taken from the canopy tower at Sacha Lodge. (Give me props for being brave enough to climb that dreadful thing!) VERY SCARY...but...VERY COOL! Now listen, I know that this photo sucks, but, I took it by holding my little point and shoot camera up to our spotting scope. (my apologies to Jeff Bouton, the Leica King of Digiscoping!) AND, this is the veryfirsteverinmy life TOUCAN and I wanted a photo of it. I wasn't too thrilled about climbing the tower in the first place. It's like 2000 feet in the air (height perhaps slightly exaggerated) and I certainly didn't want to be carrying ALL of our digiscoping gear up the 17,000 steps to get up to the top (number of stairs perhaps slightly exaggerated). I know I'm making this sound terrible and scary, but, ohmygoodness, it was massively amazing! Imagine standing ABOVE the canopy of a tract of Amazonian Rain forest so vast that you cannot see anything but an ocean of tree tops in every direction. Once they drugged and blindfolded me and got me up there, I never wanted to come down.

The canopy tower at Sacha.

Black-browed Albatross tending its young on Saunders Island on our trip to Antarctica. What a mind-blowing adventure this was. Hey, I know --- Kenn and I should start a blog and tell you all about this trip we took to Antarctica! Yeah, wouldn't that be great.....(Yikes!) I swear on a stack of Kaufman Field Guides that we'll get back to sharing the trip with you. SOON!

Even though many people seem to take American Goldfinches for granted, you have to admit that their nests are lovely.

Although I have been blessed with some astoundingly good birding experiences, this bird remains the single-most-mind-blowing bird I have ever seen. I was so stunned by the sight of this bird that I literally had to sit down. The Sword-billed Hummingbird (this one photographed at the Guango Lodge in Ecuador) has a bill so ridiculously long that it cannot even perch on a feeder. See what I mean!

What happens when you combine a really crazy duck that thinks it's human, some really crazy humans who think they're ducks, a flotation device, some beer, a pond, and a camera that no one really cares about....

A whole new approach to bird feeding. A young Red-tailed Hawk (note the brown tail) that hung around BSBO for several days.

One of the most outrageously bizarre birds on the planet

And finally, a quiz for you. Who can name all five of the brown thrushes shown in this photo taken at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory's banding station in the Navarre Marsh. (Name them left to right)

Thanks for having fun with me today!


  1. Kim, I really enjoyed reading this post! The Sacha Lodge tower is definitely on of my most favorite places I've been. Answers to the quiz: Gray-cheeked, Hermit, Swainson’s, Veery, Wood

  2. Gray-cheeked, Hermit, Swainson's, Veery, WOod

  3. Those baby terns are too cute. Your quiz photo at the end is TOUGH! I like ID quizzes, though, so I'll give it a shot:
    (L-R)Grey-cheeked, Hermit, Swainson's, Veery, Wood.

  4. I'll take a stab at the thrushes. From left to right I'd guess Gray-cheeked, Hermit, Swainson's, Veery, and Wood.

  5. Gray-cheeked, Hermit, Swainson's, Veery and Wood Thrush? This is tough for California birders like me!

  6. Gray-cheeked, Hermit, Swainson's, Veery, Wood. Cool!

  7. Nice post, Kim. I really like your story about the Red-breasted Nuthatch. Remarkable how a little bird can make such a big difference, even years later. I'll have to remember 'upside down ain't all that bad!'

  8. Every one of you correctly named the five brown thrushes! It's always such a treat when we catch all five of them on the same day, and in the same net round. If this were a game of bird poker, I guess we'd call this hand a Royal Thrush!

    Amy ~ thanks for the kind words about the post! I love Red-breasted Nuthatches, and I'll always be grateful to that particular one!

  9. Really nice pics. I especially like the Sword-billed Hummingbird - I saw this bird in Ecuador this past may but from a very far distance... normally I would never have been able to identify a hummingbird at such a distance however, its bill was sooo long it was obvious from the moment I saw the bird! Very cool! Oh and glad the Red-breasted come along when you needed it! Amazing how we are reminded periodically at how much so little can do for us!

  10. This was so enjoyable to read. I love these pictures. Even the blurry one, since I was taking pictures of a barred owl today without enough light.