Mockingbirds, Waxwings

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10 records

Mockingbirds are best known for the habit of mimicking the songs of other birds and the sounds of insects and amphibians, often loudly and in rapid succession. Waxwings are pinkish-brown and pale grey with silky plumage, a black and white eyestripe, a crest, a square-cut tail and pointed wings. Some of the wing feathers have red tips, the resemblance of which to sealing wax gives these birds their common name.


Blue-headed Vireo

Total Photos: 1

The Blue-headed Vireo are mainly olive on the upperparts with white underparts and yellowish flanks. They have a grey head, dark eyes with white ''spectacles'' and white wing bars. They have a stout bill and thick blue-grey legs.

Their breeding habitat is open mixed deciduous and coniferous woods in Canada east of the Rockies and the northeastern United States. They make a bulky cup nest suspended from a fork in tree branch.

The male helps with incubation and may sing from the nest. These birds migrate to the southern and southeastern United States south to Central America. They forage for insects in the upper parts of trees, sometimes flying out to catch them. They also eat some berries, especially in winter.

Boreal Chickadee

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Brown Thrasher

Total Photos: 2

The Brown Thrasher is a bird in a group that also includes Mockingbirds. It is bright reddish-brown above with thin, dark streaks on its buffy underparts. Its long rufous tail is rounded with paler corners. Eyes are a brilliant gold. Adults are 30cm long with a wingspan of 33 cm, and weighs 68 gm.

It is found in thickets and dense brush, often searching for food in dry leaves on the ground. It also enjoys the convergence of mowed to unmowed lawns, particularly if there are ample shrubs or shrubby trees, i.e., fruit orchards that the undergrowth is left undisturbed. It also enjoys perennial gardens and can be seen jumping from the ground to catch insects on flowers and foliage.

Its breeding range includes the United States and Canada east of the Rocky Mountains. It is a partial migrant, with northern birds wintering in the southern USA, where it occurs throughout the year. There is a single British record of this unlikely transatlantic vagrant.

Carolina Chickadee

Total Photos: 2

The Carolina Chickadee is a small perching bird in the Tit family. Adults are 15 cm long with a weight of 12gm, and have a black cap and bib with white sides to the face. Their underparts are white with rusty brown on the flanks; their back is grey. They have a short dark bill, short wings and a moderately long tail. Very similar to the Black-capped Chickadee, the Carolina Chickadee is best told from it by the slightly browner wing with the greater coverts brown and the white fringing on the secondary feathers slightly less conspicuous; the tail is also slightly shorter and more square-ended.

Their breeding habitat is mixed or deciduous woods in the United States from New Jersey west to southern Kansas and south to Florida and Texas; there is a gap in the range at high altitudes in the Appalachian Mountains where they are replaced by their otherwise more northern relative, the Black-capped Chickadee. They nest in a hole in a tree; the pair excavates the nest, using a natural cavity or sometimes an old woodpecker nest. They may interbreed with Black-capped Chickadees where the ranges overlap, which can make identification difficult.

They are permanent residents, not usually moving south even in severe winter weather.

These birds hop along tree branches searching for food, sometimes hanging upside down or hovering; they may make short flights to catch insects in the air. Insects form a large part of their diet, especially in summer; seeds and berries become important in winter. They sometimes hammer seeds on a tree or shrub to open them; they also will store seeds for later use.

During the fall migration and winter, chickadees often flock together. Many other species of birds, including Titmice, Nuthatches, and Warblers can often be found foraging in these flocks. Mixed flocks stay together because the chickadees call out whenever they find a good source of food. This calling out forms cohesion for the group, allowing the other birds to find food more efficiently.

Carolina chickadees are able to lower their body temperatures. They do this to conserve energy during extremely cold winters. In extremely cold weather conditions they look for cavities where they can hide in and spend up to fifteen hours; during this time they are awake but unresponsive; they should not be picked up and handled at this time, as the stress of being held may cause their death.

Carolina chickadees are so similar to black-capped chickadees that they themselves have trouble telling their species apart. Because of this they sometimes mate producing hybrids. The most obvious difference between the three chickadees is that the Carolina chickadee sings four-note song, black-capped ones sing two-note songs, and the hybrids sing three-note songs.

Cedar Waxwing

Total Photos: 5

The Cedar Waxwing is a member of Waxwing family of perching birds. It breeds in open wooded areas in North America, principally southern Canada and the northern United States.

Cedar waxwings are 20 cm long and weighs 30 gm. They are smaller and more brown than their close relative, the Bohemian Waxwing.

These birds' most prominent feature is a small cluster of bright red feathers on the wings, a feature they share with the Bohemian Waxwing. The tail is typically yellow or orange depending on diet. Birds that have fed on berries of introduced Eurasian honeysuckles while growing tail feathers will have darker orange-tipped tail-feathers. Adults have a pale yellow belly. Immature birds are streaked on the throat and flanks, and often do not have the black mask of the adults.

During courtship the male and female will sit together and pass small objects back and forth, such as flower petals or an insect.

The flight of waxwings is strong and direct, and the movement of the flock in flight resembles that of a flock of small pale European Starlings.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Total Photos: 0

Gray-headed Chickadee

Total Photos: 0

Mexican Chickadee

Total Photos: 0

Mountain Chickadee

Total Photos: 0

Northern Mockingbird

Total Photos: 3

The Northern Mockingbird is the only mockingbird commonly found in North America. It breeds in southeastern Canada, the United States, northern Mexico, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Greater Antilles. It is replaced further south by its closest living relative, the Tropical Mockingbird. The Socorro Mockingbird, an endangered species, is also closely related.

This bird is mainly a permanent resident, but northern birds may move south during harsh weather. This species has occurred in Europe as an extreme rarity.

Northern Mockingbirds eat mainly insects in summer but switch to eating mostly fruit in fall and winter. These birds forage on the ground or in vegetation; they also fly down from a perch to capture food. They mainly eat insects, berries and seeds. While foraging they frequently spread their wings in a peculiar two-step motion to display the white patches. There lacks consensus among ornithologists over whether this behavior is purely a territorial display, or whether the flashing white patches startles insects into giving up their cover.

Mockingbirds' willingness to nest near houses, their loud and frequent songs, and their territorial defense often annoy people.