Readers’ wildlife photographs

Mirabile dictu, we have contributions sent by two readers today (Tuesday in Hong Kong). For the rest of you who sent photos before I left, they’re all secure in Chicago and I’ll begin posting them when I return in two days.

First up, the estimable Stephen Barnard from Idaho. His caption:

Northern Harrier [Circus cyaneus] fly-by. She was looking for crippled ducks.

He then added this:

I see this bird most mornings, cruising up and down Loving Creek. She’s a female, probably, or possibly an immature. I’m pretty sure she’s looking for a crippled ducks, which aren’t uncommon this time of year. It may be my imagination, but the abundant mallards seem to go out of  their way to show that aren’t crippled when she comes around.

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And from reader Rachel Sperling:

While hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire yesterday, I finally had the pleasure of feeding the gray jays (Perisoreus canadensis). I know you’re not supposed to feed the wildlife, but damn. They’re like kittens with wings: bratty yet irresistible.

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11 Comments

  1. Posted November 15, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Very nice, both of you.

    Stephen, that (classic) shape of the harrier with wings held in dihedral. Love it. We frequently sent these tilting in the wind, low over the meadows near our place in WA.

  2. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Very good! It looks to me that the harrier has a bit of a facial disc, so I was wondering if they have a strong use of sound as well as vision in hunting.

    I have never seen grey jays before. There must be a lot of soft-hearted hikers to get this sort of nearly-tame behavior. Really cool.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      You’re correct. Harriers have owl-like faces that help them locate their normal prey (voles and mice) by sound. It doesn’t help much when they’re looking for crippled ducks, though.

      Gray Jays and similar corvids like Clark’s Nutcrackers are known colloquially as “camp robbers” for their boldness in stealing or begging food.

    • Lars
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for asking that – I was wondering myself.

  3. rickflick
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    “kittens on wings”

    I’ve got to remember that line.

    • Rachel
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      They’re about the size and weight of a kitten; they have voracious appetites; they’re kind of bratty, but they’re just so stinking cute that, before you know it, you’ve given them half your sandwich.

      • rickflick
        Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        “given them half your sandwich”

        Sound like quasi-natural selection.

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted November 15, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Just don’t put the remaining half down to take a picture or something. They aren’t called Camp Robbers for nothing.

        Also Grey Jays, Canada Jays and Whiskey Jacks. Hold out some trail mix in the palm of your hand and you will be able to get a picture of a bird in your hand.

  4. geckzilla
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Love the gray jays especially. Their cuteness is like a tiny flame to my iced over heart…

    Seeing an all bird post I am reminded of the recent Pixar short animated film released recently, titled Piper. Wonderful little film, but Piper’s eyes are able to move within their sockets. I found this oddly disturbing.

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    The harrier has the same board expression on her face in every picture. I don’t think she likes her job.


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