Category Archives: Video

Illinois falconer on the hobby

Last week the Chicago Tribune ran the story Falconer a rare bird in Illinois. It was accompanied by the video below, showing a licensed falconer working with his bird, a Red-tailed Hawk.

In handling education birds of prey there is overlap with some of the equipment, housing and techniques used by falconers. I’m not interested in the hobby itself but found the video interesting – although I don’t agree with everything mentioned by the falconer in the video or text. 🙂 According to the article there are 4,500 falconers in the United States, with 148 in Illinois. Falconry has been around for hundreds of years, coming to Europe from the Middle or Far East in about AD 400.

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Crow in the snow

Yesterday Arthur and I visited Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and before we went inside I spent some time watching a small group of American Crows that was hanging around the entrance. Mostly they were flying from tree to tree, making the typical crow racket, but I noticed this one beaking around in the snow. I’m not sure if he was looking for something or just playing, but it was fun to watch and wonder.

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Playing Anhinga

During one of our visits to Viera Wetlands, we saw this Anhinga playing with a piece of pipe. Anhingas hunt by swimming under water and spearing fish with their sharp bills. They then have to manipulate their prey in order to eat it, which usually involves tossing the fish into the air from the perpendicular and catching it as it falls parallel into its throat. These photos I found on Flickr show the toss and catch process. We were both enthralled and amused watching this Anhinga’s antics as it practiced its prey-flipping skills.

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Posted in Behavior, Florida, Video, Viera Wetlands | 3 Comments


I admit I had fun watching the American Coots at Viera Wetlands last week. American Coots look a lot like Common Coots, a familiar bird I saw almost every day back in Leiden. They remained relatively solitary on the city canals so seeing coots in a big amicable group (raft) was new to me.

Besides the coot photos I shared yesterday I also took a couple of videos, which I put together here. The first part of the video shows a group feeding calmly together. After the transition the coots are on high alert. I am not sure what spooked them but I found this looking-in-all-directions behavior very cute. Despite the alert level there is a teeny tiny mini standoff between two of the birds starting at about :15 (look on the left side). That’s more like the coot behavior I am used to seeing!

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Posted in Florida, Video, Viera Wetlands | 1 Comment

Cattle Egrets gathering nest material

The shuttle Endeavor finally launched mission STS-127 yesterday, and we weren’t there to see it. We’ll try again with another of the remaining 7 shuttle launches – we really want to see one! On that note I found one last video from the trip last month to share with you. At Viera Wetlands we watched this group of Cattle Egrets gather branches from a dead tree to use as nesting material. The egrets would work at the dead branches and once they had one they were satisfied with, they would fly over the road to a large heronry.

When we first noticed this behavior, we stopped the car to watch them. Unfortunately this spooked the birds – but they were on a mission! They just moved to the nest dead tree down the road. When we slowly approached on foot they did not seem to mind as much, but we still kept our distance. It was fun to watch them!

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Posted in Florida, Travel, Video, Viera Wetlands | 1 Comment

Random videos from Rollins Savanna

When we visited Rollins last Friday it was overcast and threatening rain the entire time. Luckily we finished the loop trail just as the drizzle turned into full-on rain. Along the way we spotted these two young Eastern Kingbirds calling to their parents.

Later we saw this Mallard female leading eight ducklings through the overgrown stream.

This Sedge Wren teased us in the field. We were unsure of the ID until we came home and could compare the song.

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Posted in Illinois, LCFPD, Video | 1 Comment

BPW: Cliff Swallows

On our drive back from Florida last month we took a detour to stop at the Unclaimed Baggage Center shop in Scottsboro, Alabama. On the way we stopped for breakfast in Ft. Payne, Alabama, where we saw a colony of Cliff Swallows.

Cliff Swallows

They were perched on service wires and flying around a man-made stream. The birds also frequently made stops under a pair of small pedestrian bridges that crossed the stream.

Cliff Swallows

Cliff Swallows

These Cliff Swallows were life birds for us and it was a lot of fun to watch their antics.

Cliff Swallow about to take off

Bird Photography Weekly is a regular collection of user-submitted bird photos from all over the world. The new edition comes out every Sunday. Thanks to Birdfreak for hosting this great blog meme – go have a look!

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Posted in Bird Photography Weekly, Life List, Travel, Video | 4 Comments

Anhinga with fish

One bird we’re always sure of seeing when we visit Florida is the Anhinga. We saw this one bringing a fish back to shore to share with another Anhinga at the Intracoastal Waterway Park on Merritt Island.

Anhinga with fish

The Anhinga is another bird that has a nickname – they are called “snake birds” because of the way they look when swimming. An Anhinga will swim with most of his or her body submerged, with only the long & lean, snakey-looking head and neck exposed. Even when swimming with prey impaled on bill, as in these images, the snake bird lives up to its name.

Anhinga with fish

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