118 photographs so far this month My Special Herons & Egrets pages include photos of eggs, just-hatched nestlings, fledgling, downy young and/or other juvenile birds as well as some of the adult stages from each species. Distinguishing Herons from Egrets Links & Bird Books Courtship Behaviors Pelican Beak Weirdness Pelicans Playing Catch Birds Rousing Banding Birding Galveston 2015 & 2013 , the remarkably popular The 2nd Lower Rio Grande Valley Birds page & the 1st Bald Eagles at White Rock Coyotes JR's resumι Dallas Bird Resources: Dallas Audubon Bird Chat online Bird Rescue Info So you want to use my photos? my How to Photograph Birds. Bird-annotated Maps of White Rock Lake & The SW Med School Rookery &Village Creek Drying Beds Please do not share these fully copyrighted images on Pinterest, Tumblr or other image-sharing sites, although you can always use the link to this main page, which is always my most recent page of bird photos. Cameras Used Ethics Feedback Courtship Behaviors, Bald Eagles at White Rock Coyotes JR's resumé & Contact pages. Email Me
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Visiting Hagerman Wildlife Refuge Again … Photographed April 21 & posted April 24 & 25 … all 38 pix of it
”Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge was established on lands originally purchased by the U.S. Department of Army Corps of Engineers (COE) for the Denison Dam Project-known today as Lake Texoma. Being located in the Central Flyway, one of four migratory bird “super highways”, was an important factor in deciding to create a refuge here. The refuge lies just on the Texas side of the Red River, which divides the Lone Star State from Oklahoma. This region is where the gently rolling blackland prairies meet the hilly terrain of the eastern cross timbers. Of the nearly 12,000 acres that make up the refuge, about 8,700 acres are uplands and the remaining 2,600 acres are wetlands. This diversity of habitat, actively managed by refuge staff, creates ideal conditions for a wide variety of wildlife and plants."
On national wildlife refuges, wildlife comes first. The establishment purpose of the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is to provide and manage habitat for migratory birds, wildlife, and plants native to this area, and to provide opportunity for outdoor recreation that is compatible. The refuge offers wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities, including wildlife observation and photography, fishing, hunting, and hiking, and educational programs.”
More info on their site.
But, I'm not utterly convinced. Everywhere you look there's these often noisy, sometimes obnoxious, and occasionally stinky oil wells, and it seems to me that if anything comes first at Hagerman, it's the oil wells that are all over everywhere.
If it ever came to birds or oil, I'm not sure who'd win.
I have often photographed oil wells, especially the ugly, decrepid, marked-up and rusted-out varieties seen here. I like the big, clean white tanks, too. And especially their swirling staircases.
Then on Why are there more than 150 active wells on Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge? asks Hagerman's Resource Management site, and answers: "A legal obligation." Followed by long paragraphs, ending in " Neither the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nor the Corps benefit financially from these activities." But it doesn't say who does, except that it's a lot of different people.
As if just two people weren't different enough already.
I may — or may never — get all the correct species names applied to these photographs, but I'll try. First, I want to get them down on this page, and that has been a gargantuan task.
Kinda wish I'd got more birds caught up in the early morning sun with this reddish tinge, but this will do for my second-favorite Vulture.
I think I remember these dark birds are vultures of one type or the other. I'm thrilled that you can see them. As usual, these images are all in chronological order, although I don't really know why I keep bothering with that.
The "streets" are named after birds and that sort of thing. It's sort of a grid, but it quickly goes all cady-wampus from north-south-east-west to every which away, because many of those "streets" aren't paved and few of them go in cardinal directions. Most follow coastal contours off to oil wells, and those of you who like speeding or driving crazy could quickly find yourself in a deep, unforgiving wet place.
I also wanted to give you all some notion of the landscape there. It's a beautiful place. With — especially these early spring days — lots of birds and diversity and green. Last time we went, it was mobbed by people who wanted to see gobs and gobs of Snow Geese, which we pronounced, "Sno-geeze." I'd much rather find today's diversity largess than that again. But we went there and did that.
Maybe future streets should be named after the people who profit from all those oil wells …
I don't think there's any birds in this shot, but it might give you a hint of what the landscape is like. Sometimes.
Then we go to a much better pix of Avocets:
I really don't know what to expect at Hagerman — pronounced "hag er man," despite what the National Public Radio dweebs tried to turn it German into for a story a couple years ago. And it's only an hour and a half north of Dallas on Central Expressway — er… I-75, which will sometimes carry you much faster than the 75mph speed limit, while cops just watch — and where there is no slow lane.
I got one of these. There were dozens to thousands of them slippin' and slidin' through the air this morning, and I got one in focus. If I'd brought a wide angle lens, I coulda shot once a got a whole bunch fairly sharp. But I didn't even bring a wide-angle to telephoto country.
I'm guessing a sparrow… I like that I caught the one on the left making that right angle from up to out. I don't think I've ever knowingly done that before.
I have no idea where I was or how far away from any of these birds I was when I shot this, that, or the other images down this page today. I had decided last week to not use either of my telextenders to screw up the natural clarity, resolution or whatever you might like to call it of my Nikon 300mm lens, but I think these turned out rather well, overall.
They have a lot of landscape there, and it varies often and deliciously.
Do birds recognize their reflections in mirrors? Crows? Ravens? Surely shorebirds must …
Actually, the first phrase I thought when I saw this image, was Dancing Prince, then I thought that might be sexist, although it's usually one or the other, so why not this name for this delicate dandy. I think she may be too young to be Queen. Maybe she just looks small.
And there's probably an unpaved road winding around between here and there, too. That goes right by a big and maybe a little oil well, too.
I kept looking at the second figure from the trees at the left of this opening to, well I don't know, really. For awhile, I called it to "the rest of the lake," which goes on and on and on into some other state, for fishing and other lake opportunities. Texoma. This is, I thought, the end for birds, because I've seen many a lake that "had a few birds, but the fishing was great.". But I kept looking at that second figure, so I enlarged just it, here:
And the more I looked at it, the more it looked like an Indian figure, though I have no idea who might have made it or put it up there. I'd like to think, "Indians." And I like the idea of that, but I wonder …. As I like its rude juxtaposition with that tower in the hill of trees behind it.
We saw several Teal.
I really should know my shorebirds by now. After one long-ago trip to Galveston, I could identify thirty or forty only sometimes quite different shorebirds. Couple weeks after that, I could not. Now, also, I can not. I try not to take photographs of too many very different shorebirds, but there's a bounty of them at one-g Hagerman.
I only saw one.
This one I have known since I was a child. The shape, the color, the configuration, the hood. Not this specific bird, of course. I'm old. It'd be ancient.
Of course, we got STs here, too. More.
So far, we've named every species except one. Comforting, that.
But this one I do not know. Yet. Although we have probably met, though neither of us remembers.
I think these are cormorants, but I am not certain. Anna identified the white bird in the air as a Tern. There are, of course, many different Terns, so that's just a part-way I.D, and I may actually be up to the task. Eventually.
I also know oil wells — of which there are very, very many at Hagerman — I think I read 150, and many of those are quite different. On the ground below the well are two Canada Gooses.
So … So many unidentified birds. But they are identifyable.
Well, a lot of trees.
That hint of gold or pink on its head and lower other parts is what tells us — and other Snowy Egrets it's an adult and willing to breed — or did already.
We spent a lot of time traveling up and down — well, I'd call it a grid, but there is nothing particularly square or rectilinear about those roads that lead to — well, usually an oil well, and then a place to photograph birds. Some of those places are mercifully small, others are not, but we kept wrapping around and out to more and more islands of oil wells. Birds are and can be seen and photographed all along.
Down to about here, I struggled to keep the ology chronned. Then I gave up, wondering why bother?
Not everywhere one looks, but there's gobs of them all over the place, and because so many are owned by different people, many are different.
But it didn't move when I fixed something in the cam for this photo, so who knows …?
I love, love, love ending this story with an American White Pelican — and white, puffy clouds.
Wood Duck Babies & Other Ducks Dining Photographed April 18 & posted April 21
It's late enough in spring, we've been expecting to see some babies, and it was a special treat to find Wood Duck chicks still following Mom around everywhere they went, instead of Mallards, but we would have been oo-ing and ahh-ing over any babies at all.
I believe there were a total of seven Wood Duck Chicks who were the stars of the evening. And this was my only shot of them all.
Wonderful as it was to see seven, they probably started out at a dozen or more, but such are the vicissitudes of raising ducklings that very few — if any — of them will probably survive past the next month.
But they are sure cute now.
The Wood Duck female was very careful not to introduce her brood to the long and thick line of ducks when they were at their hungriest.
Then, soon as the chicks had got a bit more of a taste of corn grain, so they'd know what that was all about, she led them off. We'll be lucky to see them again, but there's always hope.
Bill Boyd's Austin Owlets — just about Ready to Fledge
Grackle On A Stick Photographed April 18 & posted April 19 — Guess I was in a hurry.
Didn't really have anything planned for this time. Just kinda fell into these.
Then, the farther I fell, the more fun it was.
So I just kept on falling.
And clicking away as my Great-tailed Grackle friend did his cleansing.
Clickety-click, click, click.
While I was falling, it seemed to make more and more sense.
Now, I just kinda wonder.
Then, just as the grackle thing was getting out of hand, this happened, and I had to click at it. Once.
Sunset Beach Extravaganza Photographed all week & posted early April 18
And now is just a building with extended roofs over multiple picnic tables looking down the duck and goose-strewn hill to the lake, and, if you're lucky, a wildly orange setting sun, the area's namesake. Where gathers every evening ducks galore — whoever's been around lately, including Mallards, Wood Ducks and often little sneaks of various other bird types.
Some seemingly ordinary — but Handsome critters, nonetheless.
Some very familiar..
I should have a pic of a female Wood Duck, the loveliest of them all — right here.
Everybody waiting to get fed.
When I was a staff photog for the Dallas Times Herald, a billion years ago, John Mazziotta, the boss, kept urging us to take every opportunity to include the Dallas Skyline in 'the picture,' I guess so people could tell where the pic was taken.
I keep hoping to manage to capture something completely new, but this is the same old view of a GE waiting for a fish to come sliding by, so it can spear it with its very sharp beak, then swallow it whole, then do it again and again and again.
I also noticed a Snowy Egret and a couple other, different birds, that I'll try to get closer to next time. I didn't see any gulls, and that's a great relief.
I've always been enchanted when the wind sweeps water at the downside edge of the Upper Spillway spewing into the air. When I straightened the image, so the background was level, the water could not possibly have stayed on the wide sweep of coots and wet. When I skewed it, as here, it looks like this…
Note also the rear-view feathers, especially on the right, but on the left, also.
Kinda looks like the same bird — with that black line down the back of its head — but maybe they all have one — or more.
At first I assumed it were a soccer or something ball. Now, I'm just not sure, but that only makes me like it more.
To land wherever.…
There's a couple views from the lake area where I still want to explore a long telephoto view of the skyline and something — anything — of the lake, but I'd have to be about forty feet up, and although I am often frightened by height, it's never stopped me from taking pictures from up there, even if I had to climb a rickety wooden ladder that wasn't all that well attached to the building I went up. I remember one especially rickety wood ladder, where nine or ten stories up, it separated from the building and swayed me back and forth, clicking away. And I climbed back down it with my prize, a roof shot …
Hawks, Swallows & Owl Wishes… Photographed all week & posted early April 15
I was standing on The Pier At Sunset Bay, wondering what I could photo, and this hawk and two kindred feathered spirits appeared over the Hidden Creeks area across the bay, and I wanted at least one of them to fly me over, and I wanted it some more, and more. And then this one did. I pointed up and clicked. And clicked again. But this was the closest we got — it's a crop of a full-frame, but close enough.
I keep seeing Red-shouldered Hawks. Probably because a lot of them are raised around here. The nest I know best doesn't seem to be doing much yet. No new green things up there. Although I see people with long lenses pointed up at that spot, and some of those say they've seen one or another Red-shouldered Hawk either in the area or on the nest.
I think I remember photographing this one in a tree along the outer edge of White Rock Lake along DeGoyler Drive (which is my nomenclature for Lawther Drive across the lake from the Pump House — or so). See my Bird-annotated Map of White Rock Lake to see where I call DeGoyler Drive is.
I shot about 20 of these is rapid succession, of different swallows, but most of the images were seriously flawed by focus, pose or jittery birds.
They hardly ever hold still. I don't remember now whether I was using my tripod or not.
All last early spring I was worried that if those crowds of photographers we never see any other time suddenly converge on owl trees, the owls might not come back again the next year. They've started earlier and they've started later, but I haven't seen any yet from the owls who used to nest around here, but we were in Galveston early in spring …
Jennifer Rivera's photographs of birds in her Backyard
Imagine my surprise when I found smaller versions of these fine photographs in an email from a photographer I had never heard from or about till this week. And with this bird I'd never seen or photographed before. What a delight!
Nice of it to turn around for a profile.
I may have posted a Screech Owl photo here before, but I don't think I've ever photographed one in the wild. This image is just amazing. All that close-up detail, and everything, everything, everything in sharp focus. I'm hoping for more from Jennifer …
I opened up these image files in Adobe Bridge, and learned they were taken with a Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70 with built-in 30X optical, 5-Axis, Optically Image Stabilized 24-720mm (30-1 zoom) zoom, yielding 4.2 to 5 megabyte image files here, which I brought down to my usually largest 888 pixels wide images.
If anybody else out there's got any great, good or half-way decent recent photographs of birds anywhere in Texas, I'd love to see them. Email them to me way before you get over your shyness, please. I'll copyright your images to you, but I can't pay for them. But then I don't pay me, either — and I struggle to keep ads off these pages.
The Slider's Internal Fog & Externally Beyond Photographed all last week & posted early April 9.
At least that's what I thought it must have been when I first opened this pic taken from inside my car with my little mirrorless Panasonic Lumix GX8 and a short zoom in internally very high humidity conditions. We'd been breathing in there, I guess. With slight dash reflection and lights from the other side. Eventually I noticed the signpost that holds up the pyramid …
The first image was photographed from the fogged-up inside of The Slider. I shot this one out the opened window of pretty much the same thing — our local star and six lights.
We almost made it around Winfrey Point last week, but not quite. I still haven't seen to photograph another Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, but that season is upon us, so it can't be much longer till I unload dozens of attempts to capture one flying's soul. …
On the left across the littlest bit of lake is The Old Boat House. On the right are some lights pretty far away. Maybe Mockingbird Lane vs. Peavy. The yellow diamond is one of those warning signs on the boat ramp itself. Sometimes when I'm experimenting, I let it go a little too far …
It's either reflections or electronic, or I just don't know. I know who lives there, but she don't need no promo here. This was photographed from the public grounds of White Rock Lake Park very near Stone Tables in late-ish evening, and every time I look up there, it's different.
Coots don't always show with such elegantly extruded splashes when they force their floating selves to dive or dabble.
Hawk, The Crow here started out as a photograph till I slowly took it apart. The photo it was, was just after I'd photographed it as an actual crow standing on the ground, down and to the left of this shot. Then it took off, but I wasn't looking through the camera and following it into the sky, like I do when a photo I shoot turns out very well, but I just let the camera and lens sorta go where it wanted to follow the crow, and let the crow be the crow and my photograph be a bit of a mess.
The top right corner of the frame clipped off its left wing feathers, and the green grass blobbed, and I really don't know how accurate its anatomy might be. But I see a foot and a bunch feathers that are almost all in the right places.
All the pelicans are usually gone by Tax Day.
With some cormorants and three turtles.
Right about now, they're all looking crosswise at each other.
Tis The Season. (And this almost got stuck in the evening experimentals above.)
I started to say they were flying over that residence over there, but they are more likely in the sky between this side and that. I don't think I'd ever noticed that cop car parked in the driveway on the far left.
Today's shots are most of what I have left over from the last couple of weeks of shooting. After I do my taxes (deep breath), I'll post or shoot some more.
Teal, Wood Duck, N. Shovelers, Killdeer, Coots & a Local Hawk Photographed April 5th, posted the 6th
That last journal entry (below) just drug on and on. This time, pictures run the show, and there might even be more of them than words. While I was still slogging at that word-fest, I was busy photographing birds at my favorite bay on my favorite lake. It helps immensely that it's only a mile or so from home.
According to my long-treasured but recently nearly forgotten Lone Pine edition of Birds of Texas, Blue-winged Teal page, "Feeding: gleans the water's surface for sedge and grass seeds, pondweeds, duckweeds and aquatic invertebrates." According to the dictionary on my elderly Macintosh, sedge is "a grasslike plant with triangular stems and inconspicuous flowers, growing typically in wet ground. Sedges are widely distributed throughout temperate and cold regions. [Family Cyperaceae: Carex and other genera.]"
"Habitat: ponds, lakes, shallow marshes and estuaries; frequents areas with short, dense emergent vegetation."
Maybe my only shot of Teal today, in which a male's eye is actually visible. Didn't look like it would till I got it on this page.
Yeah, it's not really real. As I was funnin' with this image, I kept sucking more vibrance out where we could see it, realizing that those hues weren't entirely real, but luscious. But reality was only a bump or two less vivid that this. And, yeah, of course, I prefer the above rendering.
I must have photographed this female nearly a dozen times. I couldn't quite believe any of the color renderings for her, so why not go a little overboard? The green plants needed it, too — and the water. Perhaps, this begins to explain why I try to photograph and show here females as well as male Wood Ducks and other birds. Female Wood Ducks are gorgeous.
Northern Shovelers three males and a female.
Of course, we can't really see the middle one's face, but the one on the right looks like a grandpa. Lots of definition in that darkness. Not much detail in the bird in the middle.
Not at all sure what this bird was up or down to, but it continued doing exactly this for many minutes. Sorry no eyes, but I dug around in the darkness for quite a while, yet never managed to pry this one's eyes out of the darkness. But I did get several slenders of unexpected colors, and that's mostly why this image is here.
I expected to delete one or the other of these two different and separate shots, but again, I couldn't or at least didn't decide which, so we got them both. There's really not much difference between the two, colorwise.
Remember me blatherin' sumpin' 'bout having secured the one Killdeer nest I knew where was, so people wouldn't fuss them nearly to death? I was wrong, of course. People stumbled onto the nest and the babies, threw bread at them, and utterly panicked the parents thereof.
And so did various birds, so the Killdeer
adults were doing their usual mortally-injured killdeer act to draw them
away. That's the Killdee on the left.
Baby Killdeer Note from Kala King:
”What wonderful teal shots you got, love them. And the bird that was by the killdeer was a male brown-headed cowbird. (Now updated Just Above.)
I was the one who found the killdeer nest several weeks ago when it only had one egg (ended up with 4) and marked it with the rock on one side and a Popsicle stick on the other side. (Both markers are still there, grass grown up around the stick). I let the urban biologist that oversees this lake know, and he notified the maintenance crew, so they would not do anything in that area until the babies are gone.
Then I checked once a week on the nest. Lol, found out I was there 20 minutes after Anna this week. Took a couple of shots then let City of Dallas Urban Biologist Brett Johnson know that they could do what they needed in that area in a couple of days. This is a shot of one of the babies still newly hatched enough that they were all still in the nest.
Sleepy cute baby.
I don't get the chance to photograph an American Coot doing its most distinctive of all their fast acts very often, but this time I already had a camera in my face, and when I heard the distinctive patter of little feets, I turned with the sound and clicked the shutter quickly. Click click click. Note that the spray is emanating from its foot, not the splashes left behind on the water. Great form.
Reason this shot is larger, is because it was the first — as the American Coot ran by where I was standing when it happened to scoot by.
Coot body up and out of the water, leaving only footprints. High-stepping, getting its speed up.
Now it's only barely touching the water. I kept thinking I'd only use one of these three shots, but I could never decide which one, so I used them all. Redundant, I suppose. But fun. In this shot, it's nearly flying.
This is almost exactly what it looked like when I first saw and started photographing this Red-shouldered Hawk. I remember somebody asking what kind of bird it was. I said "a hawk. I don't know which one yet, but it's definitely a hawk." I knew it was either a Red-shouldered or Red-tailed hawk. That's almost a given here in Sunset Bay.
According to my Lone Star edition of Birds of Texas, "Feeding: drops down on prey from a perch, eats various animal prey, ranging from insects to snakes, frogs, small mammals and rarely birds." So it wasn't after the young birds that will soon populate the bay, but the insects, snakes, frogs, small mammals that are or will soon be drawn by all this spring activity.
Gradually, I pried the bird out of the leaves and branches till we could only see the main parts of the tree and nearly all of the hawk. I didn't edit or delete any of the branches that crossed this hawk's body, because it's so much easier to remove branches in front of sky than repairing feathers, tones and bird shape.
Very familiar bird. Red-shouldered Hawks do much of their mating and nesting in very nearly public viewing if you know where to look. Like for the owls farther down the road, there'll be dozens of idiot photographers who need to photograph young hawklets and don't give a damn about those birds' health or well-being. And it's not far from here. So this is probably a son or daughter of Sunset Bay.
I very probably watched it grow up and practice its craft very close to where I photographed this.
Life & Death @ the Med School Rookery Photographed April 1st and posted April 3rd, 4th & 5th
didn't get enough decent photos on our first trip, several weeks ago,
so I did not post them here. This time, I was much less hassled and
harried by camera circumstances. Anna wanted to go to the Rookery
in the morning, and I'm not really a morning person, but it was cool
and pleasant, and we were just getting going with finding and
photographing various interesting birds there, when Anna found an
injured young Great Egret, but before that, we'd kept ourselves
Years ago, I attempted a Map of the SW Medical School Rookery showing where each of the species were found. But, by the second year, many species moved and found better places at the rookery. Possibly the most obvious change of residence was by the Tricolored Herons, who at first possibly before they figured out their every move would be gaped at and nearly photographed to death by idiot photographers who always have to get closer and closer.
I think the Tricolored Herons are still with us at the rookery, but I don't know where, and I'm happy that I don't know, and I know theyare much, much happier, also.
At least the map shows where the rookery is, and some of the places where it's easy and free to park and look down on the rookery area from the open fifth floor of a free parking lot right across from the main chunk of the rookery or photograph birds in flight up close and personal.
I just put the map back online (April 3rd, 2018), but I've been updating some species' whereabouts and totally ignoring other's. After I've visited the place several more times and further into next May 2018, I'll be able to post here where species are, but I don't think it's a good idea, so while I probably will be able to, I won't.
The various species move around from year to year, and part of the fun is finding where your favorite species is this month, season or year
I try to not divulge where nests are for the same reasons.
When I asked Anna if she'd seen "the Anhinga," she answered, "Which one?" when I'd been concentrating on just this one, not in plain sight. I was excited at seeing even just one this early in the season.
Lots of big, white birds up in the trees, with a much wider spectrum of other birds coming soon. We have often seen Snowy Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Little Blue Herons, White Ibis, Black-crowned Night Herons wit Great Blue Herons flying over but not staying. Great Blues and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are too independent to join the crowd.
Those green lores (around their eyes) indicate Great Egrets are ready to mate. So is that bustle of lighter, more aerie feathers on its back.
This is more like a collection of sticks that an actual nest. But it will grow, stick by stick many interlocking and keyed in place until it's considerably larger and stronger and more difficult to photograph through.
Any time you need a picture of a Great Egret or any other species who hangs out at the rookery, there's probably several of them wandering the grounds, middles or edges of the rookery looking for just the right stick for their growing nest. Sometimes, there's a half dozen or more around the edges of the rookery by the basketball court. I had, of course, hoped to capture this one's head, but you know how it goes. Too much time between seeing it and pushing the magic button. But you gotta admit, it's a good shot of the stick.
And there's nearly always many of them flying into or out of or over the area. Gobs of them. They often appear and disappear suddenly, so it's a great Birds-in-Flight learning opportunity.
This is what I saw when I made this photograph, but what I got was dark trees, dark bird and deep blue sky. I just kept lightening everything till I got this, pleased that there was still that lilting blue sky. Every species has a role in the rookery, and I'm only beginning after about fifteen years of watching it to figure it all out. Black-crowns' job is to eat ailing and injured babies and probably healthy ones, too of other species and raise their own.
I don't yet know who eats theirs.
I have this tall dead tree mapped carefully, and I always check it when I visit The Southwestern Medical School Rookery. I've seen all sorts of birds on it over the years, usually looking several sorts of magnificent. The area on the path and/or mud pit wasn't as muddy as it has been over the years or as it will grow later, so getting a firm foothold was easy.
Then when I started to go on farther around the rookery, I heard Anna calling.
Not at all surprisingly, she had found a young, injured Great Egret flailing on the ground by the semi-paved path just beyond.
Anna finding a bird that needed rescuing was nearly no surprise. She organized "The Bird Chauffeurs" who pick up injured birds left by citizens at City Vet's Gaston Avenue store to be taken to Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation in Hutchins, Texas, not far south of Dallas on I-45. Sometimes fairly often, a chauffeur can't show, and she or we do it instead. I love those trips talking to an injured bird. We often find birds who can't make it on their own, and not just at the rookery.
Visiting Rogers offers a fascinating sidelight to birding, and after photographing as much of the immediate intake doctoring as I can without being in the way, I always want to see and talk to the recuperating birds in the big cages beyond lots of hawks, ducks, chickens, peacocks, herons, pigeons, Blue Jays and just about everything else. Many of the birds just run or fly wild back in that general area. Often, there are Great Blue Herons, young and old, on the roofs of buildings or standing right there in front of you, staring.
Of all the places or jobs I've ever considered, working there with birds I don't think I'm strong or healthy enough to clean up the big cages out back but I could clean the little cages in the office area up front would be my primo volunteer job. I'd pay them to do it. One or a couple days a week. Oh, wow. And if I learned stuff by actually touching birds and seeing what and who is under all those feathers
Because she kept her neck hooked, I worried that its neck was broken, but she was alive, though certainly not well and literally kicking. I couldn't get her to hold her neck how I thought would be comfortably correct, so I gave up for fear I'd hurt her. In Anna's photo above, we are holding hand and foot very carefully, before I gave her over to Anna, when she got back with the blue bird-carrying shirt, so I could trek my cam and tripod back to the car, and we could rush it to Rogers. I guess I was looking down at that other foot here dangling major parts of her were free though I had gathered her all up in one secure bundle, and liked the warmth of it.
We knew we should have picked up the injured juvenile Great Egret in a towel, but we didn't have one when I felt the need to pick the little white bird up, so I just picked her up, oh, so carefully, while gathering up her variously bent or struggling parts and held her close, so she wouldn't injure herself with more flopping around, Anna went back to the car and found what she could my thick blue shirt. There was no other choice, but Anna said she'd clean it, and that was fine with me. I didn't mind sharing my warm blue shirt with an injured bird.
I made these two, posed, red & blue & white photographs with my trusty telephoto while we were parading back to the car, although Anna and I both had to hold pretty still while I made them.
This photo shows more of April's damaged details. Her right eye seemed blinded possibly pecked by a stronger sibling, though the other eye appeared to work. If I'd had my little camera, instead of the Nikon tele chunk that doesn't focus close, I would have begun photographing her while she was still alternately flailing on the ground and lying there exhausted. But by then I was busy picking her up and holding all her parts together.
I spoke gently to her, leaning over to gather her up and hold her in my favorite, soft green cotton shirt, to keep her secure and warm. At first, she tried to get away, but she was just too weak. It wasn't cold, but once I got her immobilized by holding her wings and feet (whose toes quickly wrapped around my hand), she was willing to stay in place till Anna got back with my in-case-it-got-colder car shirt.
From the beginning, I wanted to name her April, since this all happened on April 1, and when we got her to Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation in Hutchins, Kathy Rogers told us that she definitely was a female, which she knew, she said, because of the structure of her pelvis. She also told Anna that she's "not sure if April will make it through."
Then I started worrying whether it were wrong to try to save birds whose parents throw them out of the nest, and whose siblings pecked its eye out. I've been thinking a lot about that. I remember young egrets hanging under nests, dead or dying slowly, the natural way, and us not being able to help. Back then, I or we must have visited much more often, because we'd see it more than once, hanging there, dead, then decaying, before somebody got up there and released it.
Anna called Kathy late Monday to find out that April was still alive. The next day, April's prognosis was more iffy. The last little egret we took to Rogers died in less than a week. I try not to get attached to ailing birds, but I love the learning of it, and I liked giving comfort to a dying bird. We both did.
I had hoped Anna could get a shot of me actually holding April close, but I still like the photo of April sprawling in my hands, but Anna emailed back saying,"Good grief! It is a decent photo that shows the difficulty of handling a potentially dangerous bird and you, and I came through unscathed while doing it. Kudos to us!"
"Dangerous?" I thought and told Anna. "Hmm. I never thought it could do us danger. I worried about me hurting it, but never once the other way around." Then Anna told me, "Kathy (Rogers) warned us early on in our rescue attempts, that we should be careful to watch out for that long sharp beak. That is why I wrapped her up so well and made sure that her beak would not flail around and poke out an eye."
Kathy had also told Anna that "Any injured bird that is alive and accessible on the outskirts of the Rookery is eligible for rescue and should be given a chance at life."
Later, I realized that I didn't worry about April's sharp knife of a beak, because she had little or no control over it.
Anna, who kept in touch with Kathy, told me April 4, "Unfortunately, April passed away during last night. We did our best, and she got a lot of love and care from us and the Rogers staff. Not a bad way to go I think."
The best thing about the Year Ago link (at the top of every Bird Journal page) is seeing what birds last year's this month brought us.
Except as noted, all text and photographs Copyright 2018 & before by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission from and payment to J R Compton.
This Journal has been ongoing since June 2006. It began as a way for me to start writing again. Then it became a tool for me to learn how to photograph birds. Maybe in about five more years, I'll start entering bird photography competitions, but I've got too much more to learn, although I have, gradually, in the last few years, been drawing in more people and other animal photos.
I am an amateur. I've only been birding since June 2006, and the best of that is documented in this Journal, all the pages of which continue online. I've been photographing professionally, yet always amateurishly since 1964 = 54 years now. My photos have been in more than 100 exhibitions (and I think I'm finally over that ego boo) and 50 publications including Life Magazine. Now, I just take the pix I want to and show them here, where it's a whole lot cheaper to print them.