Photo essay: Cooperative birds

1-Stuttgart-Killdeer1
Killdeer

Arkansas birds were out in force this past weekend when I participated in my first Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). I’ve just completed entering the 26 bird species I viewed into the GBBC database.

The GBBC only calls for at least 15 minutes of birdwatching. Well, I decided to spend my birdwatching time on Saturday in Wynne at Village Creek State Park. Later, I visited my grandparent’s farm to walk their woods. I got lucky in both spots, however, my best find was when I drove from Wynne to Stuttgart on Hwy. 306. (See pictures below).

2-306-Greater Yellowlegs1
Greater Yellowlegs

I say Hwy. 306 was my best find because I discovered the above Greater Yellowlegs and the below Northern Pintails. I also discovered a lazily circling Northern Harrier (third picture below).

In all, my weekend list had American Kestrels, American Robins, blackbirds, Blue Jays, Canadian Geese, Crows, Downy Woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds, Gadwells,  Greater Yellowlegs, Hermit Thrush, House Sparrow, Mallards, Northern Cardinals, Northern Harrier, Northern Pintails, Northern Shovelers, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Red-tailed Hawks, Slated Juncos, Tufted Titmouse, White-Fronted Geese, White-Throated Sparrows, Yellow-bellied Woodpecker and Yellow-Rumped Warbler.

Here’s some more pictures:

3-306-Northern Pintail2
Northern Pintails

4-306-Eastern Red-tailed Hawk1
Eastern Red-tailed Hawk flying above mallards and northern shovelers.

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Northern Harrier
6-2-15 Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird
7-2-15 Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
8-306 Gadwells
Gadwells

 

Holla Bend eagle search


January is Eagle Awareness Month in Arkansas. To celebrate, I attended the Eagle Awareness Weekend at Petit Jean State Park. Bald Eagle numbers in the lower 48 states have now increased from 417 nesting pairs in 1967 to more than 10,000 nesting pairs in recent years. However, this still hasn’t helped me reach my goal of seeing an adult Bald Eagle.

The Bald Eagle gained federal protection in 1940 and its population was severely threatened by the widespread use of the pesticide DDT after World War II. DDT caused Bald eagles to lay eggs with weakened shells.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service changed the Bald Eagle’s status from endangered to threatened in 1995. In 2007, the Bald Eagle was taken off the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

One of the two juvenile Bald Eagles spotted within feet of each other.
The second of two juvenile Bald Eagles that we saw. I was unable to get closer.

To accomplish my goal, Petit Jean park rangers took a group including my aunt and I to nearby Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge, a 7,055 acre refuge that was established in 1957 as a result of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigation and flood control project. Continue reading “Holla Bend eagle search”