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Window to Wildlife features the photography of Jim Edlhuber. A lifelong native of Wisconsin, Jim has been photographing wildlife for 20 years. He considers himself an avid photographer and is always trying to capture nature and wildlife through his lens. He is in several photography clubs and has won numerous awards for his work. In recent years, Jim has focused mostly on birding photography and finds it to be the most challenging.

Barred Owl in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on March 11, 2019

Barred Owl in a tree, presumably a nesting pair in Milwaukee County. This male resting peacefully in a tree kept his eyes on a nest hole nearby. Hopefully they will have a successful breeding year at this location. Partly cloudy but in a short time gave way to beautiful blue skies, cool temps starting at 21 degree with some breeze, it was chilly out there! Images were taken on March 11, 2019.

Barred Owl, the male…

Here the male looks over to the nest hole tree…

Enjoying some of the morning sun…

Off in a distance to show some of the setting…this owl was very high up there…

Townsend’s Solitaire at Port Washington in Ozaukee County Wisconsin on March 8, 2019

On my way home from birding in Sheboygan and getting the Great Tit, I thought I would stop at Port Washington. A Townsend’s Solitaire had recently been reported there. The Solitaire was present in the area as reported near the creek at the entrance of Coal Dock Park. When I arrived it was in a tree just above the creek perched. After watching it for awhile, it flew to the concrete wall a couple feet away along the creek and ate what I would think would be gnats or tiny insects. Hopping and skipping around on the concrete wall, I could tell it was catching things and eating. It was also picking insects out of mid-air. I think maybe the warming concrete there provided awaking insects that were dormant? After awhile it flew to the power plant fence adjacent to the creek across the road and ate some conifer berries. This only went on for a shot time. From there it flew high into a tree above the creek and then onto a condo roof top, then north out of sight, I left the area. It was comfortable at 36 degrees, the sun was fading with clouds, but with no wind it was very pleasant.

When I arrived, the Townsend’s Solitaire perched in the tree…

Townsend’s Solitaire

Binomial name: Myadestes townsendi

Category: Thrushes

Size: 8.5” long, 14.5” wingspan

Weight: 1.2 Oz.

Note: What makes this bird a rare visitor? The normal range for the Townsend’s Solitaire is mountainous regions in the western US.

In the tree, looking or listening for insects…

Flying a short distance to the concrete wall a few feet away…

Going for insects…

Getting something to eat here…

here too…

And more, it is eating something here…

Looking for more…

Turns on a dime to look for more, as it must hear something or see something…

Back to the tree…

Before flying across the creek…

To the conifers for the berries along the fence…then off it went…

What the Townsend’s Solitaire ate…

Great Tit at Indian Mound Park in Sheboygan Wisconsin on March 8, 2019

With birding being some what slow, I decided it was time to try for the Great Tit. A bird I have always wanted to see and get on my life list even though it is not a countable bird at this time. I went for it thinking it will be added to the list sooner than later. It happened today after almost a 4 hour wait. There are several locations to try to see the Great Tit , but I also wanted to get a picture of it too. I made the run to Kohler-Andrae State Park first. I stood at the feeders by the ranger station for the first hour plus and it was Pine Siskins, both Nuthatches, American Tree Sparrows and the common feeder birds present. They had recently reported the Great Tit there so I thought I had a good chance. I felt it was time to go to my next location which was Indian Mound Park in Sheboygan. I walked the park almost from end to end very quietly looking for any movement of birds. It was just Black-capped Chickadee’s, both nuthatches and a small flock of American Robins came in to bath as there was some open water in the low areas. I think I was there over an hour. I went back to KASP again also driving the park, and spending some time at the feeder, nothing new. I went back to Indian Mound Park for the last time and spent another hour there. Just about ready to leave for the day and I spot what I thought was the Great Tit ~150 feet high in a tree. I put my bins on it and it flew and landed on a tree a few feet away from me. I was on a walking path at the time, I think it was checking me out. I could not get a shot as it was right above me so I slowly walked away. Looking back I was about 20 feet away, I took a couple shots and off it went. I hung around another 15-20 minutes hoping it would return but it did not. Harrington Beach is suppose to be a good place to see this bird too. So a life bird but not countable, like the European Goldfinch. The day started out at 7 degrees but warmed up fast with the full sun. No wind, it was quiet as a mouse everywhere I went. Images were taken on March 8, 2019.

Great Tit, looks like it just took a drink of water…

Great Tit

Binomial name: Passer montanus

Size: 5.5” long, 9”-10″ wing span

Weight: .57 oz

Note: The Great Tit is pretty common in Europe, but so far Wisconsin is the only state in the US where nesting populations have been found of this pet shop escapee.

Great Tit

Eurasian Tree Sparrows in Lafayette County Wisconsin on February 25, 2019

A species I have always wanted to get on my life list was the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. It finally happened after following up an ebird report from Quentin Y on 2/23/19, thank you Quentin! With the winter like weather we have been having, it took till today, the 25th to get out there. The location is about 14841 East State Line Road in South Wayne Lafayette County. Illinois is on one side of the road, Wisconsin on the other if I am correct. I arrived about 7:00 am. I drove up and down the road very slow coming across flocks of 20 or so birds, mostly Dark-eyed Juncos, with a few American Tree Sparrows mixed in. With the flocks being so large and ice breaking on the road as I rolled along, it was difficult to get near them as they would flush from a distance and with a few cars going by too. After about 45 minutes, I spotted a Eurasian Tree Sparrow in one of the flocks on the side of the road. Of course, it was on the Illinois side of the road! I parked for the most part and waited and waited, finally a group formed in front of me down the road and I noticed a Eurasian Tree Sparrow was in that flock.  From the vehicle I took a few distant shots staying back a ways with out flushing them. Things quieted down and I looked up and a American Kestrel was perched up in a tree above me. Surprisingly Dark-eyed Juncos flew in the same tree as the Kestrel being only 8-10 feet way. They must know there safety zone from the Kestrel with branches in the way I guess.  The Kestrel stayed perched there for 20 minutes, maybe waiting for a Dark-eyed Junco forget that he was there and be in the open. I left the area at that point. To say the least, it was exciting to see this bird and finally get it on my state life list. Other birds seen in the area, 200~ Horned Larks and 5 Lapland Longspurs. It was a cloudy day, very cold with temps about 11 degrees, very little wind, but I was in the car the whole time so not to bad out there. Images were taken on February 25, 2019.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow, in the middle with a American Tree Sparrow behind, with Dark-eyed Juncos, sorry for the watermark…

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Binomial name: Passer montanus

Category: Old World Sparrows

Size: 6” long, 8.75” wing span

Weight: .77 oz

Cool facts: The Eurasian Tree Sparrow from Europe was released in St. Louis, Missouri area in 1870. It became established there. Unlike its close relative, the House Sparrow, it never spread very far from the original point of being released. It is said now that this species is very slowly moving up the Mississippi River northward and breeding.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow in the middle with a American Tree Sparrow on the right and Dark-eyed Juncos…

Eurasian Tree Sparrow in the middle with Dark-eyed Juncos…

Distant shot of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow eating weed seeds with Dark-eyed Junco’s along the shoulder of the road…

Lapland Longspur

Horned Lark in the middle and Lapland Longspurs on each side…

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on February 21, 2019

An Eastern Screech Owl enjoying some sunshine in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on February 21, 2019. This beautiful owl was the highlight of the day. Still, in my opinion very quiet in Milwaukee County Parks. A little action around feeders. 1,000’s of ducks along the Milwaukee lakefront, Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup and some Red-breasted Mergansers in the areas I checked. It was a gorgeous day with plenty of sunshine, low winds, temps around 30 degrees.

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph soaking up some sunshine…

At a long distance…

Herring Gull enjoys some of a Rock Bass at the Fox River in Waukesha Wisconsin on February 20, 2019

I just birded around some of the Waukesha area today with the snowy-misty weather. I stopped at a couple places in Waukesha along the Fox River and the highlight was a Herring Gull eating a Rock Base that it had just captured. I’m not sure how it actually got the fish but I can assume it dove for it. When I saw the Herring Gull on the ice at waters edge, the fish was still flopping around. The gull stabbed the Rock Bass very many times to finally kill it while taking bites in between. It took quite a few stabs to really put this fish out! When it appeared to be finished eating the fish for the time being, it rinsed the fish in the river, what was left of it and set it back on the ice, maybe for later.  At the end of the event, the gull went in for a drink.  It was misting out with 32 degrees during the event with gray skies. Images were taken on February 20, 2019

*Some images could be graphic*

Herring Gull stabbing the Rock Bass when I approached…

Turning the fish over…

Taking a few steps with the fish as it had slide towards the water…

Going to set the fish down…

Tail of the fish still moving…

A bite to eat here…

Taking a couple of bites…the tail still moving…

More bites…

Here, pulling something off to eat…

Eating some of the good stuff in side, some of the entrails…

More good stuff…

And more good stuff…

Picking up the fish and taking it over to the water for a rinse…

Just before the rinse…

The rinse…

Then back up on the ice…

Then a short walk to set it down…

Setting the fish down…

At the end, the gull goes in for a drink…

Great Horned Owls, a Nesting Pair in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on February 14, 2019

It was nice to come across a pair of nesting Great Horned Owls late morning. The female was on the nest while the male was perched high in a spruce tree about 100 feet away. First nesting pair of the year for me. It was a beautiful day, almost felt like spring. Temps around 40, started out with a little sun but clouded over around noon, low winds.

The female Great Horned Owl on the nest…

The male Great Horned Owl near the nest resting peacefully and watching the area too…

Long-eared Owls in Wisconsin on February 6, 2019

While out birding I was surprised to come across a Long-eared Owl. It was perched in a tree, it just stared at me like they always do. I quickly took a couple of shots. A few thin branches were between the owl and I, but that is how it goes sometimes. As I was walking away, a glance to the left of the owl, there was another Long-eared Owl. A couple shots of that one and I left the area, the owls still perched as I found them. It was a cloudy gloomy day with a mild breeze, temps around 30 degrees. Images were taken on February 6, 2019.

Long-eared Owl

Binomial name: Asio otus

Category: Typical Owls

Size: 15” long, 36” wing span

Weight: 9 oz

Note: A proficient hunter, the Long-eared Owl catches mice in complete darkness by using sound to locate its prey!

Long-eared Owl, the 2nd one found…

Rock Lake Icehenge in Lake Mills Wisconsin on January 29, 2019

I got text late last night from a friend that the “Icehenge” on Rock Lake has returned in 2019. This location is on Rock Lake in Lake Mills Wisconsin. I thought for sure today I was up doing a photo op in Antarctica with the day starting at -9F with a high of a -6F winds were 30 mph plus! The Icehenge, what an awesome piece of art and put together well by a group of local artists and craftsmen. It was similar to the Icehenge the group put up in the years 2015 and 2016. The ice for the Icehenge was actually cut near the structure, dragged over to the site and the upper pieces muscled up on top. There is a small structure that is put up near Icehenge a couple hundred feet away called an “altar”. Images of the altar are below. When standing in the middle of the Icehenge as the sun sets on a day very soon, the sun should set on the top of the altar and light should point to the middle of the Icehenge location. I was told this a couple years ago, the math was done on this, and if that actually happens is yet to be seen. It was a fun photo op for a few minutes on a cold and windy day with temps starting at -9F, the high for the day there was -6F out on the lake. Thanks Paula for the text! Images were taken on January 29, 2019.

The “Icehenge” as it looked today around noon!

The “Alter” way out…

As the snow blew…

When I arrived things were calm…

The Icehenge with the altar off in a distance…

Dark-eyed Junco eating Staghorn Sumac seeds at Lake Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on January 26, 2019

One of my birding stops this morning was Lake Park in Milwaukee, about the only place that there were birds seen and that was slim. The highlight if you can believe it was a Dark-eyed Junco, but it was doing something I had never witnessed before. It was eating Staghorn Sumac seeds off a plant there. Could be common thing, I just have never seen it. It was brief but I did get a couple of shots of the event to share. Other birds near the feeder by the statue that was full of seed were White-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, more Dark-eyed Juncos and Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers. Along the lakefront things were pretty much froze up except for an area just off North Point. There were a few Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup and Bufflehead. I saw ONE Gull along the lakefront flying far off in a distance. My short birding run along the lake was Lake Park south to South Shore Yacht Club where 20 Canada Geese were loafing on the ice. Note: It amazes me how many bird species use the native Staghorn Sumac plant for either berries-fruit or seed. It was a bitter cold morning as when I got on the road it was -10 F. Winds were calm so it was not to bad out there. Images were taken on January 26, 2019.

Dark-eyed Junco eating a Staghorn Sumac seed.

Dark-eyed Junco picking a Staghorn Sumac seed off the plant.

Just being a Dark-eyed Junco

Northern Saw-whet Owl in Wisconsin on January 12, 2019

On winter days when birding is slow I spend a lot of hours for weeks looking for the Northern Saw-whet Owl. I found this beautiful owl doing just that. I had views for less than 2 minutes before it left the tree. I was looking down at my camera to check the exposure, heard a flutter and had just a glimpse of it flying off. I spent a few minutes quietly looking to an area it went to with no luck. Images were taken on January 12, 2019.

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Binomial name: Aegolius acadicus

Category: Typical Owls

Size: 8” long, 17” wing span

Weight: 2.8 oz

Cool facts: Smallest owl in North America with a cat like face that is highly nocturnal and seldom seen.

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Great Horned Owls paired up in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on January 20, 2019

Doing some general birding today I came across a pair of Great Horned Owls out catching some sun in Milwaukee County. It was one of the cold winter days just after some freshly fallen snow with plenty of sunshine, very little wind. It made for a pleasant day for birding. Image was taken on January 20, 2019.

American Robin enjoying the sunshine in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on January 10, 2019

While out birding I came across a flock of American Robins in Milwaukee County enjoying the sunshine and finding things to eat. It was cold morning with temps in the teens and a stiff winds out of the west, and partly cloudy. Image was taken on January 10, 2019

American Robin standing next to a tree out of the wind…

Hooded Merganser at the Fox River in Waukesha on January 1, 2019

I did some general birding on the first of the new year and it was pretty quiet. The highlight of the day was a Hooded Merganser, some say it’s “Hollyhood”! Some birding on the Milwaukee lakefront produced an adult Iceland Gull at South Shore Yacht Club. That was about it for birds to note on a very cold morning with temps around 20 and stiff winds from the west, it was cloudy. Images were taken on January 1, 2019.

Hooded Merganser, male

Wet head, just after some head dipping…

Iceland Gull in flight, note white wing tips at the South Shore Yacht Club…

Wisconsin birding, the year in review 2018. Includes vagrants, special visitors or just the beautiful birds that either nest here or migrate through the state of Wisconsin.

I have put together a collection of some of the Wisconsin birding moments from the year 2018. The collection includes vagrants, special visitors, or just the beautiful birds that nest here or migrate through the state of Wisconsin. All images were taken in 2018. It was a very exciting year with the birds and also birding with some old birding friends and meeting some new ones, too. Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen. When putting this post together, once again, it amazes me what birds were seen this year here in Wisconsin!

Common Redpoll at Grant Park in Milwaukee County on January 6, 2018

Red-breasted Nuthatch at Grant Park in Milwaukee County on January 6, 2018

Long-eared Owl in Milwaukee County on January 8, 2018

Red-bellied Woodpecker, male at Grant Park in Milwaukee County on January 12, 2018

Red-bellied Woodpecker, female at Grant Park in Milwaukee County on January 12, 2018

Greater Scaup, male at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on January 14, 2018

Greater Scaup, female at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on  January 14, 2018

Common Redpoll at Grant Park in Milwaukee County on January 16, 2018

Eastern Screech Owl, grey morph in Milwaukee County on January 17, 2018

Eastern Screech Owl, grey morph in Milwaukee County on January 17, 2018

Glaucous Gull, 1st cycle at Johnson Creek in Jefferson County on January 18, 2018

Red Crossbill, male eating cone seeds on a spruce tree at Grant Park in Milwaukee County on January 21, 2018

Red Crossbills, male (red), 2 females (yellow-green) on a spruce tree at Grant Park in Milwaukee County on January 21, 2018

Northern Saw-whet Owl in Milwaukee County on January 19, 2018.

Northern Saw-whet Owl in Milwaukee County on January 19, 2018

Northern Saw-whet Owl in Milwaukee County on January 19, 2018

Townsend’s Solitaire perched pretty at the UW Arboretum in Madison in Dane County on January 31, 2018

Belted Kingfisher fishing in Waukesha County on February 8, 2018

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph at Grant Park in Milwaukee County on February 12, 2018

Eastern Screech Owl, grey morph at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on February 14, 2018

Clark’s Nutcracker, a very rare visitor to the state in Oneida County on February 17, 2018. Last known state record was said to be 45 years ago.

Clark’s Nutcracker, a very rare visitor to the state in Oneida County on February 17, 2018

Clark’s Nutcracker, a very rare visitor to the state with White-tailed Deer fat in Oneida County on February 17, 2018

Barred Owl in Milwaukee County on February 18, 2018

American Robin getting a grip on the berry before eating at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on February 22, 2018

White-winged Scoter, male at the South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee County on February 25,2018

Common Goldeneye at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on February 25, 2018

Long-tailed Duck, female at Bender Park in Milwaukee County on February 26, 2018

The Long-tailed Duck just up from a dive, female at Bender Park in Milwaukee County on February 26, 2018

Hooded Merganser, male with the wind blowing at Frame Park in Waukesha on February 27, 2018

Laughing Gull, wet head just after some bathing at Port Washington in Ozaukee County on February 28, 2018

Laughing Gull, incoming to the beach area at Port Washington in Ozaukee County on February 28, 2018

Snowy Owl at the Lake Express in Milwaukee County on March 8, 2018

Red-winged Blackbird calling at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on March 4, 2018

Killdeer in Milwaukee County on March 8, 2018

The Snow Goose, juvenile at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on March 9, 2018

The Snow Goose, juvenile along with a Canada Goose at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on March 9, 2018

Eastern Screech Owl in Milwaukee County on March 10, 2018

American Robin tossing the worm around, checking if it was still alive at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on March 12, 2018

Black-capped Chickadee eating some Staghorn Sumac seeds at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on March 19, 2018

Great Horned Owl in the spotlight in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on March 23, 2018

Horned Grebe on the Fox River in Waukesha County on April 1, 2018

Hooded Merganser on the Fox River in Waukesha County on April 8, 2018

Hooded Merganser on the Fox River in Waukesha County on April 8, 2018

Pied-billed Grebe at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on April 10, 2018

Fox Sparrow, yard bird in Waukesha County on April 15, 2018

Brown Thrasher enjoying some bird seed in the yard in Waukesha County on April 15, 2018

Long-tailed Duck, male at McKinley Marina in Milwaukee County on April 16, 2018

Long-tailed Duck, male at McKinley Marina in Milwaukee County April 16, 2018

Bonaparte’s Gulls at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee County on April 16, 2018

American Woodcock with mud on the bill from probing through the snow for things to eat at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on April 17, 2018

American Woodcock at takeoff, at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on April 17, 2018

Caspian Tern at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee County on April 17, 2018

Northern Flicker eating Staghorn Sumac seeds at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on April 17, 2018

Northern Flicker eating Staghorn Sumac seeds at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on April 17, 2018

Ruddy Duck, male at the Fox River in Waukesha County on April 18, 2018

Great Egrets looking for a place to perch at Humboldt Park in Milwaukee County on April 19, 2018

Red-throated Loon nearing breeding plumage at McKinley Marina in Milwaukee County on April 20, 2018

Lincoln’s Sparrow at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on April 23, 2018

White-throated Sparrow at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on April 24, 2018

Great Horned Owl, adult female in Milwaukee County on April 27, 2018

The 3 Great Horned Owlets in Milwaukee County on April 27, 2018

Eastern Screech-Owl, grey morph resting peacefully in a natural cavity in Milwaukee County on April 29, 2018

Black-throated Green Warbler at the Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County on May 2, 2018

Blackpoll Warbler at the Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County on May 2, 2018

Magnolia Warbler at the Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County on May 2, 2018

Northern Waterthrush at the Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County on May 2, 2018

Eastern Bluebird, sitting pretty in Marquette County on May 3, 2018

Palm Warbler at Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County on May 2, 2018

American Avocets, 11 of them at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on May 5, 2018

American Avocet at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on May 5, 2018

American Avocets, one feeding, two resting at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on May 5, 2018

American Avocet coming in for a landing at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on May 5, 2018

Swainson’s Thrush at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on May 6, 2018

Yellow Warbler at the Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County on May 6, 2018

Wilson’s Warbler at the Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County on May 6, 2018

Common Yellowthroat Warbler at Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County on May 6, 2018

Chestnut-sided Warbler at Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County on May 6, 2018

Yellow-throated Vireo in Marquette County on May 7, 2018

Sora at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on May 7, 2018

American Avocets 11, Willets 8, they made a brief stop at Lakeshore State Park as I was doing a walk through, they had been previously seen also on the 5th of May, on May 7, 2018

Prothonotary Warbler with a gnat in the bill at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha County 0n May 9, 2018

Cape May Warbler at Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha County on May 9, 2018

Blackburnian Warbler at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on May 10, 2018

Willets at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on May 11, 2018

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on May 11, 2018

Magnolia Warbler at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha County on May 13, 2018

Northern Parula at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha County on May 13, 2018

American Redstart, male at the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha County on May 13, 2018

Chipping Sparrow in Marquette County on May 17, 2018

Western Tanager, male on a foggy morning at the Lion’s Den in Ozaukee County on May 22, 2018

Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Wehr Nature Center on May 25, 2018

American White Pelican at North Point Park in Sheboygan on May 29, 2018

American White Pelicans off the rock point at North Point Park in Sheboygan on May 29, 2018

Bobolink, male at the Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha County on May 29, 2018

Bobolink, female at the Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha County on May 29, 2018

Great Blue Heron eating a Goldfish at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on June 8, 2018

Red-headed Woodpecker leaving the nest hole after feeding young in Marquette County on June 11, 2018

Red-headed Woodpecker bringing insects to the young in a nest hole in Marquette County on June 11, 2018

Great Blue Heron perched pretty at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on July 3, 2018

Green Heron stalking its next meal at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on July 3, 2018

Mallard, duckling at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on July 3, 2018

Eastern Kingbird adult, middle, with young just leaving the nest at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on July 7, 2018

Great Blue Heron with a bite to eat at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on July 7, 2018

American Crow, albino at Nashotah Park in Waukesha County on July 7, 2018

American Crow, albino, at Nashotah Park in Waukesha County on July 7, 2018

American Crow, albino, one happy family at Nashotah Park in Waukesha County on July 7, 2018

Wood Duck, 2-3 month old female at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on July 7, 2018

Great Egret rookery high in the tree tops in Waukesha County on July 19, 2018

Cedar Waxwing at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on July 21, 2018

Great Blue Heron, eyeing up something to eat along the shore at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on July 24, 2018

Great Blue Heron, right before the gulp at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on July 24, 2018

Black-crowned Night-Heron, the reflection at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on July 30, 2018

Great Blue Heron, in coming at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on August 3, 2018

Green Heron attempts to eat a Bullfrog, but just a young bird could not get it down, at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on August 4, 2018

Great Egret with wings spread at the Menominee River Parkway in Milwaukee County on August 12, 2018

Great Egret landing at the Menominee River Parkway in Milwaukee County on August 12, 2018

Sandhill Crane, grass on the bill, just finished eating in the South Kettle Moraine Waukesha County on August 17, 2018

Osprey circling over the pond in search of food at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on August 18, 2018

Sanderling with something to eat at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee County on August 22, 2018

Lesser Yellowlegs in search of food at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee County on August 22, 2018

Semipalmated Plover lays on the sand trying to be flat and unnoticed as a predator must be around, it does this for about 10 seconds and I see its eyes look up on occasion at at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee County on August 22, 2018

Semipalmated Plover at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee County on August 22, 2018

Least Sandpiper at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee County on August 22, 2018

Black-crowned Night-Heron, juvenile at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on August 24, 2018

Black-crowned Night-Heron, juvenile, out drops the pellet at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on August 24, 2018

Black-crowned Night-Heron, juvenile with a vole at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on August 24, 2018

Baird’s Sandpiper resting at McKinley Beach on August 25, 2018

Spotted Sandpiper at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on August 25, 2018

Piping Plovers, it was said to be odd to see this bird not banded, looking pretty at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee County on August 29, 2018

Piping Plovers, it was said to be odd to see thes birds not banded, two of them at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee County on August 29, 2018

Piping Plover, the portrait in early morning sun at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee County on August 29, 2018

Red-tailed Hawk high in a tree on the lookout for something to eat at Bender Park in Milwaukee County on August 31, 2018

Great Blue Heron scuffle at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on September 2, 2018

Pectoral Sandpiper at Veterans Park in Milwaukee County on September 4, 2018

Pectoral Sandpiper, the close-up at Veterans Park in Milwaukee County on September 4, 2018

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, in the yard enjoying nectar from Bottle Gentian in Waukesha County on September 9, 2018

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, hovering near Bottle Gentian in Waukesha County on September 9, 2018

Red Knot, a rare visitor, this juvenile bird posing nicely at Racine North Beach in Racine County on September 11, 2018

Red Knot, the close-up, juvenile at Racine North Beach in Racine County on September 11, 2018

Sailbirding, the start of a new adventure in birding, that is birding from a sailboat and monitoring part of the breakwall habitat designed by the Army Corp of Engineering along with UWM on the Milwaukee lakefront. A fun time with great birders and friends, Sailor Carl Eisenberg, Jennifer Born Rutten, Marilyn B at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center in Milwaukee County on September 12, 2018

A Black-bellied Plover, a nice bird species seen on the breakwall while Sailbirding on the Milwaukee lakefront on September 12, 2018

Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Whitnall Park in Milwaukee County on September 14, 2018

Sanderling moving along the shoreline in search of food at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee County on September 19, 2018

Sanderling with something in the bill to eat at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee County on September 19, 2018

Sanderling with something to eat at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee County on September 19, 2018

Green Heron perched, waiting for something to come by to eat at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee County on September 19, 2018

Green Heron with something to eat at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee County on September 19, 2018

Red-tailed Hawk watching Raccoons below on a tree branch sleeping at Lake Park in Milwaukee County on September 24, 2018

Black-bellied Plover walking along the beach at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on September 27, 2018

Black-bellied Plover, the close-up, at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on September 27, 2018

Red-winged Blackbird, female eating Big Bluestem seeds at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on September 27, 2018

It was another Sailbirding adventure out to breakwall to monitor bird species with Sailors Carl Eisenberg and Helen Bolgrien and birders Jennifer Born Rutten, Ann Lowrey, Jym Mooney and myself at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center in Milwaukee County on September 28, 2018

Ruddy Turnstone, a nice bird species seen on the breakwall while Sailbirding on the Milwaukee lakefront on September 28, 2018

American Pipit searching the beach area for things to eat at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee County on October 5, 2018

Cackling Goose in the front, Canada Goose in the back at Veteran’s Park in Milwaukee County on October 5, 2018

It was another Sailbirding adventure out to breakwall to monitor bird species with Sailors Carl Eisenberg and Helen Bolgrien and birders Jennifer Born Rutten, Drew Shuster, Jym Mooney and myself at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center in Milwaukee County on October 12, 2018

Lesser Black-backed Gull found on the breakwall while Sailbirding on the Milwaukee lakefront on October 12, 2018

Dunlin at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on October 19, 2018

The Dunlin, the close-up at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on October 19, 2018

Cooper’s Hawk bathing at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on October 22, 2018

Snow Goose, blue morph with a bill full of grass at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on October 22, 2018

Snow Goose, blue morph coming in for a landing at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee County on October 22, 2018

Snow Buntings in search of seeds at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee County on October 23, 2018

Snow Buntings eating seeds at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee County on October 23, 2018

Red-bellied Woodpecker in Marquette County on November 9, 2018

White-breasted Nuthatch in Marquette County on November 17, 2018

Tundra Swans at Grobschmidt Park in Milwaukee County on November 11, 2018

The Rufous Hummingbird in Fox Point in Milwaukee County on November 12, 2018

American Kestrel at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on November 13, 2018

A sleeping Eastern Screech Owl, gray morph at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee County on November 14, 2018

Hooded Merganser, male at the Fox River in Waukesha County on November 24, 2018

Wild Turkey displaying at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee County on November 30, 2018

A Wild Turkey perched high up in a tree near a ravine at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee County on November 30, 2018

Long-tailed Duck, female at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee County on December 3, 2018

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph in Milwaukee County on December 10, 2018

Hammond’s Flycatcher, a very rare visitor to the state in Iowa County on December 11, 2018. The first Wisconsin record of this species.

Long-eared Owl in Wisconsin on December 14, 2018

Great Horned Owl in Milwaukee County on December 16, 2018

Eastern Screech Owl, grey morph with blood on the bill at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee County on December 17, 2018

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph in Milwaukee County on December 17, 2018

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph in Milwaukee County on December 17, 2018

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph in Milwaukee County on December 18, 2018

Long-tailed Duck, female at McKinley Marina on December 28, 2018

Mourning Dove, leucistic, a yard bird in Waukesha County on December 29, 2018

Screech Owl, grey morph seen on a bird walk at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee County on December 31, 2018

Leucistic Mourning Dove, a yard bird in Waukesha County on December 29, 2018

Just as I was ready to leave the house for birding this morning, something outside caught my eye. 3 Mourning Doves had just landed in a tree near the feeders and one was leucistic. It dropped down to one of the feeders and started eating seeds. What a nice surprise it was! After only a couple of minutes a Gray Squirrel dropped down to another feeder and flushed the 3 doves away. I found it interesting that Mourning Doves frequent the yard daily, usually 3-8 is common. I would assume they are typically the same birds, why would you think differently. I found out this is not true as this leucistic bird has never been seen here before. I hung around a while but the bird did not return. All images were shot through a window. Images were taken on December 29, 2018.

Mourning Dove, leucistic

With seed in the bill…

Comes down from the tree branch and looks at the feeder from above…

Takes a peek at the seed on the feeder…

Looks at all the good things to eat in the feeder…Interesting, one tan tail feather and one white tail feather!

What is Leucism?  Leucism is an uncommon condition in birds.  This condition is caused by a genetic mutation which prevents pigments, particularly melanin, from being deposited evenly in the bird’s feathers.  Leucistic birds have melanin elsewhere in their bodies which is why they may have dark eyes, legs, and bills.  However, their true color will be missing or greatly reduced due to the lack of proper pigmentation.

What is Albinism? Leucism is similar to albinism as in both cases the birds may be completely white.  However, albinism is defined as a complete absence of melanin in an animal.  Truly albino species will have pink eyes as the only color seen will be caused by blood vessels behind their eyes.  They will also have pink bills, legs, and feet.  Albinism is extremely rare in birds.

Notes: Leucistic birds are extremely uncommon for a number of reasons.  They are not thought to live very long because their white feathers make it difficult for them to hide from predators.  If they do stay alive, it is difficult for them to find a mate and successfully pass on their genetic mutation.  Additionally, the melanin found in regular birds adds strength to the feathers.  Leucistic birds lacking melanin have weaker feathers and thus have a more difficult time flying in severe weather.  Last, the reflective properties of white feathers may be problematic for birds who rely on solar energy for heat.

Eastern Screech Owls, 4 in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on December 17-18, 2018

While out birding the last couple of days I have come across 4 Eastern Screech Owls. These beautiful owls were all found in deciduous trees with the natural cavities facing to the south or southwest. It appeared they were all out in the cavity opening soaking up the warm sun with the nice warm December weather we are having. The 1st image is the Eastern Screech Owl, grey morph that has been seen almost regularly,  but not always at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee. The other 3 were also taken in Milwaukee County.

Eastern Screech Owl, grey morph #1 with blood on the bill from a recent meal at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph #2

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph #3

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph #4

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph #4

Hammond’s Flycatcher in Iowa County Wisconsin on December 11, 2018

A report of a Hammond’s Flycatcher in Iowa County put me in the chase mode. The bird was reported on Sunday, but I put off the run until today, Tuesday with other things going. This bird is a very rare visitor to the state of Wisconsin being a western US-Canadian bird. Going in the Wisconsin record books as a 1st state record of this species. Mark K joined me for the trip out to Iowa County and we arrived at the reported location about 7:20 am with no other birders around. About 7:40 am the bird flew over us crossing the road and landed in a deciduous tree near the road. We both confirmed at that time that that was the bird we had been waiting for. After a few seconds the bird dropped down at a creek bed and we never really seen where it went. About 10:15 am, the bird reappeared and gave nice looks but far off the road perched in a tree for about 30 seconds, now about 18 other birders were present. It was a very exciting moment if you were there! The bird disappeared again and we left after about 20 minutes. Thanks to Edgar for finding this rare bird and getting the word out for others to try for it. A great time out with other birders and bird #341 on my Wisconsin state life list. It was a chilly morning with temps about 12 degrees, no wind, the sun showed after a couple of hours with all the valleys around. Image was taken on December 11, 2018.

Hammond’s Flycatcher

Binomial name: Empidonax hammondii

Category: Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies

Size: 5.5” long,8.75” wing span

Weight: .35 Oz.

Note: A rare visitor to the state of Wisconsin as the normal range for this species is the western US and Canada.

Eastern Screech Owl in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on December 10, 2018

Nice to see this Eastern Screech Owl in Milwaukee County while out birding. The owl gave nice views but never opened its eyes while I was there. Just looking cozy up in a natural cavity. It was a beautiful morning out with plenty of sunshine and mild temps. Images were taken on December 10, 2018.

Eastern Screech Owl, red morph