American White Pelican


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The beautiful  American White Pelican is one of our largest birds in North American. They have a NINE and a half foot wingspan and can weigh 15 or more pounds!  This breeding adult is soaring in flight.  The adult breeding colors include the yellow chest feathers and the yellow plate on it’s upper bill which it loses after breeding. Despite their strong flight abilities, they are very awkward on land. I was surprised to learn that they migrate, only spending winters in Florida.  In the summer this beauty travels to the interior of Western Canada and the North Western US, where they breed and form colonies on fresh water lakes.  It was a treat getting to view this breeding adult as the group prepared to travel north from Florida

sandra calderbank
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Arctic Tern Adults

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The adult Arctic Tern breed and nest mostly in the Arctic but fortunately a few breed and nest on Machias Seal Island. They have beautiful breeding colors with bright red beaks and feet. These Terns mate for life and have the longest migrations of any animal, sometimes with a round trip of 40-50,000 miles. They nest on the ground and are fiercely defensive of their nests and chicks. These two were aggressively defending their chicks and will peck you on the head if they think you are too close to their nest or chicks!

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Purple Martins

Male Purple Martin with dragonfly
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I have always thought Purple Martins (you know the birds that live in the hollowed out gourds) ate tons of mosquitos! Recently on a trip to Plum Island National Wildlife Refuge I spotted someone carefully cleaning the Purple Martin nests. After asking her multiple questions, I learned a lot about these beautiful birds. They DO eat mosquitoes but that is only about 1-2% of their diet. Purple Martins feed mostly on dragonflies! They feed on the fly, meaning they eat and catch food while flying.   Mosquitos  typically live close to the ground. The Purple Martins  don't fly at night which is when mosquitos are active. I was certainly surprised to learn this fact.  They are extremely acrobatic, beautiful birds and I have come to appreciate them much more even though they don't really eat mosquitos.

Female Purple Martin hovering in flight
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Sandra Calderbank
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Blue-Crowned Parakeets

Pair of Blue-crowned parakeets
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Sandy-in-Alaska-100x-100While in Florida a friend took me to see the "green parakeets" in Melbourne. These birds are native to South America and I have no idea how they established themselves in South Florida, but they are very interesting, beautiful and social creatures. They are also VERY loud!
Blue-crowned prarakeet
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Sandra Calderbank
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Long-Billed Thrasher

Long-Billed Thrasher in puddle
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Sandy-in-Alaska-100x-1001This Long-Billed Thrasher conveniently took a very long bath in front of my lens while I was in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. This is a new species for me, I thought it was a Brown Thrasher. These beautiful birds only live in southern Texas and Eastern Mexico. I feel very fortunate to have had this wonderful show!
sandra calderbank
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That’s One Lucky Bug!

Tree Swallow attempting to feed nestling
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Sandy-in-Alaska-100x-100An Adult Tree Swallow came frequently to feed insects to this nestling. This time the bug got away!
Sandra Calderbank
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Birdbath

Female Northern Cardinal birdbath
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Sandy-in-Alaska-100x-1004This Female Northern Cardinal is busy bathing and splashing in a puddle. She is vigorously cleaning her feathers and splashing water. This image was taken in April during mating season so maybe she is primping for a date?
Sandra Calderbank
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Bewick’s Wren

Bewick's Wren
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Sandy-in-Alaska-100x-100I watched this beautiful little wren gather nesting material and proceed to build a nest inside a metal grain feeder for deer! It seemed incongruous for this little hard worker to build a nest in such a place but I guess a home is a home.
Bewick's Wren perched in thorns
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Sandra Calderbank
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Green Jay Reflection

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Sandy-in-Alaska-100x-1003This gregarious, colorful, tropical bird looks like a cartoon character! I found this one in South Texas, drinking from a puddle with the water dripping off it’s beak. It occasionally stopped and looked at it’s reflection in the water puddle.
Sandra Calderbank
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Swallow-Tailed “Stealth”

Swallow-Tailed Kite in flight
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Sandy-in-Alaska-100x-1002This Swallow-Tailed Kite soars in silently and seems to appear out of thin air and disappears just as silently. I have learned it is because this striking bird of prey, rarely flaps it's wings. It changes directions as it swoops in the air overhead by rotating it's tail feathers!
sandra calderbank
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