Saturday, July 5, 2014

Summer Wind

Female hummingbird feeding her young one day before it fledged or left the nest. After each feeding the nestling hopped onto the rim of the lichen covered nest and began to practice flying by revving its wings while remaining on the nest.

 Here is a juvenile Cooper's hawk feeding on a fresh kill brought in by the adult female (just out of frame) which was perching directly above the immature bird. I was not able to identify the bird prey to species...Maybe somebody out there can...

Friday, May 23, 2014


Olive oil. Cod. Salt. Lemon. Diced jalepeno. Bread crumbs. Scallions. Oven. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Cuckoo Food

The eastern tent caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) works in massive family groups of up to 300 siblings to form thier large protective silken tents. 
The caterpillars are the larval stage of a snout moth which is strickly nocturnal. The adult moths lay their egg masses on Prunus trees. The newly hatched larvae work together to construct their tent. They emerge from their silk barrier three times a day to feed on the cyanide rich Prunus leaves. The cyanide is imparted to the caterpillars making them unpalatable to nearly all would be predators. However, cuckoos are know to slurp down the hairy cyanide ridden larvae. This sparks my curiosity as to how the cuckoos are able to metabolize  the enzyme inhibitor while most other can't. 

On another note, a prairie warbler was seen twirling up a nice portion of the tent around its bill, presumably to use for nest building. 

Gros Oaks

May is a phenomenal month. The Wind blows from the SW and the Sun is now well north of the Equator. The increasingly direct insolation primes the area for flowers, insects, and birds galore.  Most sources indicate that oak trees are Wind pollinated (anemophilous), but below is some evidence that shows other modes of pollination are also in use. 
Here is a rose-breasted grosbeak that is stuffing its mega beak with white oak catkins. This male was seen at Forest Park, Queens County. He was jumping from branch to branch eating the strings of male flowers. He was also seen chomping up American sycamore samaras (2nd photo below).  Both the white oak and American sycamore are native trees that are part of a bigger picture. Keeping in mind how much habitat we have usurped, please consider planting natives when landscaping. 

American sycamore samaras hanging.