The Bald Eagle is one of the most majestic birds to observe and photograph. They are impressive with a wingspan up to 7 feet and the female is normally larger than the male. They are monogamous and mate for life. They breed only once a year and together build an enormous nest that can weigh a ton which they come back to and use year after year. Bald Eagles can live for as long as 25-30 years! They are regal and beautiful. The Eagle’s talons are around 2 inches long, but their strength comes from their leg muscles and tendons. The Bald Eagle can exert as much as 1000 pounds of pressure per square inch! Those talons are the last thing many fish get to see.
These Black-Bellied Whistling-Ducks are beautiful and fun to observe as they live their lives. They “whistle” as they fly by with a high-pitched noisy sound. They have sharp claws that allow them to nest in tree cavities like Wood Ducks and are sometimes called Tree Ducks. Black-Bellied Whistling-ducks are monogamous and share the duties of creating a nest, incubating their eggs and raising their young. They are so colorful and cheerful, it’s hard not to smile when you see them!
The Sandhill Crane in flight is an awesome sight. These birds are large with very long legs and they fly with their legs straight out behind. I photographed this Adult Sandhill at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. The Sandhill Cranes gather in enormous flocks in winter and forage for grain on many of the open grasslands and cornfields. They regularly use this National Wildlife Refuge as their wintering grounds. The vast numbers of Cranes are an impressive sight.
I sat in my backyard with my camera, hoping an interesting subject would arrive. Suddenly this Female Pileated Woodpecker landed on a tree in the dense forest behind my house. I watched and waited for her to fly, but when she did ultimately fly, the light was too dim in the forest to capture an image. Pileated Woodpeckers don’t migrate so I expect she will return to this same tree. I will wait!
I heard this Carolina Wren singing and discovered it perched in my driveway! It let me squat down and not merely take its portrait but also experience a Serenade in my Driveway. They have a lovely repertoire of songs. These little round birds are common here in North Carolina but rarely sit out in the open and sing. I concluded he or she was serenading me in my driveway because he allowed me to sit next to him and continued to sing.