The American Goldfinch stands out with its bright yellow coloring in Spring and Summer. The rest of the year, when they are not breeding, their colors are more subdued, even drab, although they still remain very cute.
Another ubiquitous bird is the Red-winged Blackbird.
The female Red-winged Blackbird does not have that red and yellow patch on her wings.
In the fall, Red-winged Blackbirds often join with European Starlings to form flocks of birds that roam through refuges, importuning even Bald Eagles.
The smaller birds temporarily took over a favorite perch of the Bald Eagles at Blackwater NWR.
Finallly, many flocks of Canada Geese flew over the non-migrating Bald Eagle.
Weatherwise, Spring is late this year with temperatures around the freezing mark, but otherwise it is already here for the birds, ducks, and geese. Spring is breeding season for them, and nature can’t wait. Today, I saw what is likely a courtship ritual between two Canada Geese at the refuge. It went on for about three minutes before the pair swam off together into the sunrise.
Geese form beautiful skeins when they fly, and capturing them in flight is irresistible to most photographers. A few days ago, I was fortunate enough to see both Snow Geese and Canada Geese in V formation heading along on their Spring migration paths.
Yesterday, near the beginning of Wildlife Drive at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, I saw Canada Geese and Snowy Egrets sharing a small area of the pond. I stopped for a few minutes to take pictures of the egrets.
Suddenly a cacophony of honking and water splashing rose up. I turned my camera in the geese direction and shot the following photos. What happened was that a gander was trying to invade the turf of another who had a female goose by his side. If you don’t like violence, don’t look at the following shots.
When calm returned, he escorted her out of the area.
Meanwhile the other gander put up some face-saving moves.
Then he had to cool off his hot face.
Last June while waiting for the Tall Ships to sail into Philadelphia harbor, I heard a lot of wings flapping and water splashes to my right. There were three kids feeding bread, probably their half-eaten sandwiches, to Canada Geese and gulls. So here’s how it looked.
Pictured below are a pair of Canada geese sleeping at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. The male goose was balanced perfectly on one foot to preserve body heat, and to stand guard over his female companion.
I am not positive, but I think he slept with one eye open.