Friday May 05, 2017
Your best bird picture gallery
Inspired by the year of birdwatching Kyo Maclear wrote about in her memoir Birds, Art, Life, we asked you to send us your best bird photos - and did you ever! Many of you also told us moving stories to accompany the photos.
We'd like to thank everyone for participating and are happy to be able to share your stories and photos in this gallery.
Photo 1: Bohemian waxwing in an apple orchard Summerland, British Columbia.
Photo 2: Calliope hummingbird enjoying a Zinnia in my garden in Summerland, British Columbia.
This Great blue heron was busy in flight, building a nest. It was taken on April 17, 2017 in the Vernon rookery which is now protected under a covenant for as long as they nest and habitat there.
Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
I have been a birder since I was 12 (in 1942). I have never known a bored birder. Everywhere a person goes there are birds to check out. Instead of travelling as a regular tourist, making birds the focus can take you to places and experiences that provide unique adventures. Joining a group of birders connects you with people from different walks of life who are focused on other living things. In a refreshing way it gets you out of yourself. My wife Birgit and I have feeders outside our bedroom window (featured here in a painting) as well as our kitchen and studio. At home and away birds add pleasure to our lives.
This first picture is of an Osprey. This particular bird nests every year atop a power pole near Bridgenorth, Ontario. The second picture is more domestic. We live in a real life lake house in Gooderham, Ontario. It’s a log cabin built in the lake on stilts which was its local nickname for a while. Each year we get a great many swallows nesting under the building. The chicks are very demanding and here is a feeding. This picture was taken through our kitchen window. The birds were about a meter away. Our year is filled with birds of all kinds and we delight in them.
We have had many bird moments but few have been captured with a camera. The juvenile Yellow-shafted flicker sunning on the play structure in our backyard is a favourite. The bird is so relaxed it appears to be napping.
In 2015, we stopped to stretch our legs on route for the ferry to Kangaroo Island and I was enchanted with this Australian cormorant sunning itself in Goowla, along the Murray River in South Australia. My weariness from a long day in the car vanished in the quiet we shared.
Loon chick taken on Negeek Lake, Combermere.
Cape Breton Island
Gabriola Island, British Columbia
This is a male Anna's hummingbird at my feeder on Gabriola Island. It was taken by my son, Ian Hoag, who spends much of his days in the tree-tops of Prince George where he is employed as an arborist. Years ago in Ontario, in order to fulfil a promise I made to my mother before she passed away from the effects of Parkinson's, Ian and I spent 2 hours with our pilot floating over the Oak Ridges Moraine in a hot-air balloon. I had asked my mother when she was first diagnosed what she wanted more than anything in the world and that if it were possible I would get it for her. She replied that she wished she could rise up and float above the pain and sadness that surrounded her and the ones she loved then.
Following her death and after considerable thought Ian and I made the trip. As we drifted with the wind, soundless except for the requisite gusts of heat to keep the balloon aloft above the oak trees and fields, I finally knew how a Snowy owl felt, down from the tundra, scanning the land below for prey and how a hummingbird saw familiar territory after a winter in the south. As my mother had wished for herself, I had risen for a short while above the mundane concerns of those forever denied the magic of flight.
Rudy Zubler Jr.
On a private group tour to southern Peru ten years ago precisely, we visited the now-famous Colca Canyon, a contender for deepest chasm above sea level, and home to the increasingly rare Condor, sacred bird of the Inca. The seemingly motionless elegance of the soaring giant above the vertiginous canyon, lets me meditate on the fact that while the hollow bones, the shapes of the feathers, the powerful muscles and the updraft do the physical part, it is in reality the Condor's finely tuned and instantly responsive sense of balance that keeps him aloft in the treacherous air currents at altitudes of 4 km above sea level and more. Could this be the way we need to repay our debt to Life - to learn how to fly ?
Vancouver, British Columbia
Here's a Chinese pheasant we just saw at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth park in Vancouver. I also couldn't resist sending a lovely colourful Wood duck from the Reifel bird sanctuary outside of Vancouver.
False Creek, British Columbia
This little guy is a regular visitor to our garden in the spring and summer. He's a Sharp-shinned hawk.
Sean La Rose
This is my partner and I sharing some time with a “tamed raptor” (unsure of the species). The photos were taken in February of this year atop a paraglider launch site near the town of Tapalpa in Jalisco, Mexico.
Roy T. Bowles
I noticed the nest early. Spent time approaching the nest calmly and talking to the robin sitting on it. When the young hatched I put up a step ladder so I could see into the nest. I photographed with a long lens. It was an experience of solace with birds.
Taken in Cuba this past week in Cayo Coco.
My wife received treatment for kidney cancer at City of Hope medical research center last year and is entering a drug trial with hope of countering the metastasis of the cancer in her lungs. During scanning and treatment sessions during which I could not accompany her, I went for walks for purposes of both exercise and birdwatching. I saw sparrows, mockingbirds, crows, even goldfinches -- but then one day I got a glimpse of four birds I did not recognize. By the time I got my camera ready, only one was left in the tree top where they all had perched. It was the Red-whiskered bulbul, an Asian bird the exotic pet trade had brought to North America. They have become established in spots in Southern California and in Florida.
Photo1: Chickadee just having a snack
Christmas day, 2015
Photo2: American robin
Sydney, Nova Scotia, 2016
It's a long story but here goes. A couple of years ago a pair of Mourning doves decided to nest on a shelf in the shop. They were undaunted and really trusting of the workers and the noise. Every now and then we would talk softly and to them and move slowly if we had to retrieve or place something the shelving unit. They remained undaunted. Together this pair hatched two balls of feathers. Even after they hatched and were able to fly they never really left. They moved on the ground always under foot, not tame but not threatened by us. One day I was working on a carburetor at my workbench, something landed on my head, I just knew (don't ask me why) it was a bird so I didn't flinch but let it get comfortable. Well it did, because it was there for about 15 minutes. I didn't remain still but moved from one building to another and back to my bench all the while this bird remained quite comfortable perched on my head. On it's own and on it's own time it flew away.
The gull pics were taken in and around the harbour. The swan was photographed along the Humber River trail near my home. I was tempted to include a pic of The Snowbirds but don't think they qualify.
Vancouver, British Columbia
My name is Merle which in Canadian French means robin (see our old $2 bill). In Europe it is an all over blackbird, cousin to ours. Needless to say I have a great affinity to all birds. Especially black. Crows passing by Main & 7th in Vancouver
I took this picture at Riverside Park in Guelph on April 18. These are male Mergansers lunching.
This was taken at Miller Lake, Ontario behind the cottage where my gal, Michelle, has several feeders. As you can see, they’ve taken quite a liking to her! No fear! It’s a chickadee I believe and I entitled the photo, “Snow White of the North”.
The Glossy ibis was taken at Myakka River State Park, Florida, March, 2017 and the Carolina wren was taken in St Joseph's Peninsula State Park, Florida, March, 2015.
I took this picture of a baby American kestrel outside of the West End YMCA in Toronto.
Laura Jean Wilde
Warwick Township, Ontario
I was blessed to see this unusual bird at my feeders this winter and spring in Warwick Township in southern Ontario, a Leucistic dark eyed junco.
Eagles and Blue jays in Islandview New Brunswick
I live in Vancouver, but hide out from the West coast rain forest in Palm Harbor Florida. Here’s a mama Sandhill crane and her chick. I stopped my bike and they were nonchalantly undisturbed 20 feet away. I love the birds in Florida.
The first is a Cooper's hawk who had just brought down a pigeon, and seemed to be deciding on whether to have lunch at my picnic table. She almost looked like she was waiting for someone to come and fire up the BBQ. She ultimately flew off with it and ate it raw somewhere else. I often see Cooper's hawks in my backyard, and it always thrills me to see such gorgeous birds hunting in an urban environment... except when Coco, my Cherry-headed conure (second photo) was outdoors with me. She was fully flighted and loved being outside, but would keep an eye out for birds of prey. Sadly, she died last year, at the relatively young age of 20. I am really not a great photographer, so these photos are not artfully shot, but they catch the moments, at least for me!
This is my grandfather with a bird in Arizona (I think). My maternal grandparents were enthusiastic bird watchers. They travelled to many destinations for the purpose of seeing birds and they spent their free time in the outdoors in order to be around nature where the birds lived. I've always loved these photos and how gently my grandfather is holding this bird.
These robins are a family that nested on the lampshade above my back door in the west end of Sudbury, Ontario last July, 2016. The nest was left from the previous year and had been used by two consecutive families in the summer of 2015. I was able to get up on a ladder and get very close to the babies, much to the loud consternation of the parents. But the family pictured here outgrew their nest and were jammed in. The last time I climbed the ladder to photograph them, they panicked and jumped – not flew – out of the nest. They fell to the ground and ran away. I tried to catch a couple of them and put them back but they jumped again – a drop of about 10 feet. I was horrified but not as much as their mother who called and squawked for hours afterward. I don’t know if any of them lived. They were just about, but not quite, ready to fly. The nest remains above my door and I vow to be more careful with my observations this year, if another family comes to live there.
This was taken in mid October, 2016 in a Siberian crabapple tree that serves as food for birds. During this snow storm many robins and other birds almost stripped the tree of berries, usually the berries last until spring and waxwings enjoy them then.
Here is a Pileated woodpecker in my yard in Garson MB
The photo is of my daughter Kyia and a Chickadee taken on a walking trail in Brantford, Ontario just a week or two ago. She said the chickadee's were all about her and when she held out her hand they landed even without birdseed. So the next time she brought some seed with her.
This is a picture of a bird that hit a window and died. It happened to fall on a craft item stored outside for the winter. A rather artistic rendering of Bird Art Death.
Hilden, Nova Scotia
This is a juvenile male Ruby-throated hummingbird, looks like a female but he had tiny red flecks starting to come in. It was taken in Hilden NS, August 2016.
These are a couple of my favourites from a recent trip to Australia, all taken in the wild, none of them were in captivity. These are a Rainbow lorikeet and a Blue-winged kookaburra.
I cared for a duckling for the first few days of her life. She was born with two left feet and I helped teach her to walk! She loved this little baby bath and imprinted on me immediately, snuggling anytime she could.
One of a pair of crows that visit our yard every day in Edmonton, Alberta. This was taken just a few days ago during a heavy spring snow.
I took this photo on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean last month. My wife and I had lunch at a beach front café and this guy fought me for my lobster salad for 20 minutes. He was so tenacious I didn’t at first notice he was sporting what appeared to be a Donald Trump hairpiece. I believe it is a Cattle egret, but I’m not entirely sure. I am sure the name will change.
This was taken on the pier near Clearwater Florida on our recent trip there. The heron was of a mind that it was their pier and we were trespassers. It was not concerned when we got very close and was able to get this picture.
I am a retired critical care nurse of 44 years. I volunteer Wednesday mornings at a wildlife rehab centre in Amherstburg Ont. WINGS is a non-profit that has been accepting injured, starving and lost furry, feathered creatures for more than 25 years now. My professional work as a Registered Nurse offered me a venue for doing the proverbial "good" in the world. My volunteer work is equally as satisfying, but different of course. Birds offer a comparative, a juxtaposition of sorts, to this human life. They have enhanced my human experience. This lovely little Northern saw-whet owl died this past Easter weekend. She had been with WINGS for over a year, immobilized with a broken wing. She was lovely. I'll miss her.
Diane Mercier Allain
I took two photos of Gannets from our 8th floor cabin of a cruise ship, on our way to Panama. They bring back memories of serenity, peace and calm.
Rossland, British Columbia
I do most of my bird watching in my backyard. This is one of my favourite photos, and it did take patience. This is a photo of a mother American robin feeding her chick a wild cherry from a nearby tree. The photo was taken in my garden in Rossland, BC.
This was taken at the bottom of the ski hill at Georgian Peaks, Ont. It’s a Cedar waxwing eating a Hawthorn berry.
This gentle dove appeared in our yard a few summers ago in the evenings. It was so tame we were sure it was domesticated. A person who keeps birds came and we managed to capture her. Happy ending: she found a boyfriend amongst his birds and was nesting before fall.
This encounter between a Pileated woodpecker and a squirrel occurred on May 4, 2016 between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM in Montreal’s Summit Woods, just steps off Ridgewood Avenue. I was on my way home, walking, and heard the woodpecker. Just off the sidewalk - there he was!
Red-tailed hawk spotted in Clawson, Michigan
This is a photo of a male and baby Wattled starling taken in Tanzania, Africa in May 2016
These are two Pine siskins at my feeder in Saskatoon. They’re trying to move each other away, even though there’s plenty of food for everyone.
This photo was taken earlier in the month south of Water Valley Alberta, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. This is the male Mountain bluebird.They remind me that spring is on the way and we should be seeing signs of it in the next couple of weeks.
This little guy is a Boreal Owl, spotted while hiking on the Canadore Trails by Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario
Here is one of my favourite shots. There is an annual falconry event in Hamarikuyu Park in Tokyo. It is held in the first 2 to 3 days of the New Year. This photo was taken on January 3, 2014. At the end of the show, the falconers walk along the fenceline for the benefit of the audience members.