Greater Prairie Chickens

April 27, 2017 at 5:50 am (Bird photography, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )

Greater prairie chickens battling for dominance

It’s been a month since I saw the greater prairie chickens doing their spectacular mating calls and dance, but I’ve finally gone through all the photos and here are some of the best ones.

There were about two dozen males on the lek on the Switzer Ranch in Burwell, Nebraska late last month. They spent a lot of time “booming” and challenging each other.

No prairie chickens were harmed in the making of this blog.

The facial feathers, the orange eyebrows, and the bladder sacs that create the woo-woo-woo “booming” are dramatic enough, but the little dance and flared wing and tail feathers that go along with it make this display absolutely charming.

Three hens finally showed up, having visited another lek. Apparently they didn’t find the make and model they were looking for, and left the boys strutting their stuff among themselves.

Male displaying for female

Two males sizing up each other.

Why can’t we all just get along?

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

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Hackberry Flat in Spring

April 25, 2017 at 1:36 pm (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Wildlife) (, )

American Badger

I figured I’d start with the badger since it’s the most unusual animal of the day. It’s technically not in the boundaries of Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area in Southwest Oklahoma, but pretty close. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rattlesnake Roundup

April 19, 2017 at 6:00 am (Oklahoma, Wildlife) (, , )

I’m not a fan of this, really. It’s not what I would call a lighthearted family event. But geeze Louise, it’s a tradition here in Oklahoma. It’s part of the culture. I mean, many of these folks are raised on farms. They hunt and fish. They eat what they kill. But still…

There are some interesting facts that accompany a rattlesnake roundup like this one. And some opinions that may or may not be accurate. To be honest, I found it fascinating. All of it. Even the part that comes next — the shock and awe of seeing a perfectly good snake butchered. I was transfixed. Don’t watch this next video if you get easily freaked out. Read the rest of this entry »

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Caddo Maples

November 20, 2016 at 12:03 pm (Autumn, Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildlife)

Caddo Maples, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Okla.

Caddo Maples, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Okla.

Walking through a forested canyon in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Okla., I felt like I was back in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park in Texas. Big Bend was the first park I worked at when the Great Recession ended my art business, and it changed my life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ruby-crowned kinglet shows his crown

November 13, 2016 at 5:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wildlife) ()

Male ruby-crowned kinglet

Male ruby-crowned kinglet

For years I’ve been wanting to get a photograph that showed the male ruby-crowned kinglet’s famed jewel on his head. I’ve only seen glimpses of it a time or two, but when I saw what looked like a head full of red at Martha Songbird nature park yesterday, I got excited.

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He was upset at someone. Maybe he had a spat with his spouse (below.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Grackles

November 2, 2016 at 5:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Wildlife)

From my MeadowLarking column in the Fort Sill Tribune. Double click on the images to enlarge and read the text better.

grackles-4-14-16

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When dragons fly

October 30, 2016 at 5:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildlife)

From my MeadowLarking column in the Fort Sill Tribune. Double click on the image to enlarge it and read the text better.

dragons-fly

All photographs copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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October 29, 2016 at 5:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wildlife)

From my MeadowLarking column in the Fort Sill Tribune. I saw some scissortails yesterday but they will be gone south very soon!

edward-scissortail

All photographs copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Dove bars for da boids

October 28, 2016 at 5:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildlife)

From my MeadowLarking column in the Fort Sill Tribune. Double click on the image to enlarge it and read it easier.

Read it here too.

FORT SILL, Okla., July 21, 2016 — Doves love birdseed. But they don’t fit too well on tube bird feeders because the perches are too narrow. So I scatter seed on the ground for them, and at times I’ll have eight white-winged doves happily pecking at the “bar” below while the sparrows and finches, the cardinals and an occasional tufted titmouse or Carolina chickadee, gorge themselves from the hanging feeders. Once I had mourning and Eurasian collared doves with them, and twice I’ve seen a lone Inca dove.

Incas are a mainly southwestern dove, smaller than the white-winged, with thin black bills. One unique attribute is the way their body feathers are darker colored at the edges, giving them a scaly look. It’s really quite lovely.

Inca doves are known for creating little pyramids of themselves to keep warm, or maybe just to be extra friendly. I’ve seen this at Big Bend National Park in Texas. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says these pyramids can be three layers high and consist of up to 12 birds. We are at the northeastern edge of their range, according to the Audubon bird map, and they prefer suburban yards and urban parks.

Mourning doves are one of the most widespread in the 48 states, found year-round in all but a few north-central states which host them only in summer. They have long pointed tails and are often seen perched on utility wires or fences.

In my yard, however, they are outnumbered by the white-winged doves, which do not even show up on the Audubon map for southern Oklahoma. Hmmm.

They are large silky brown birds with bright red legs, red eyes and blue eye shadow. Of course, the most notable field mark for sitting birds is the white crescent at the edge of the wing, which shows dramatically in flight contrasting with the dark primary feathers, and complemented by the white edges of the fanned-out tail. As doves go, they are striking.

The Eurasian collared dove, as you might gather from its name, is an immigrant, arriving in Florida in 1980s and spreading to about two-thirds of the continental United States. They are a chalky gray, paler than the other three, with a black collar that extends around the back of the neck.

The four doves can be readily distinguished by their calls. The mourning dove’s sounds like a lament, hence its name. (Ooh aah ooooh ooooh ooooh). The white-winged asks “who cooks for youuuu?” and the collared dove has “hoo hooo hoo” on repeat. The two-note “coo-coo” of the Inca dove can be read as “no hope.”

Feeding birds is a popular hobby in America, and even if you don’t want to spend money on birdfeeders, just scattering seed on the ground will attract a wide variety of avian citizens. Keep the “bar” stocked, add some cracked corn and peanuts, and the squirrels will join the sideshow. You can enjoy your own Dove Bar while you watch.

dove-bars

Photos copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Mississippi kites

October 27, 2016 at 5:00 am (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildlife)

From my MeadowLarking column in the Fort Sill Tribune. The kites have migrated south now, and I await their return in May. Double click on the image to enlarge it.

kites-1

Photos copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

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