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February 2009


GBBC-button_YERWAR_DLTH2009.gif    If you haven't participated in the national Great Backyard  Bird Count, give it a try this weekend -- Friday through Monday.

   You can do as many days as you like, for as long as you like.

   You'll find that once you start keeping score, you'll see a lot more birds and species than you would have thought.

   Note: Last year, Ace was nowhere to be found on any of the four days. Curses!

    Click the button above for more information.

Rob Fanning reports: 0202609

Rob sez:
  This bitterly cold morning (2/6) I was pleasantly surprised to hear the great sound of WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS calling (near Greenway).

   I didn't believe my ears at first but I then heard them again, looked up, and saw about 10 birds fly over me (headed in the direction of Pirie Platform).

     I couldn't stay long, but before I left I heard and saw 2 more flybys near Greenway. My first for the CF, and only the 2nd record overall for CF (after Fred Weber 's flock on 11/22/08).

  Click "Continue reading..." for the rest of Rob's report.  (Thanks, Rob!)

Continue reading "Rob Fanning reports: 0202609" »

More about Screech Owls

Red-phase     On my last post on Screech Owls, I wrote that "Screech Owls come in two basic colors, red and gray. Although the term “phase” is used to describe these two colors, the owls do not change from one phase to the other.

    A reddish-brown screech owl is always reddish brown, and a grayish-brown Screech Owl always remains grayish brown."

   That drew the following question from a friend of this blog: "Do Screech Owls always pick mates of their own color phase? And if two Gray-phase different color-phased owls mate, what color are the offspring? This is not a riddle—it’s a real question."

    The answers are: Red-phased and gray-phased Screech Owls can and do mate. My first pair of Screech Owl neighbors, in 2005, were a red-phased male and a gray-phased female.

   Because I had not installed a camera in the nesting box, I do not know if any of the owlets survived, let alone their coloration. But from what I understand, the two gray-phased owls of two years ago had both red-phased and gray-phased offspring. The coloration seems random.

   Females are typically larger than males, and two-thirds of all Eastern Screech Owls are typically gray. More on Eastern Screech Owls here.

    Western Screech Owls are only gray-phase, and have black bills.  More on Western Screech Owls here.

    Note: Unless otherwise noted, all solid Screech Owl photos were taken by Jerry Barrack. Mediocre or lousy shots are likely mine.

    Questions of comments on Screech Owls. E-mail me here.


New Photo Exhibition

    Bob Kane is exhibiting photographs at the Ho-Ho-Kus Library during February.  These have been taken at the Celery Farm over the past three years, most of which show the place in light that Fykers often see but the casual visitor will not. 

  The Library is on the northwest corner of Franklin Turnpike and Warren Avenue in Ho-Ho-Kus, a block north of the intersection of Franklin Turnpike and North Maple Ave.  Hours are: MWF 10-5, TTh 1-5, 7-9, and Sat 10-1 (closed Sunday). 
   Pictured above: Bob's photo, "Stalking Bittern."