Sunday was a noteworthy bird day for me because I finally saw a fox sparrow in my yard. It was scratching around under my big Scotch pine where I've got seed sprinkled on the ground (but nowhere near any of the brush piles I carefully constructed last fall). I managed to take a couple of really poor pictures out the kitchen window.
I did get good looks through the binoculars though to confirm that it was truly a Fox Sparrow.
Many thanks to Richard over in Atwater, MN, who has graciously allowed me to use this nice, clear photo he took of a Fox Sparrow so you can see what to look for when one of these shows up in your yard.
Here are also a couple of poor pictures of another female Red-Winged Blackbird I saw over the weekend. She had so much orange on her face and throat that at first I thought it might be a Varied Thrush.After consulting my field guides, I decided it must be a female Red-Wing because there was just too much streaking on her breast and no other orange coloration on any part of her body. (I was pretty excited for a couple minutes though, because I've never seen a Varied Thrush.)
I finally got some pictures of my crow with the crippled foot. I first noticed this crow limping around in the yard late last fall. It took me a while to actually see why it had such trouble walking.As you can see in these pictures, its left foot is completely turned under and almost like a fist. The crow is actually walking much better than it used to and I saw it perch for a little bit on the edge of my ground feeder tray. I'm not sure what happened because it appears all its toes are still there.
And last on my list of noteworthy bird items is that I was able to locate an Bald Eagle nest about 2 miles from our house. We have seen eagles flying around the area all winter and in the local Audubon Society newsletter, there was an article saying the DNR had documented an active eagle nest in the area. When I stopped in at Wild Birds Unlimited to pick up some seed today, the owner told me they had seen the nest too, so I watched for it on the way home from work and sure enough, I finally found it too!
I talked Mr. Johnson into driving me over there after supper and I was able to take a couple of pictures. This nest is visible from Highway 63 (the main north/south highway into and out of Rochester). There is a little service drive that was put in several years ago for a (not yet developed) strip mall that we were able to drive up and get some pictures from the car.
Here's the big nest up in the top of the tree. Once the leaves are back on the trees this nest won't be visible anymore.
Here you can just see Mrs. Eagle's head as she's sitting on the nest.
While we were watching, Mr. Eagle flew over to a nearby tree, but it was getting dark and I just couldn't get a good picture. I'll try and get back over there maybe early on the weekend to see if I can get some better pictures when the sun is shining on the nest. Hopefully her nest will be successful and we will be treated to the sight of young eagles all summer.