bird

Posted by Ellen

Two years ago, in the month of May, a wild ruffed grouse, who was soon known as Grousey, made his home in a part of southern New Hampshire that was also claimed as home by a human, who was already known as Pat.

For almost seventh months, until mid-December 2016, Grousey and Pat shared their territory. Or tried to.

By all accounts–we're talking social media accounts here–Grousey found living with Pat to be a trial and a nuisance. He often had to chase her into the house and keep guard at her doorway, lest she dare to venture out again.

He acquired many Facebook friends and other fans, and he "never failed to make a showing for those who came to visit." But if they outstayed their welcome, he'd run them off, nipping at their heels.

No one was surprised that Grousey didn't show his feathered little face in the wintertime. But when spring 2017 rolled around, he still did not reappear. "Fans like to think," we're told, "that he smartened up and set up an alternative territory not shared by bothersome humans."

Posted by Ellen

A common gallinule, at the edge of a water hazard on a Florida golf course.

Posted by Ellen

Baby bird underfoot, along the Mill Creek Canyon Trail in Montana's Bitteroots.

Posted by Ellen

The bird looks happy–happy that it's not November?–but it's fattening up nicely.

Posted by Ellen

New Zealand is a kingdom of birds. Evolution provided the land with no big predators–in fact, no mammals at all except for a few tiny bats. Birds ruled. They didn't even need to fly to live safely and well in New Zealand; flightless birds–penguins, kiwis, and nine species of giant moa, among many others–found food and nesting sites right on the ground all over the place.

Humans arrived with guns and quickly shot all the moas. Also, people began harassing the other birds with imported varmints that ate eggs and/or birdmeat. We are a pretty pathetic excuse for a species.

But some of the birdlife seems to have evolved to seek a certain revenge. Case in point is the kea, the world's only alpine parrot, endemic to New Zealand's high country. Wherever roads lead to mountain passes or overlooks, keas are hanging out in the parking lots, waiting for cars to chew.

Keas gnaw on and can completely destroy the rubber fittings on automobiles, such as gaskets around windows and antennas. They also eat ice cream a scoop at a time off a handheld cone, and they can figure out how to open backpacks and devour all the food inside.

Posted by Ellen

We're told the egg may hatch soon. Watch this space for updates.

Posted by Ellen

Small-town grackle.

Posted by Ellen

The caged bird sings. Above a doorway in the old quarter of Lisbon.

Posted by Ellen

During last year's drought, this hummingbird was photographed drinking from a person's open mouth in Rawlins, Wyoming. The photo has been submitted to National Geographic's 2013 Traveler photo competition, which is accepting entries through the month of June.

Heavy rains in March 2013 broke the three-year drought in the Southeast, but extremely dry conditions persist throughout much of the Midwest and especially the West.

Posted by Ellen

Tampa photographer Bob Croslin spent months at Florida's Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary before the birds felt comfortable enough around him that they would sit for formal portraits. This one is a redtailed hawk.