For the Birds

Celebrating the Year of the Bird, HTF hopes to publish a contributor bird photo every week during 2018. Submit your bird photo online at www.hometownfocus.us or email to cindyk@htfnews.us. Include a description of the bird, where the photo was taken, photographer’s name, city of residence and contact information (phone and email).

  • An indigo bunting in brilliant blue. Photo by Joan Edblom.

  • This great gray owl photo was taken in the Sax-Zim Bog. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website, the great gray owl is the largest owl in North America. “Minnesota is at the southern edge of the range of this huge, secretive north woods owl,” the DNR website says. Submitted by Gail Waldron, Virginia, MN.

  • WEEK 3: This blue jay photo was taken in Tim Kuzma’s backyard in Britt. “This bird is found all over Minnesota,” Tim said. “He will scream like a hawk to scatter birds at the feeders or to warn of intruders. The cocked head and the quizzical look on the bird's face caught my eye.” Submitted by Tim Kuzma, Britt, MN.

  • This male Pine grosbeak picture was taken in Mary Peliska’s backyard. The Pine grosbeak is a large and plump, heavy-chested finch with a round head. Its bill is thick and conical. The tail is long and slightly notched. Males are reddish-pink and gray (www.allaboutbirds.org). Photo by Mary Peliska, Mt. Iron, MN.

  • “I captured this black-capped chickadee at a friend’s house in rural Eveleth,” said Patty Maki of Gilbert. The black-capped chickadee is almost universally considered “cute” thanks to its oversized round head, tiny body, and curiosity about everything, says allaboutbirds.org. They can be found in any habitat that has trees or woody shrubs.

  • WEEK 6: A female downy woodpecker is just staying warm on a cold day. According to allaboutbirds.org, downy woodpeckers are found in open woodlands, particularly among deciduous trees, and brushy or weedy edges. They’re also at home in orchards, city parks, backyards and vacant lots. Photo by Darlene Majkich, Hibbing, MN.

  • : “My first owl capture!” said Heather Mahoney of Embarrass, MN. “While looking out my dining room window, I noticed this fella looking right back at me. We have seen it for a few days now and have been able to get some great photos.” The barred owl is a medium-sized, grayish-brown bird of prey that has a dark ring around its face and dark eyes (MnDNR).

  • WEEK 8: This boreal chickadee photo was taken in the Sax-Zim Bog. “People come from all over the world to view the birds and wildlife found there,” said photographer Vickie Tuskan of Fayal Township. “One of the rarer birds to find is the boreal chickadee; it is found in northern boreal forests in the U.S. and Canada. Finding it in the bog is a treat, since it is such a small bird you really have to look closely to find it.”

  • A northern saw-whet owl. These owls are native to North America and may be one of the smallest owls in North America. It may have been named for giving a call like a saw being sharpened on a whetting stone. They are nocturnal and seldom seen. This one posed for about 20 minutes at a site on Lake Vermilion before disappearing. Photo by Lauren Nelson, Britt, MN.

  • WEEK 10: “First time photographing owls,” said Lisa Pluth. “It was a treat to visit Sax-Zim bog.” Friends of the Sax-Zim Bog have protected 423 acres of bog for birds and birders. To learn more, visit saxzim.org. Photo by Lisa Pluth, Chisholm, MN.

  • WEEK 11: This photo was taken near Lake Vermilion. The bird is called a northern shrike and its nickname is The Butcher Bird. “This bird is not seen very often and when it does come around all other birds will leave the area,” said photographer Greg Lenci of Virginia, MN. “The Butcher Bird will attack and kill other birds; he’s not a friendly fellow.”

  • WEEK 12: “The eagles are nesting on Ely Lake again,” said photographer Larry Aho of Ely Lake, Fayal Township, MN. Bald eagles select nest sites near lakes and rivers in forested areas where tall, large diameter trees are available for nesting. In Minnesota, red pines, white pines and aspen are most often selected for nesting (www.dnr.state.mn.us).

  • WEEK 13: Four keys to identifying chickadees are: size and shape, color pattern, behavior, and habitat. Chickadees are tiny birds with a short neck and large head, giving it a distinctive spherical body shape. It’s tail is fairly long and narrow. (Source: allaboutbirds.org.) This photo was taken in Cook. Photo by Teresa Orrell, Cook, MN.

  • WEEK 14: The common loon became Minnesota’s official state bird in 1961. Their cries, wails and yodels can be heard across Minnesota lakes throughout the summer months. Loons have solid bones which allow them to dive up to 250 feet and they can fly up to 70 mph (source: www.dnr.state.mn.us). Photo by Carol Bowman, Aurora, MN.

  • WEEK 15: Redpolls are tiny, restless birds, feeding actively on seeds among trees and weeds, fluttering and climbing about acrobatically, their flocks seemingly always on the move. For their small size, they have a remarkable ability to survive cold temperatures. At bird feeders in winter, they can act very tame. (Source: www.audubon.org.) Photo by David Mattila, Virginia, MN.

  • WEEK 16: “We had been watching this robin's nest located on top of a wreath hanging on our front porch,” said photographer Janet Eichholz of Britt, MN. Look for American robins running across lawns or stalking earthworms in backyards or nearby parks. Since robins sing frequently, listen for their clear, lilting musical whistles. Source: www.allaboutbirds.org.

  • WEEK 17: The pileated woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It is nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for pileated woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants. The nest holes these birds make offer crucial shelter to many species. (Source: www.allaboutbirds.org). Photo by Joan Potter, Gilbert, MN.

  • WEEK 18: Common ravens are so bold, playful and clever that they’re almost always doing something worth watching, according to www.allaboutbirds.org. They’re less gregarious than crows and are often seen alone or in pairs that stay together year-round. “I have read this is twinning when they touch beaks with each other. It is an act that shows that they are in a relationship,” said photographer Charlene Luoma of Britt, MN.

  • WEEK 19: The snowy owl is large, powerful owl of the high Arctic tundra, colored for camouflage during northern winters. In summer it may be nomadic, concentrating and nesting where there are high populations of the small rodents called lemmings. During some winters, large numbers of snowy owls appear south of the Canadian border. (Source: http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/snowy-owl.) This snowy owl photo was taken in the Cherry area. Photo by Joyce Nigro, Iron, MN.

  • WEEK 20: Adult Bald eagles have white heads and tails with dark brown bodies and wings. Their legs and bills are bright yellow. Immature birds have mostly dark heads and tails; their brown wings and bodies are mottled with white in varying amounts. Young birds attain adult plumage in about five years. (Source: https://www.allaboutbirds.org.) Photo by Sandy Koehler, Mt. Iron, MN.