Ardea herodias (Great blue heron).
 
 
 
Photo: 02/15/15, 3 pm.


This could be a great blue heron but I need to verify this guess. 
 
 
wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_blue_heron


Branta canadensis (Canada Goose).
 
 
 
Photo: 01/31/15, noon.


A bunch of Canada Geese stopped at our lake today. They are large, have a black head and neck, white patches on the face, and a brown body ... and very strong nerves. They are long-lived and some individuals reach an age of 30 years. I took the small photo on 05/06/17. 
 

  
 
wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_goose
UF:
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw245


Buteo lineatus (Red-shouldered Hawk).
 
 
 
Photo: 08/26/17, 2 pm.


This hawk is probably Buteo lineatus. Citing from the second link: "A hawk of the woodlands, often heard before it is seen. The clear whistled calls of this hawk are conspicuous, especially in spring; in the east, Blue Jays often give a near-perfect imitation of this call. Over much of eastern North America the Red-shoulder has become uncommon, sticking closely to the remaining forests. Populations in Florida and California are often more visible, perhaps adapting better to open habitats." They usually hunt by watching from a perch and feed on small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, occasionally fish, and rarely carrion.  
 
 
wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-shouldered_hawk
Audubon Field Guide:
http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/red-shouldered-hawk


Cardinalis cardinalis (Northern Cardinal) ♂.
 
 
 
Size: approx. 200 mm. Photo: 02/22/15, 1 pm.


This striking little neighbor is the Cardinal. During courtship, the male feeds the female. Wikipedia states that this bird was once prized as a prized pet species but its sale as a cage bird has been banned for nearly 100 years. Cardinals are extremely territorial and can relentlessly attack their mirror images in windows.  
 

 
wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_cardinal
Cornell:
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Cardinal/id


Cathartes aura (Turkey Vulture).
 
 
 
Photo: 03/25/16, 2 pm.


Florida is home to two vulture species: the turkey vulture (Cathartes aura, red head) and the black vulture (C. atratus, black head). They lay their eggs on the ground under cover (e.g. palmetto thickets), in hollow tree trunks, or caves. No nests are built for the usually two eggs. Vultures eat carrion in the form of road-kills or dead cattle. Black vultures are more aggressive and may occasionally kill or injure small or weak livestock. Vultures are under state protection. 
 
 
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/birds/raptors-and-vultures/vultures/
wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey_vulture


Cathartes atratus (Black Vulture).
 
 
 
Photo: 04/25/16, 10 am.


Florida is home to two vulture species: the turkey vulture (Cathartes aura, red head) and the black vulture (C. atratus, black head). They lay their eggs on the ground under cover (e.g. palmetto thickets), in hollow tree trunks, or caves. No nests are built for the usually two eggs. Vultures eat carrion in the form of road-kills or dead cattle. Black vultures are more aggressive and may occasionally kill or injure small or weak livestock. Vultures are under state protection. 
 
 
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/birds/raptors-and-vultures/vultures/


Cyanocitta cristata (Blue Jay).
 
 
 
Photo: 03/31/09, 7 am.


This birdie looks a bit tired and doesn't show its pretty crown of feathers. It was early in the morning and perhaps it had rained. Anyway I shot this picture through the small window of our guest bathroom, which allowed me to get pretty close. Blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata). These birds are rather loud and can imitate other birds (hawks) as well as human voices (this one didn't). 
 
 
wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_jay


Eudocimus albus (American White Ibis).
 
 
 
Photo: 01/31/15, 2 pm.


Today a group of about a dozen white ibis visited us. I also saw at least one darker juvenile bird. Wikipedia states that according to Native American folklore "the bird was the last to seek shelter before a hurricane, and the first to emerge afterwards. The bird was thus a symbol for danger and optimism." These photos were taken with a Sigma 28-300 mm zoom lens. Click here for a high resolution of the left photo.  
 

 
wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_white_ibis


Mimus polyglottos (Northern Mockingbird).
 
 
 
Photo: 06/21/11, 8 am.


The ubiquitous northern mocking bird (Mimus polyglottos). It is the state bird of Florida. Mocking birds are very territorial and rule our yard (as far as birds are concerned). They like to attack and chase other birds even crows etc. They have a large repertoire of songs (including many "imitations") which tend to be short and repetitive. 
 
 
wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Mockingbird


Mycteria americana (Wood Stork).
 
 
 
Size: approx. 1000 mm. Photo: 02/13/16, 1 pm.


Every February, a group of wood storks visits our lake. They sometimes hang out with some white ibises that we see more frequently. Until 2014, wood storks in the US were considered an endangered species but--after decades of conservation efforts--have been reclassified as only threatened. They are the only stork species that breeds in North America with small populations in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.  
 
 
wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_stork


Phalacrocorax sp. (Cormorant).
 
 
 
Photo: 08/22/14, 11 am.


This cormorant dried its wings on our little dock. Unlike the similar anhinga, it has a curved beak. I am guessing that this is a juvenile double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus). 
 
 
wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormorant


Strix varia (Barred Owl).
 
 
 
Size: approx. 500 mm. Photo: 07/12/15, 6 pm.


Okay, it's an awful photo but this owl simply must be featured here. It essentially lives on our property but is hard to spot and even harder to photograph. However, it is quite easy to distinguish its call which sounds like "who cooks for you, who cooks for you all." 
 
 
wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barred_owl
learner.org (call):
http://learner.org/jnorth/sounds/Owl_Barred_WhoCooks.mp3


Toxostoma rufum (Brown Thrasher).
 
 
 
Photo: 06/22/11, 9 am.


Another common bird in our yard is the brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum). It belongs to the same family (Mimidae) as the mocking bird. It seems to spend a lot of time on the ground inspecting the edges of our lawn where leaves accumulate. Like the mocking bird, it is a prolific "singer". According to wikipedia, brown thrashers know up to 3,000 songs (sounds like they are improvising). The brown thrasher is the state bird of Georgia. 
 
 
wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Thrasher