Bufflehead Ducks are Winter visitors here on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. I took these pictures last Winter (2011) at the Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville, TN, and also on Lake Tansi, an area near Crossville, TN. The Bufflehead Ducks are my favorite ducks. They are wary of people. They are also difficult for me to take pictures of. They tend to congregate in remote spots on the lakes.
The drake is the one with white and dark iridescent purplish-black, and flashes of green. The hen is charcoal grey with beige and white accents. The genders mirror each other in color. They are diving ducks and eat smaller aquatic animals. The drake can raise the white feathers on its head at times. These small ducks migrate here for the Winter from way up North in the Mid-western U.S. and also in Canada. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Over the past couple of months, I have had a few female Northern Cardinals here in the yards. These beautiful brown-red birds have a faint light black mask on their face, a bright coral-colored, wedge-shaped bill and a small crest top-knot that is the same color as the rest of the head and body. The Northern Cardinals love to eat Safflower Seeds, Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, fruits, berries, and nuts. They do eat at feeders if the opening in the feeder is wide enough to accommodate their wider bill. The Cardinals are devoted parents but the male does a lot of the child-rearing once the chicks have fledged or flown. I especially love the Cardinals, or “Red Birds” as some call the lovely birds.
The calls and songs of the Northern Cardinals seem to have regional variations. I noticed that the songs I heard from the Northern Cardinals in Northeast Texas were markedly different from those songs I hear here on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. Who would have thought that bird calls would vary with geography? Amazing! For some reason, I do not take as many pictures of the female Cardinal as I do the male. Maybe it is just that the male is a flashy bright red and is more noticeable. Who can tell. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. Enjoy
The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest of the seven kinds of woodpeckers that have come to my back yard here on the beautiful Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. The Downy Woodpecker males are black white and have a tiny patch of red on the crown of their heads. The female does not have that crown but looks the same as the male. Both have a barred or checkerboard-like black and white pattern on their wings and back. Their chest and throat is white. They have a slender long bill that they use to drill into tree trunks and bark in order to find insects. They also use that bill to peck into trees to create holes or enlarge existing holes. They make their home in those cavities in the trees.
They also drill holes in trees in order to stash food for the winter. A convenient pantry. The Downy Woodpeckers are primarily insect-eating birds. They come to my suet feeder to get quick snacks at times, but they do like to hunt among the Oaks and Hickory trees for insects on their own. They seem to be patient, agreeable and intelligent little birds. I enjoy seeing them here. I took these pictures from my deck on various dates in July 2011. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!