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Peter Yaukey
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Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks mobbing Mississippi Kite!
This morning I stepped out my front door to see seven large birds wheeling above the trees across the street.  It was a Mississippi Kite pursued by six Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks that were equal it in size (and I am sure quite a bit heavier).   I have se...

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Great Crested Flycatcher back from the tropics...
This morning I stepped onto my doorstep to be greeted by the reeeep! of a Great Crested Flycatcher, my first of the spring. The species nests on my block, as it does widely in residential areas in and around New Orleans where there are large shade trees.  T...

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EF3 skirts (?) Night-Heron colony off Chef Hwy
Yesterday, I took a small group of my students to examine the impacts of the Feb 7 tornado on bird populations in the residential neighborhoods through which it tracked.  The EF3 tornado is estimated to have had winds of c. 140 mph and ran more or less para...

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Visiting birder Alan Crockard took these cool photos of a Red-cockaded Woodpecker flying across a marsh in Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Lacombe on Lundi Gras.  Not a view one usually gets of the species- traversing open air space.  Way to be...

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First Yellow-crowned Night-Heron back
Just now I was cutting drywall in my front yard in the dark (don't ask!), and heard my first Yellow-crowned Night-Heron of the spring.  It gave its typical skeow several times.  The species nests throughout the metro area in residential neighborhoods with l...

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Second migrant species reported
A pair of American Golden Plovers, passing through en route from southern South America to the Arctic, was reported yesterday near Shreveport. This, the second species of migrant reported, comes about four weeks after the first- Purple Martin. This gap of w...

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The first spring migrant has returned- right on schedule!
Every year, the first species that is detected returning from parts south of us is the Purple Martin.  They seem to always get reported from somewhere in the last week of January, when we are still in our coldest month.  And this despite relying entirely on...

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Brazen Cooper's Hawk at Harahan Walmart
Yesterday afternoon I was at the Walmart in Harahan, pulling out of parking space in the crowded lot.  The local flock of panhandling Boat-tailed Grackles took flight in apparent alarm, so  I stopped to scan for a raptor.  Sure enough, an adult Cooper's cam...

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Blue Jays imitating...Cooper's Hawk?!?
Vocal mimicry is well known in the bird world, but prominent in relatively few taxa- most famously parrots and mynas in the realm of pets, and in members of the family Mimidae (most notably Northern Mockingbird) among our native species. One additional case...

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Seasonal milestone: first Mourning Dove calling
A few moments ago I went outside to let my dogs into the yard, and sat for a moment on the steps.  The first sound I noticed was the soft coo coo-ooo, cooo cooo cooo of a Mourning Dove, their breeding season advertisement.  The first I have heard for the up...
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