Archive for October, 2013


October 31, 2013

There are many species of bird that are often found in oak woodlands here in the arid western U.S. Oak Titmouse, Western Bluebird, Western Scrub-Jay, Spotted Towhee, wintering Juncos, White-breasted Nuthatch. Few species are more oak-dependent than the aptly named Acorn Woodpecker. Here’s one drilling a new hole in a granery tree in an Oregon neighborhood.


lewo-eye glint Lewis’s Woodpeckers share the Acorn’s genus and its proclivity for acorns and oaks. The Lewis does not utilize granary trees. For that the Acorn is unique among woodpeckers.

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Both these species can be seen on our California trips. For details click here to see our California itineraries. We can also put together a custom trip to Oregon.


October 24, 2013

The California Condor livecam is not going to show you cute chicks in the nest or cuddly little cubs with their mom. It will show you wild California Condors feeding. Best time to watch is during the morning hours, Pacific Time. This camera is in the Big Sur area of California. Click here for link.
The camera is maintained by the Ventana Wilderness Society which monitors the Big Sur population of condors. There are now over 200 in the wild though there are less than 500 in the world altogether. At one time the condors seemed doomed and all were placed in captivity. The breeding program has now succeeded to the point where the big birds are once again breeding in the wild.
Furthermore, California just banned lead shot which has been the single greatest health threat to these scavengers in the wild. They often find deer and other animals wounded by hunters and then lost, thus ingesting bits of the shattered and scattered lead shot leading to toxic levels of lead poisoning.
Here’s more on the condor cam which went live this week.CONDOR OVERHEAD I took all these condor photos along Hiway 1 in Big Sur while leading a Partnership for International Birding trip there. Nearly every condor carries a visible wing tag so they can monitored. Some also have tiny transmitters so they can be tracked electronically.




An expert from the Ventana Wilderness Society told us this pair was a father and son, often seen hunting together along the Big Sur Coast, sailing high above the Pacific surf. On this day the two came out of the fog, then circled a few times before disappearing back into the fog.
CONDOR4 Condors have the largest wingspan of any North American bird, slightly larger than the White Pelican and often exceeding nine feet. For comparison, your neighborhood Red-tailed Hawk has a wingspan less half that great and the Turkey Vulture’s wingspan is less than two-thirds of a condor’s.
To get your own photos of a soaring condor, come along one of PIB’s California trips.


October 22, 2013

North America’s rarest warbler is the Kirtland’s. It breed primarily in northern Michigan though some have recently showed up in Wisconsin. Every spring our ace trip leader, David Trently, takes a group to see this rarest of the rara avis.IMG_1990

Kirtland's Warbler habitat - Jack Pines
So join us for a jaunt to the jack pines of Michigan and a look at this little warbler with an even littler range. Click here for details on the trip.
There are only a few thousand Kirtland’s Warblers alive today. They were first discovered in the mid-19th Century by Dr. Jared Kirtland, a Cleveland, Ohio, physician and amateur naturalist.