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Photo of ‘Painted Redstart’ in Southen Arizona desert. Beautiful!

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 at 7:29 am in Painted redstart

Painted redstart in southern Arizona desert area. Photo by Mike Williams, Lafayette, CA
1painted redstart mike williams laf

Hi all:
My friend Mike Williams sent me this photo he took of a painted redstart (Myioborus pictus) in the backyard of his home in the Southern Arizona desert. Wow! Beautiful.

This little bird feeds on insects and spiders and prefers mountain canyons at about 6,000 feet.

Thanks, Mike!! This is the only way most of us will ever get to see this gorgeous bird. /Gary

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Kingfisher catches crayfish in its beak

By Gary Bogue
Monday, July 23rd, 2012 at 7:10 am in Belted kingfisher

Belted kingfisher with crayfish. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1kingfisher crayfish dave harper oakley


The belted kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon) likes to sit on power lines next to creeks and dive down and catch fish when it spots them swimming near the surface of the water.

Sometimes they get lucky and catch a tasty crayfish. /Gary

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Mourning dove photos, parents and a baby

By Gary Bogue
Friday, July 20th, 2012 at 6:14 am in Mourning dove

Mom and Dad mourning dove with baby dove peeking out from in-between them. Photo by Abby Fateman, Lafayette, CA
1dove chick abby fateman lafayette

I saw a letter about doves on someone’s porch.  It reminded me of our May doves.  Here are 2 photos of the chick. One at about a week old (in the middle between mom and dad dove), and a few days later — right before the family left the nest.  They actually laid one more egg (a week later), but a scrub jay got to it.

Anyway — you probably get millions of photos — but we really enjoyed watching the doves on our front porch in May.
Abby Fateman, Lafayette, California

I do get lots of photos, but these beautiful pictures deserve to be in a category all their own. I particularly like the photo of the two parent mourning doves with the tiny baby dove peeking out from between them. It really illustrates the essence of mourning doves. Truly special and affectionate birds. Thanks for sharing. /Gary

Parent dove (rear) with baby dove (front) just before leaving nest. Photo by Abby Fateman, Lafayette, CA
1dove chick2 abby fateman lafayette

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Osprey nest on top of light pole by Carquinez Bridge in Vallejo

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, July 19th, 2012 at 5:50 am in Ospreys

Three ospreys in nest on light pole by Carquinez Bridge in Vallejo, CA. Photo by Marina Chainey, Richmond, CA
1osprey nest marina chainey richmond

I saw this osprey nest empty last year when I walked across the Zampa (Carquinez) bridge in Vallejo.  When I walked the bridge again a few days ago, 3 ospreys were waiting for food as mom flew around.  Looks like they are getting ready to leave the nest.

I hope you continue to inspire others about wildlife and pets during your retirement. I’ve enjoyed reading your column and will miss it.
Marina Chainey, Richmond, California
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Golden eagles are MUCH bigger than red-tailed hawks

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, July 18th, 2012 at 5:53 am in Golden eagles, Red-tailed hawk

Two immature red-tailed hawks. Photo by Jennifer Dayrell, Livermore, CA
1red-tailed hawks jennifer dayrell livermore

We saw these birds at Sycamore Grove Park south of Livermore last weekend. Are they eagles?
Jenni Dayrell, Livermore, California

These are immature red-tailed hawks. They are about 19 inches tall and weigh around 2-3 pounds. Golden eagles are about 30+ inches tall and weigh 10-12 pounds. That’s a considerable size difference. If it’s a big bird, it’s probably a red-tail. If it’s the biggest bird you ever saw, figure it’s a golden. /Gary

Adult golden eagle

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NO adoption fees to adopt adult cats from ARF this weekend

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 at 5:43 am in ARF, Cats, Tony La Russa's Animal rescue Foundation

Adoptable adult cat available at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. (ARF photo)
1arf cat

This Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22, are the last days you can adopt an adult cat from ARF with NO adoption fees!

Hi Gary,
We are coming up on our last weekend of our Cat Independence Days event where all adult cats have no adoption fees. We would really appreciate a push to try and make the most of this event and clear out the shelter to enable us to save more lives. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have attached a photo of one of our adoptable adult cats (above) and the press release follows. Thank you for your continued support.
Kendahl Stein, ARF, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, California
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Mockingbird parent feeding its chick

By Gary Bogue
Monday, July 16th, 2012 at 5:55 am in Mockingbird

Mockingbird parent feeding a baby. Photo by Joannah Henrichs, El Cerrito, CA
1mocker & baby joanna henrichs el cerrito

My neighbor cut back a tree close to our front window in which mockingbirds were nesting. On going to the front window the next day, I saw this babe (above) in our junipers and was lucky enough to get this shot just as the adult came with a beak full! The chick managed somehow to get into another tree close by, although it was not flying yet, and we watched for about 6 days as the parents took care of it before it was able to take off.

It was astounding to see that little (or not so little!) bird being cared for and reared without its nest. I’ve wondered what may have happened to the others in the nest. But at least one survived. It’s sad when people cannot wait to cut trees, even when advised there are nests in the tree. Oh well.

It’s been a wonderful Spring!
Joannah Henrichs, El Cerrito, California

Think positive. Maybe the other chicks manage to flutter to a nearby neighbor’s yard where the mom, assisted by the dad, was also feeding them there. We can only hope.

Trees should be trimmed at the end of summer … and then, only after checking to make sure the birds have finished nesting. Anyone can check, by the way, by calling the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek at 925-935-1978. Ask to speak to the wildlife hospital. Explain you want to trim your trees and and ask if the birds have stopped nesting. Thanks for caring, folks! /Gary.

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Peacock and wild turkeys spotted together in Antioch

By Gary Bogue
Friday, July 13th, 2012 at 6:04 am in Peacock, wild turkeys

Peter Peacock (right) with wild turkeys on Antioch rooftop. Photo by Valerie Gillan, Antioch, CA
1peacock turkey valerie gillan antioch

Just had to respond to your inquiry on June 29 regarding the occurrence of peacocks and turkeys together in the Bay Area.

We live in a suburban area of Antioch, but have the good fortune of having a large backyard full of trees and assorted wildlife.  For the past 3 years a peacock has “adopted” our neighborhood.  “Peter” or “Petey” can be spotted on a regular basis roaming the streets, screeching from rooftops, or perching himself on nearby fences.  He has become quite an attraction around here and we often spot folks stopping their cars to snap photos of his showy plumage.

One morning, my husband and I were out in the backyard and spotted Peter on top of our neighbor’s rooftop alongside a couple of hen turkeys! (see the attached photo above).
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What happened to the goldfish in my backyard pond?

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, July 12th, 2012 at 5:29 am in Great blue herons

Great blue heron photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA.
1gbheron dave harper oakley

Ever wondered what happened to the goldfish in your backyard pond?

Maybe a great blue heron stopped by for a visit one day when you weren’t looking.

As far as a heron is concerned … a pond is a pond is a pond … whether it be a wild pond in the middle of an oak woodland area, or an artificial pond in your backyard by the patio.

These great birds see it all, I’m sure, as they fly over our suburban dwellings.

Make sure your ponds are deep with rocks on the bottom where the fish can hide. /Gary

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Turkey vultures are wonderful, awesome birds

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 at 5:23 am in Turkey vultures

Turkey vulture getting ready to feed on a dead squirrel in the middle of the road. Photo by Judy Edlund, Concord, CA
1turkey vulture judy edlund concord

I’ve had 4 interesting encounters with these wonderful and awesome birds (turkey vultures).

First at the intersection of Leland & Railroad in Pittsburg, CA. On the NE corner is a mortuary and on the NW corner there is a row of large, mature eucalyptus trees. On one trip as I sat at the stop lights there were about 10 of them sitting on the peak of the roof of the mortuary and another 20 or so in the eucalyptus trees and this was in the late morning.

Second time was on the roof of Hillcrest Congregational  Church on Gregory Lane in Pleasant Hill, CA. One sat on the peak of the roof, one set on the top of the cross and one each sat on each arm of the cross.

The third time was on a street in Brentwood, just east the HWY 4 bypass and south of Lone Tree Way between a new housing development and a field. About 6 were cleaning up a skunk.
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