Tuesday, September 3, 2013


My dad came up with the name "Birdkeley," so he deserves all the credit. ; )

College is CRAZY! I've been running around all over downtown and campus for the past week and a half. Free time is a precious commodity. Thankfully, even if I'm super busy, I can see and hear birds in my residence hall. The trees harbor Dark-eyed Juncos, Brown Creepers, and more.

Including squirrels. : P

Today, I wanted to actually go birding. So I set out to find some "fire trails" I had heard about. When I found the trails, my face grew into a huge grin. These aren't just some random trails. It's an entire preserve, easily accessible from my residence hall.

You can bet I'll be hiking there often. The views and weather and birds were totally cool, and way worth the work of trekking up those hills. There are so many birds here that can't be found in my hometown! Every new species surprises me - "I didn't think I would see YOU here!"

There are quite a lot of California Towhees scraping in the dirt and hopping in the bushes. Towhees are related to sparrows. You can identify Towhees (in general) by their fairly large size compared to other sparrows, habit of skulking around on the ground, and long tail. You can identify California Towhees by the black streaking on their chins, and the rusty coloring around their vents.

Alsooooooo we have Chestnut-backed Chickadees! These little cuties make me so happy. I can't wait to see even more of them. The Central Valley doesn't get any chickadees at all.

This was one of the views from the trail! The Bay Area is such an incredible place.

There was also a pair of Oak Titmice rummaging in a shrub. Again, Titmice aren't in the Central Valley, so I treasure every time I see them.

As you can see, the Titmouse is a very drab bird. It can be identified by its crest, lack of eye-catching field marks, and slim body. There is an extremely similar species of Titmouse, the Juniper Titmouse, in the Midwest. They're similar even in terms of their calls, but you can hear the difference if you click here for the Oak Titmouse, and here for the Juniper.

This lovely Red-tailed Hawk soared overhead. The lighting moved so interestingly over his body as he circled!

Like I mentioned, there are quite a lot of Dark-eyed Juncos here! This is the "Oregon" race, since it has a dark hood, brown back, and tan flanks. There are many other subspecies of Dark-eyed Juncos, which you can read about here if you want. : )

And this is the female of this race! As you can see, she has a gray hood and is just a bit drabber overall. The females of most species are more drab than their males.

And that's all I saw! This was a great walk, and a great way to start a day of classes.

The Mid-Atlantic Young Birder Conference is coming up!!!! Only a couple more weeks until I'm in Delaware with scores of other young birders. Can't wait!


  1. Ok, if you weren't at college now, I'd say, "Girl, you need to MOVE!!" How the heck do you live without chickadees and titmice?!?! :O Wow, that view is insanely beautiful and that squirrel is SOOOOOOOOO adorable!!!!! And amazing pics as usual ;D

    1. Haha it's very easy when I get Blue Grosbeaks and Yellow-billed Magpies, instead! ;) And thanks for the compliments!!!

      See you tomorrow! ;D