Birds (and mammals) in Georgia

February 14, 2013 • 9:20 am

Here are four photos of three birds I took outside of Atlanta during my recent visit. I’ll identify one and leave the other two to readers:

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias; click all photos to enlarge):


What was he doing at a small man-made lake? Waiting for heron fudz!:


Mystery bird 1


Mystery bird 2:


Self portrait with dog (a Papillon) and cat (a moggie named “Hitch”):

dog 'n' cat


37 thoughts on “Birds (and mammals) in Georgia

      1. Why guess randomly when you don’t know? It would’ve taken you two seconds to Google “American goldfinch” and see that it looks nothing like a Pine Warbler.

        Same thing with the female Pine Warbler – it doesn’t look all that much like the Pine Siskin, above.

        1. Not to pile on, but American Goldfinches in the winter are not brightly colored anyway. I saw two of them on my feeder this morning, and they’re a dull greenish gray. They start to turn a little brighter around March, but unfortunately they migrate North around that time and I never get to see them when they’re in their full splendor.

  1. The first one is a Pine Warbler, and the second is a Pine Siskin. What impresses me is that Jerry hit Georgia just right to capture both the birds that made me a birder: the Great Blue Heron and the Pine Siskin (which is staging a massive invasion into Georgia this winter). Thanks for the memories, Jerry!

  2. Question for the other birders east of the Mississippi (and JAC, too, if you have the time): That pine siskin doesn’t look anything like the pine siskins here. Are they two separate species, or is that one just a lot lighter in color?

    If I weren’t such a rotten photographer, I’d take you a picture of the locals. They are much darker, and have distinct wing bars.

    I get zillions of them at my feeders in the winter. They come down from the mountaintops and winter at this elevation. I can always be sure when spring is on the way because they, and the juncos, leave for higher ground. L

    1. I’m not aware of separate tribes of pine siskins differentiated by colour. Maybe what you are seeing are female house finches or female purple finches?

      As to what was the heron doing at such a small man-made pond? Even smaller ponds than that one can have frogs and other small amphibious thingies. Around here the herons prey on goldfish in ornamental pools. I even saw one coming in for a landing at the pool area of a local apartment comples so I guess they’ll try any body of water at least once…

      1. No, female house finches are slightly larger and lack the wing bars.

        Both my Roger Tory Peterson Western Birds, and Birds of New Mexico by Stan Tekiela identify what I’m looking at as a pine siskin. L

            1. Linda, the Pine Siskin is Carduelis pinus. There is no genus “Spinus.”

              Carduelis spinus is the Eurasian Siskin, an accidental vagrant to Alaskan islands…

              Pine siskins can vary in their markings, but your birds should look like some of these pictures:


              1. Shoot! I take that back. Got it from Stokes, but the Cornell site says Spinus pinus for Pine siskin.

                Wait. Sibley says Carduelis pinus. Perhaps a recent change…off to check.

              2. OK. Found this from Cornell’s Birds of North America:

                Editor’s Note: Recent mitochondrial genetic data indicate that Carduelis is polyphyletic and that Spinus spp. belong to [a] different clade. See the 50th supplement to the AOU Check-list of North American Birds for details. Future revisions of this account will reflect this change.

                50th Supplement, dated 2009:


                In which we read:

                . . .three generic names (Acanthis, Spinus, and Chloris)
                are added as a result of splits from the genus Carduelis . . .

                . . . and which lists:

                Spinus spinus Eurasian Siskin.
                Spinus pinus Pine Siskin.

                I would never let myself get into these things if Word Press had an edit function! !#%&*#@!

      1. Ah, I see. The proth has a solid color wing. This warbler has bars. If it was a Cardinal or a scarlet Tanager, then I would have to call him a commie…

  3. Mystery Bird #1: Pine Warbler

    Mystery Bird #2: Pine Siskin

    Paul Mack, Ph.D
    Associate Professor of Biology
    Department of Sciences and Mathematics
    Mississippi University for Women
    1100 College Street, MUW-100
    Columbus, MS 39701
    “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended for us to forego their use.” – Galileo

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    >>> Why Evolution Is True 2/14/2013 10:20 AM >>>

    whyevolutionistrue posted: “Here are four photos of three birds I took outside of Atlanta during my recent visit. I’ll identify one and leave the other two to readers: Great blue heron (Ardea herodias; click all photos to enlarge): What was he doing at a small man-made lak”

  4. Yeah birds!!!
    Yes to Pine Warbler and Pine Siskin.

    To the person questioning the Siskin coloration. There are different races of Siskins; the western ones have much more yellow/green than our race here in the east. We have one western bird coming in with our eastern siskins to our feeders in Brooklyn, NY’s Prospect Park – he really stands out. Siskins, because they are northern finches are virtually circumpolar. The European Siskins either are or are not a separate species, they are awfully close Siskins are irruptive this year, we don’t usually get them this far south.

  5. Lovely pictures of birds. We get a lot of transiant types during migrations and they are incredable to behold and facinating to study. Unfortunately, Mamma Nature has not been kind to them lately, with the extended drouts inthe interior, especially the breeding grounds in the south part of The Valley (which has a huge industry involved in providing ‘birders’ with the necesseties, and some elegant non-essential luxuries, but the droubt is not onlydamaging some rare species reproductive and other ecential asptect of lifecycles, but is reeking havock on the local economies. And thedamage from Ike made many coastal (fresh water and salt water) wetlands vital to these birds still need to accomplish a lot of repair. Any attention you can call to these problems and any donations could save several species. Thanks.

    Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2013 16:21:08 +0000 To:

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