Readers’ wildlife photos

We have a new contributor today: Avi Burstein. His comments are indented. Most of the species are obvious, but I’ve put “ID?” for ones that readers can help identify.

Here are some photos I thought I’d share with you. There’s some variety of bluejay, woodpecker, wild turkey, hummingbird, turtle, hawk and some other small bird I don’t know the species of.

I live in the Catskills, NY, these are all taken by myself in that geographic region. There’s also a photo of myself in there, which you are welcome to use as a “reader photo”, if you’re in need of that. That isn’t my cockatiel in the photo: it was from a local event meetup of exotic bird owners I attended.




And heeeere’s Avi!





  1. Roger
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The third one looks like a female downy woodpecker.

    • Ruthann Richards
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink


    • chrism
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Given the relatively long beak compared to head size I’d vote for a hairy woodpecker. To be honest, unless you have them side by side it is very hard to tell them apart.

      • Roger
        Posted February 4, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Ah right. Thank you very much.

  2. boudiccadylis
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    The one before the turtle is a hawk. Coopers,i think.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      That’s what I’d say, too. But there are some look-alikes out there.

  3. Bruce E Lyon
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    The hawk is not a Cooper’s hawk but very likely a broad-winged hawk, a small buteo that breeds in forests in Eastern North America.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      What are the clues that help you make the ID, Bruce?

  4. Mark Shields
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Hairy Woodpecker (longer bill and lack of black spots in white outer tail feathers distinguishes it from Downy); Broad-winged Hawk; Painted Turtle.

  5. Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Very good pictures! Welcome to WEIT RWP.

    • aburstein
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Thanks 🙂

  6. aburstein
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    To clarify, the “some other small bird” reference was to a picture that JAC chose not to include, being that it was a bit blurry.

  7. J Cook
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Not a Cockatiel, a Cockatoo.

    • aburstein
      Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Yes, thanks! I always mix those up.

  8. rickflick
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Ruby-throated Hummingbird (female) (Archilochus colubris). It’s the sole breeding hummer in the Eastern US.

  9. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Female ruby-throated hummingbird and the ‘some variety of bluejay’ is THE blue jay Cyanocitta cristata.

    I would agree with Mark Shields about the woodpecker.

  10. chascpeterson
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    That’s a painted turtle, of the midland variety.
    Chrysemys picta marginata
    (The iconic Turtle of my youth.)

  11. Posted February 4, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Loved your photos, Avi. Looking forward to seeing more.

  12. Mark R.
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    A swell batch of RWP Avi. Great portrait of you with the Cockatoo. And I always enjoy turtle pics, and the painted fellow is especially pretty.

  13. Chukar
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Agree with above ID’s, with additional comments.

    It’s useful to include date of photo along with the location. Birds migrate.

    THE Blue Jay (accept no substitutes). Out west they’re mostly Scrub Jays, but people call them Blue Jays anyway because they’re largely blue and they’ve heard the name. Not the same thing. That’s why many birders capitalize English bird names, to differentiate (e.g.) the Blue Jay from any ol’ blue jay (or bluejay).

    Hairy Woodpecker female (no red on head). Downy has a very petite bill, usually black spots on white outer tail feathers, and less robust connection of black mustache to black shoulder.

    Wild Turkey – I believe I recently read somewhere that nearly all wild turkeys have some domestic ancestry; i.e. they’re not truly “wild.” I don’t know how true that is.

    Ruby-throated Hummingbird female. This is a very pristine example, with no dark throat or breast spots or rudimentary gorget. The only breeding hummer in the northeast. In the southeast, there are 4 other wintering / wandering / irruptive species to deal with. Ruby-throats are renowned for their their springtime migratory flights across the Gulf of Mexico from Yucatan to TX-LA-AL coast. When they encounter stiff headwinds, many don’t make it.

    Broad-winged Hawk. A very good ID by Bruce. For me, the arrowhead-shaped rufous marks on breast & belly, lack of a dark crown, darkish mustache marks on sides of neck & brown wings will recommend Broad-winged over Cooper’s.

    Cockatoo – There are many species of cockatoo in Australasia & Wallacea. The Sulphur-crested is the usual (perhaps only) domesticated (or captive) species. All cockatoos can be ear-splitting. The diminutive Cockatiel has a very nice, bell-like tinkling call. Don’t mess with the enormous, two-foot long Palm Cockatoo which probably could sever your arm, then go back to cracking open that palm nut.

  14. grasshopper
    Posted February 4, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I keep a pair of sulphur-crested cockatoos. The attitude of the one in Avi’s pic suggests to me that it is way, way out of it’s comfort zone. Also, the jet-black bill indicates a possibility of sub-optimum health due to a lack of powder-down. Cockatoos do not have an oil gland to protect their feathers, but instead rely on continuously shedding powder-down, which carries away dirt and rain. A healthy cocky tends to have a greyish bill from preening itself through powder-down covered feathers. But who knows, the owner may have given the cocky’s face a wash before he was presented to the public.

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