Readers’ wildlife photos

May 23, 2021 • 8:00 am

It’s Sunday, and that means our weekly dollop of themed bird pictures from John Avise. His captions and IDs are indented, and you can click on the photos to enlarge them.

State Birds, Part 1

If you live in the United States, do you know your official State Bird?  In 1927, some State Legislatures began designating particular avian species as their “State Bird.”  Several states ended up choosing the
same species, so there are many fewer than 50 different state species.  Also, for a few states I don’t have any photos of the State Bird.  What follows is part 1 of my available photos of various State Birds (with the State(s) or territory listed in parentheses).

Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottis (Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas):

American Robin, Turdus migratorius (Connecticut, Michigan, Wisconsin):

Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia):

Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta (Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Wyoming):

Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus (Alabama):

Cactus Wren, Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus (Arizona):

California quail, Callipepla californica (California):

Brown Thrasher, Toxostoma rufum (Georgia):

Hawaiian Goose or Nene, Branta sandwichensis (Hawaii):

Mountain Bluebird, Sialia currucoides (Idaho, Nevada):

American Goldfinch, Spinus tristis (Iowa, New Jersey, Washington):

Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis (Louisiana):

12 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Sturnella neglecta — hahaha! It reminds me of one of George Carlin’s fictional characters Congolia Breckenridge.

    1. Two states, South Carolina and Mississippi, also have state game birds, the wood duck, Aix sponsa, chosen not for its beauty of course, but for they joy the citizens take in blasting it out of the sky.

      1. Aren’t wood ducks just decoys? Although they are probably made of plastic these days.

  2. Leave it to politicians to screw up something so simple. There are certainly enough species to go around that every state could be and should have been unique.

    Missouri chose the eastern blue bird, Sialia sialis. A pleasant little beauty, and a joy to behold each spring.

  3. Well, I guess Alabamans wouldn’t want anything with the word “Northern” representing their state. So they call it the “Yellowhammer”, which I must say isn’t a bad name. Some years back there were two North American flickers, the eastern Yellow-shafted Flicker, and, in the west, the Red-shafted Flicker. But where the populations met, the flickers freely mated. This was helped by the expansion of woodlands and street tree plantings across the previously sparsely treed midlands of the continent. So the “lumpers” amongst ornithologists decided that the two species should be merged, to the dismay of bird listers, who lost a species from their life list totals.

    As a bird bander, I am still required to enter into the federal database any flicker I capture and band here in Ohio, where all have yellow feather shafts, as YSFL, the alpha code. So, if the species is ever split again, no effect on the continuity of the records at the banding lab.

  4. Good set. Mockingbirds are both entertaining and annoying, their songs are fascinating in their variety but they like to sing loudly all night long, not caring who is trying to sleep. Woe to you if one nests in a tree next to your bedroom window.

  5. Thanks for these. Alabama and the Northern flicker…that bird gets around; it resides in every state except Hawaii, just about every Canadian province and Mexico and Central America. And even though they are very common, I never get tired of them. I have a few around here that stay fat and healthy from my suet offerings.
    As a resident of Washington, I am happy to say that just yesterday I saw the first golden finch of the year- actually a mated (presumably) pair.

Leave a Reply