Readers’ wildlife photos

October 24, 2021 • 8:00 am

It’s Sunday, and that means it’s the Day of Avise, in which we get a themed batch of bird photos by biologist John Avise. His commentary and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them.

Wyoming Birds

I recently returned from a wonderful family vacation to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks in Wyoming.  The scenery and autumn colors were magnificent, the mammals (e.g., elk, bison, and chipmunks) were abundant, and I even managed to photograph several bird
species that will be the subject of this Sunday’s post.

Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus)

Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus):

Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia):

Black-billed Magpie flying:

Gray Jay (Perisorius canadensis):

Gray Jay head portrait:

Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri):

Steller’s Jay frontal view:

Common Raven (Corvus corax):

Common Raven head portrait:

Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) male:

Red Crossbill pair:

American Coots (Fulica americana):

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides):

European Starlings (Sturnus vulgarus) on American Bison (Bison bison) [JAC: I don’t think they’re spaced randomly!]:

8 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Very nice, as always from this photographer! Something to look forward to each Sunday morning along with my coffee.

  2. Great pictures! I’ve always thought that the minimum spacing of birds on a linear perch was determined by the space each needs for a clean takeoff. Those wings need clearance!

  3. As a long-time birder, I always look forward to John Avise’s Sunday bird photos. This batch didn’t disappoint. Thank you.

    In 2017, a small population of red crossbills was determined to be a separate species: Cassia crossbill (Loxia sinesciuris). It occurs in a small area in Southern Idaho. As the Grand Tetons aren’t that far away, I wondered whether the birds in the photos could actually be Cassia crossbills. Apparently the species is quite sedentary, however, (unlike red crossbill), so I conclude that these are indeed reds.

    As I mentioned in a comment to an earlier post, the Grey Jay (Canadian spelling) was renamed Canada Jay in 2018. Although I’ve seen references on the internet suggesting that this was because Canada adopted the species as its national bird, the actual American Ornithological Society document doesn’t mention this (it turns out that Canada has not officially made the species its national bird; rather, a poll conducted in a well-known magazine showed readers favoured it). The AOS states that the species used to be called the Canada Jay way back when, and there then followed a time when English names were given to subspecies, rather than to the species as a whole. One subspecies of the species in question was called the Canada Jay at that time and another the Grey Jay. When this practice was abandoned, the English name for the species should have reverted to Canada Jay but for some reason Grey Jay was chosen. Many decades later the mistake has been corrected (just as I was finally used to Grey Jay, which I had always felt was a pretty boring name). The fact that the scientific name is Perisoreus canadensis and that the two other species in the genus Perisoreus have geographic English names was also mentioned as justification. Sorry—I may be the only interested in this stuff!

  4. Western Wyoming is beautiful…Eastern Wyoming, not so much, though it’s pretty in its own way. Thanks for this batch of pretty birds, the flying magpie is especially splendid.

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