• This bird legs it out
    This bird isn’t really walking on stilts. It just looks like it. The Black-necked Stilt is elongated in every way, with long thin legs that actually measure 8 to 10 inches, a long neck, long narrow wings and a long, very thin beak. This bird actually stands 14 inches tall and has a 29-inch wing span, and in flight its long, trailing legs are very noticeable. You recognize its males for being black on top and white underneath, with red legs. The female is very similar except she has dark brown on her back from her neck back to her tail.
  • A messy, overbearing fish-catcher
    The Double-crested Cormorant is the only one of its species that inhabits fresh water. It is very common on the coast as well as on large bodies of water. It breeds from Newfoundland, northern Ontario, central Saskatchewan and the Alaska Peninsula south to the Bahamas, Isle of Pines and southern California, and it has been nesting in Kentucky since 2002, in Calloway County on southern Kentucky Lake in a small colony with herons.
  • Well-hidden, this owl is difficult to find
    The Northern Saw-Whet Owl, what a name! It apparently came from early on bird observers who seemed to think that this little owl's mating call resembled the sound made by a saw being sharpened by a whetstone. Modern day ornithologists describe the song as being a repeated low, whistled toot such as “poo poo poo” or “toit toit toit.” In addition you might hear a wheezy, rising, catlike screech “shweeee,” a soft nasal bark “keew” or “pew” and a soft whining “eeeooi.”
  • A rare bird is becoming even more rate
    My first actual experience with the Black-billed Cuckoo was on Sept. 6, 1976, when I was able to discover the second nest of this species ever recorded in Kentucky. It contained four eggs and was 8 feet above the ground in the Lyon County portion of the 170,000-acre Land-Between-the-Lakes National Recreational Area in Western Kentucky.
  • A bird that stays on the move
    The Red-Breasted Nuthatch can move both up and down tree trunks, which is in contrast to woodpeckers, which only can move up a tree. The reason for this is because nuthatches use their strong legs and feet as a balancing act, but woodpeckers use their feet and then their tails as a brace to climb up the tree. The Red-Breasted Nuthatch’s call is an "ank," more abrupt, nasal and higher pitched than the "yank" that constitutes the call of the more common White-breasted Nuthatch.
  • This beauty battles a beast
    A more beautiful woodpecker than the Red-headed Woodpecker would be almost impossible to find, and even then, it would be a matter of opinion. The Red-headed Woodpecker has a bright red head and neck with conspicuous white inner wings and rump. The rest of the body is black, which can give off a slight bluish tinge in the bright sunlight, a coloration that certainly makes this bird a strong candidate for the most patriotic bird in America.
  • This bird’s future is hampered poisons.
    I had not seen or heard a Dickcissel in Shelby County since the early 1980s until the late spring of 2010. I was just north of Shelbyville on Ben Zaring's farm on the east side of Smithfield Road, searching for another species of bird, when I heard the telltale song that always gives this bird's location away. The Dickcissel sings out his name with his song of "dick-dick-cissel" that is repeated over and over again.
  • Great Blue Heron’s habitat continues to grow locally
    The accompanying photograph of a first year Great Blue Heron, with a fish in its mouth, was part of an observed episode that took place on a bitterly cold winter day. This bird was out in the middle of a deep hole of water on Guist Creek Lake in Shelby County. The lake was solidly frozen, except for this little patch of open water that the Great Blue was not allowing to freeze, due to his or her activities.
  • This bird is cuckoo for caterpillars
    Growing up on farms in Shelby and Spencer counties was an educational adventure within itself, and I highly recommend that as a way to raise your children, if at all possible. Recent studies are showing that the average child spends at least 50 hours a week watching TV or playing computer games, time that could be more wisely spent enjoying and learning about the many wonders of the surrounding natural world.
  • This bird’s name is well-deserved
    This is one of my favorite birds, and the major reason because it is well known in the bird world as the "King of Song." It is the very best of the mockers and can duplicate the songs of at least 30 different bird species in rapid succession. Each phrase of the songs can be repeated two to six times, but it is usually three times. Add to this a variety of sounds from whistles to barks, and you may even hear the tinkling sound of a piano or the sound of a squeaky hinge.