2014 Oregon Outdoors Wild Bird Photo Contest

To enter the 15th annual contest, fill out an online registration form and upload your photos on our website at www.mailtribune.com/birdcontest.

Entries must be received by 5 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 17.
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Success of the starling

Success of the starling

European starlings are wildly successful by any measure. Discounting a failed attempt to introduce them in Portland in the late 1800s, the first individual was observed in Oregon in 1943. Populations quickly exploded, and just 20 years later they were abundant throughout.

Starlings are despised by many, and I wonder why. OK, they can be an agricultural pest, especially around fruit, but so can robins. Maybe beautiful singers get a pass. Yes, starlings can overwhelm a feeder and chase...

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Out of the blue

Out of the blue

There are many questions parents dread to hear from their children. They have the potential to embarrass, some because they involve topics seldom discussed among polite company, others because you feel you really should know the answer. Let me help you with one of the latter.

“Why is the sky blue?” The answer to this seemingly simple question also explains the blue of bluebirds, jays and many other birds with blue feathers. First, it is important to note that there are no....

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Eye placement is a matter of survival

Eye placement is a matter of survival

The wind blows over the marsh on a cool afternoon, and the reeds sway gently in the breeze. I’ll bet you never saw the American bittern concealed among the vegetation. I’m quite sure I have missed many.

Standing bolt upright with bill pointed to the sky, bitterns are nearly invisible. The vertical brown stripes on the breast blend nearly perfectly with the vegetation. To complete the deceit, the bird even rocks back and forth slightly as the reeds rustle.

There are.....

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Poorwills are shy, but they're out there

Poorwills are shy, but they're out there

The heat of a late summer afternoon begs for a nap, and people aren’t the only ones feeling drowsy. Some mammals have already checked out for a summer nap, and they have every intention of rolling the snooze right on through to next spring. The Belding’s ground squirrels of the Klamath Basin are gone except for maybe a few young still trying to pack on a few more ounces before the long sleep. Marmots, too, are settling down for an eight-month slumber. What a life. more »
This bird isn't always among the pines

This bird isn't always among the pines

"The uniquely patterned white-headed woodpecker is restricted to mixed coniferous forests dominated by pines..." So goes the text in the authoritative set of volumes entitled the "Birds of North America." This series summarizes all that is known about each species. The only problem with volumes like this is that birds can't read.
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Bird world is a busy place right now

Bird world is a busy place right now

Up and over the short cherry tree, swinging around in a graceful S-curve, it sweeps up to the nest box. It pauses for only a moment as it feeds one of the young and is off again.
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No joy in California towhee's song

No joy in California towhee's song

Birdsong brings great joy to many. A robin song on an early March day as winter is loosening its grip reminds us that warmer days filled with flowers and more birdsong are soon approaching. I smile as I zip my coat just a little bit higher.
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Birding Bonanza

Birding Bonanza

A handful of eager birders may come face to face with the rare great gray owl later this month when they visit a nesting site on an undisclosed mountain somewhere in Southern Oregon.
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Jackson County welcomes the grackle

Jackson County welcomes the grackle

There's a new kid in town. This one is a large blackbird with an outrageous tail, appropriately named the great-tailed grackle.
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Greenway flyway

Greenway flyway

"Birds have wings," goes an old saying. "They can turn up anywhere."
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Believe it or not, jays do have a song

Believe it or not, jays do have a song

The late winter sun provides a touch of warmth while I'm working in the yard, and the first tentative songs are beginning to break the winter silence. A dark-eyed junco rises to the top of a small tree for a few sweet, trilled songs. Some mornings, a few robin songs are heard in the neighbor's yard but nothing proud or sustained. Then there are the collared doves. Do they ever stop singing?
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Listen for the quail's call of 'chi-ca-go'

Listen for the quail's call of 'chi-ca-go'

Rustle. Rustle. Cluck. Cluck. Cluck. Whooosh! Ten? Fifteen? More? Who can tell? The plump birds explode from the shrubs along the driveway and sail off into the neighbor's yard.
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Berry, berry good for robins

Berry, berry good for robins

Around the world, there are clay-colored thrushes, island thrushes, creamy-bellied thrushes, rufous-backed robins, bare-eyed thrushes, Siberian thrushes and common (Eurasian) blackbirds. These and more all are closely related to our American robin.
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Hats off to those tough little hummers

Hats off to those tough little hummers

They should all be dead. The hummingbirds.
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