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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Cinnamon Teal

In April of last year a Cinnamon Teal was found in a puddle in farm field in southern Minnesota. It was keeping company with Blue-winged Teal. Cinnamon Teal are rare in Minnesota, a western species that rarely makes it this far east. I drove down to photograph the bird, my first opportunity to record this species. Farm fields aren’t the most scenic venues for photos, but, I take what’s offered. Two weeks ago, we were at Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge in Montana, just outside of the east-central town of Malta. The town and refuge are situated along U.S. Highway 2. The refuge has a 15-mile wildlife tour road that offered, on that day, the best refuge birding I’ve had anywhere. I suspect the refuge would be a wonderful place to bird in any but winter season. Five minutes into my visit I came upon a pond with this Cinnamon Teal and two others. Before the drive was finished I had seen 18 of this species. It’s no wonder that finding this bird here causes excitement among birders. It’s not only a rare sighting, but also a beautiful bird.

Brown Creeper diet

Brown Creepers use a non-stop foraging technique as they hunt for food in the cracks and crevices of tree trunks and branches. They appear to never pause long enough to actually capture the insects they seek. In the photo, a Brown Creeper has just pulled a tiny spider from behind a piece of bark. Given the size of the prey, it's no wonder they work ceasely and quickly to find food. It takes many spiders to fuel a creeper day, particularly in the winter. This photo was taken on a cold, blustery day in late April. The second photo, taken  elsewhere, illustrates the camoflauge the bird has developed to give it safety as it works in a relatively open fashion.

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