Annual Horicon Marsh Bird Festival Weekend

Yellow Warbler at the Horicon Marsh

Yellow Warbler

Sunny Yellow Warblers flitted among the willows along the auto tour on the Horicon Marsh today.  The annual bird festival is in full swing and multitudes of birders have traveled to the Marsh to enjoy the abundant spring birds.  The weather is gorgeous and the plentiful sounds of cheery songbirds fill the air.

Black-crowned Night-Heron at the Horicon Marsh

Black-crowned Night-Heron

This Black-crowned Night-Heron paused among the broken reeds along Highway 49.  Unlike the perky sounding songbirds, he emits a raspy squawk.

Canada Geese at the Horicon Marsh

Canada Geese

Canada Geese typically extend their neck forward and put their head down when they are aggressively encountering an enemy.  Perhaps, they are giving the kids a lesson in how to protect their children some day.  The goslings are taking it in with rapt attention.

Occupied Nesting Box at the Horicon Marsh

Occupied Nesting Box

This nesting box caught my attention from the road as I drove by early in the day.  I came back this evening to take a closer look.

Eastern Screech-Owl at the Horicon Marsh

Eastern Screech-Owl Adult Red Morph

What an exciting discovery! The nesting box was probably toasty and the Eastern Screech-Owl popped her head out and napped.  I imagine sitting on eggs for 30 days is a bit tiring.  The male was most likely hiding in a nearby tree.  He would hunt for food at night and bring it to her while she is nesting.  There are likely 2-6 eggs.  There is also a gray morph of this species.

I met a couple who were also checking on the owl.  They came out from Madison and joined the morning birding bus tour for the bird festival.  One hundred and twenty-five birds were identified this morning!

Painted Turtles at the Horicon Marsh

Painted Turtles

Fifteen painted turtles came out to enjoy the sunny, warm day.

Purple Martin at the Horicon Marsh

Purple Martin

Purple Martins look rather crabby, don’t you think? This fellow was perched on the martin houses on the Palmatory Street overlook.  Purple Martins are the largest North American Swallow.  They get all their food while flying by dining on flying insects.

Female Purple Martins at the Horicon Marsh

Female Purple Martins

These Female Purple Martins are checking up on one another.  Spend a few minutes watching the birds at these houses, and it is evident they are quite social.

What a treat to see such a variety of birds at the Horicon Marsh annual bird festival!

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