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Your search on all words in 'birdwatching' returned 586 results, Showing page 1 of 10, Items 1 through 60

Pileated woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus), Catoctin Mountain Park, 2015.. To locate the pileated woodpecker, look for large, oval holes in dying trees where the bird has been searching for its meals. Though often confused with the ivory-billed woodpecker (campephilus principalis), the pileated woodpecker is smaller and easily-recognized by its flaming red crest. NOTE: The ivory-billed woodpecker is likely extinct.

Pileated woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus), Catoctin Mountain Park, 2015.

Pileated woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus), Catoctin Mountain Park, 2015.. To locate the pileated woodpecker, look for large, oval holes in dying trees where the bird has been searching for its meals. Though often confused with the ivory-billed woodpecker (campephilus principalis), the pileated woodpecker is smaller and easily-recognized by its flaming red crest. NOTE: The ivory-billed woodpecker is likely extinct.

Pileated woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus), Catoctin Mountain Park, 2015.

Pileated woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus), Fort Washington Park, 2014.. This large, distinctive woodpecker doesn't migrate and should be fairly easy to spot in leafless trees during winter. To locate the pileated woodpecker, look for large, oval holes in dying trees where the bird has been searching for its meals. Though often confused with the ivory-billed woodpecker (campephilus principalis), the pileated woodpecker is smaller and easily-recognized by its flaming red crest. NOTE: The ivory-billed woodpecker is likely extinct.

Pileated woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus), Fort Washington Park, 2014.

Snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus) broken wing display, Gulf Islands National Seashore, 2015.. Snowy plovers are attentive, protective parents and perform this broken wing display to lure potential predators from its egg nest or hatchlings. If you see a bird performing this display, you should move slowly and carefully leave the area. That bird is simply trying to protect its nest or hatchlings from a threat -- you.

Snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus) broken wing display, Gulf Islands National Seashore, 2015.

Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), Cape Cod National Seashore, 2015.. At the time of colonial settlement, wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) were found almost throughout Massachusetts. As settlement progressed and land was cleared for buildings and agriculture, turkey populations diminished. By 1800, turkeys were rare in Massachusetts and by 1851 they had disappeared completely. In 1972 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts began a restoration effort in cooperation with the State of New York of trapping turkeys in southwestern NY and releasing them in Berkshire County. By 1976 the birds had established themselves to the point that there were sufficient numbers in Berkshire Co. to trap and release across the rest of the state, including 28 birds in Wellfleet in 1995. The eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) is now a common sight on the outer Cape.

Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), Cape Cod National Seashore, 2015.

Tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), Assateague Island National Seashore, 2015.. Tree swallows were given this common name because, probably not surprisingly, of their nesting preference for tree cavities. These territorial little birds will go to great lengths to chase away intruders - even tree swallow intruders! When nesting season is over, that territorial behavior disappears and they become very social animals (as seen in this photo.) At Assateague Island National Seashore, these birds head out to the beach or marsh in huge groups after nesting season. An excess of resources - insects, bayberry and red cedar berries - means they no longer need to defend a territory and will tolerate huge numbers of fellow tree swallows. As other flocks migrate through the area they may also join the group! As they journey further south for winter, the bulging flock may continue to grow into hundreds or even thousands of birds.

Tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), Assateague Island National Seashore, 2015.

Roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja), Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.. Roseate spoonbills are gregarious wading birds, related to the ibis. Along with herons, they feed in the shallows of fresh or coastal waters, often in groups. Rather than a piercing beak like a heron, the spoon-shaped bill allows it to sift through mud.

Roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja), Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.

Snowy egret (Egretta thula), Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.. This little white heron had a population crisis when its beautiful plumes were in demand by market hunters as decorations for women's hats. Now protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act the population has recovered. Snowy egrets nest in colonies in isolated places like barrier islands and marshes, often changing location from the previous year. Distinguish this white heron from other egrets or herons by its distinctive yellow feet with black legs as well as the yellow area in front of the eyes and on the upper part of its black bill that turns red during breeding season.

Snowy egret (Egretta thula), Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.

Birds flying down the beach, Padre Island National Seashore, 2015..

Birds flying down the beach, Padre Island National Seashore, 2015.

Black skimmers (Rynchops niger), Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2015.. This tern-like seabird is the largest of the skimmers. The black skimmer breeds on sandbanks or sandy beaches in the Americas. Like other birds that nest on beaches, the chicks have amazing camouflage and will leave the nest almost as soon as they hatch. Interestingly, the mandibles of hatchlings are the same length but rapidly become unequal during the fledging stage.

Black skimmers (Rynchops niger), Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2015.

Precocial chick on the beach, Cape Lookout National Seashore, 2015.. Please keep your distance from wildlife. Take photos with a telephoto lens.

Precocial chick on the beach, Cape Lookout National Seashore, 2015.

Semipalmated plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2015.. The name 'semipalmated' refers to this animal's partly-webbed feet. Some semipalmated plovers travel all the way from the Cape, the Caribbean or even South America to their summer spots in Canada and Alaska. This bird resembles the killdeer but is much smaller and has only one band. Like other plovers, this bird nests on the ground and exhibits the 'broken-wing' display to protect its nest from intruders.

Semipalmated plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2015.

Piping plover (Charadrius melodus) on a scrape, Assateague Island National Seashore, 2015.. Piping plovers are among the first migratory shorebirds to return to Assateague after a long winter. The males arrive early in March, usually a few weeks ahead of females. If he had a successful nest the previous year he will claim his old territory. The female will also return to their old nesting area - though she won't always mate with the same male! While preparing for breeding season, the male creates a scrape (i.e., the nest) by literally scraping out a little nest in the sand. To create a suitable depression he hunches down and repositions himself repeatedly while kicking out the sand. He even uses his chest to smooth out the ground while he moves from side to side. In an effort to attract the attention of any nearby females, he also calls continuously during the scrape-building activities. If there is no female interest in his scrape, he may sit in the scrape for a short period before flying off to try again in a new location!

Piping plover (Charadrius melodus) on a scrape, Assateague Island National Seashore, 2015.

Eastern phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), Catoctin Mountain Park, 2014.. This tyrant flycatcher's common name comes from its song, which sounds like 'fee-bee'. The eastern phoebe has a white throat, dirty breast and buff underparts. Two other Sayornis (phoebe) species exist: the black phoebe and Say's phoebe. Say's phoebe has distinctly cinnamon colored underparts and the black phoebe, true to its name, has predominantly black plumage with an inverted 'V' shaped white patch on its belly.

Eastern phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), Catoctin Mountain Park, 2014.

Pelicans (Pelecanidae) on the beach, Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.. Pelicans are a genus of large water birds with the characteristic long beaks and large throat pouches. These gregarious birds travel in flocks, hunt cooperatively and breed colonially. Interestingly, the four white-plumaged species tend to nest on the ground while the four brown/gray-plumed species nest mainly in trees.

Pelicans (Pelecanidae) on the beach, Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.

Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), Padre Island National Seashore, 2015.. One of the best known birds on the United States coasts, the brown pelican is one of only three pelican species found in the western hemisphere. Though known best for its large size, the brown pelican is actually the smallest of the eight species of pelican!

Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), Padre Island National Seashore, 2015.

Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), Padre Island National Seashore, 2015.. One of the best known birds on the United States coasts, the brown pelican is one of only three pelican species found in the western hemisphere. Though known best for its large size, the brown pelican is actually the smallest of the eight species of pelican!

Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), Padre Island National Seashore, 2015.

American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), Cape Lookout National Seashore, 2014.. Though uncommon at Cape Lookout NS in late fall, these striking American white pelicans were seen at Old Drum Inlet in October 2014. With a wingspan of about 8-feet, they are considerably larger than our resident brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis). Interestingly, these birds don't dive for meals. They swim cooperatively, surrounding fish and trapping them in their pouches.

American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), Cape Lookout National Seashore, 2014.

American oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus), Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2015.. This pair of American oystercatchers returned to Cap Hatteras National Seashore earlier than normal.

American oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus), Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2015.

American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus), Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.. Oystercatchers are closely tied to coastal habitats where they can use that large, heavy beak to pry open bivalve mollusks.

American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus), Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.

American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) hatchling, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2015.. Before this American oystercatcher matures into the distinctive orange-billed, black-headed, white-bellied shorebird often seen running along the coast hunting for bivalves, newly hatched chicks must rely on their mottled appearances to blend into the surrounding shell bed for safety.

American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) hatchling, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2015.

American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus), Assateague Island National Seashore, 2015.. Oystercatchers are closely tied to coastal habitats where they can use that large, heavy beak to pry open bivalve mollusks. This particular oystercatcher is 11 years old! How do we know that? The bands on its upper legs are from the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory. We know this bird was hatched on Smith Island, MD in the Chesapeake Bay and banded in 2004. When the Avian Monitoring Team first saw this bird early in the nesting season, it appeared to be alone. Much later in the season, though, this same bird was seen with another oystercatcher and three beautiful chicks! This bird is pretty old in bird years but it's not actually uncommon for this particular species. However, it is amazing that this older bird is still nesting and that it moved from the Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic coast to continue breeding.

American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus), Assateague Island National Seashore, 2015.

Least tern (Sternula antillarum) adult with hatchlings, Gulf Islands National Seashore, 2015.. This small, migratory tern is very similar in appearance to the little tern. Tell them apart by the little tern's white rump and the least tern's gray rump. Breeding colonies aren't dense and they prefer areas free from humans or predators. Both female and male parents incubate the eggs for about three weeks. Both parents will also tend to the semiprecocial young (that you can see in the photo crouching in the sand and hiding). It will take about four weeks for the hatchlings to be able to fly.

Least tern (Sternula antillarum) adult with hatchlings, Gulf Islands National Seashore, 2015.

White-tailed kite (Elanus leucurus), Point Reyes National Seashore, 2015.. Their coloration is gull-like but their shape and flight are falcon-like. Look for mostly white underparts with black wingtips and shoulders. Due to shooting and egg-collecting, the white-tailed kite was almost extinct in California in the 1940s. They are now more common, though their distribution is patchy. Look for this bird patrolling or hovering over lowland scrub or grassland hunting for their preferred prey, rodents.

White-tailed kite (Elanus leucurus), Point Reyes National Seashore, 2015.

Juvenile sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus), Fort Washington Park, 2015.. These rapters have distinctive proportions: long legs, short wings and very long tails. The tail tends to be square-tipped and may show a notch at the tip. Females are also considerably larger than males. Recognize the juvenile by its glowing yellow eye and brown back and wings. The adult will have dark red eyes along with dark grey crown and upperparts.

Juvenile sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus), Fort Washington Park, 2015.

American white ibis (Eudocimus albus), Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.. The downcurved bill, white plumage and pink facial skin of the adult are distinctive for this common bird. Adults also have black wingtips, which may only be visible during flight. Immature white ibises may be confused with a few other birds, including immature scarlet ibises (which may show bare skin around the face) and wood storks (which is much larger and has more black on its wings).

American white ibis (Eudocimus albus), Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias), National Capital Parks - East, 2013.. Breeding great blue herons gather in colonies or heronries to build stick nests high off the ground. Known for its dagger-like bill, slow walk while stalking prey and a conspicuous S-shaped curl in its neck, this species is the largest of the North American herons. This great blue heron didn't fly south for winter.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias), National Capital Parks - East, 2013.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias), National Capital Parks - East, 2013.. Breeding great blue herons gather in colonies or heronries to build stick nests high off the ground. Known for its dagger-like bill, slow walk while stalking prey and a conspicuous S-shaped curl in its neck, this species is the largest of the North American herons. This great blue heron didn't fly south for winter.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias), National Capital Parks - East, 2013.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias), National Capital Parks - East, 2014.. Breeding great blue herons gather in colonies or heronries to build stick nests high off the ground. Known for its dagger-like bill, slow walk while stalking prey and a conspicuous S-shaped curl in its neck, this species is the largest of the North American herons. This great blue heron didn't fly south for winter.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias), National Capital Parks - East, 2014.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias) taking off, National Capital Parks - East, 2014.. Breeding great blue herons gather in colonies or heronries to build stick nests high off the ground. Known for its dagger-like bill, slow walk while stalking prey and a conspicuous S-shaped curl in its neck, this species is the largest of the North American herons.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias) taking off, National Capital Parks - East, 2014.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias), National Capital Parks - East, 2015.. Breeding great blue herons gather in colonies or heronries to build stick nests high off the ground. Known for its dagger-like bill, slow walk while stalking prey and a conspicuous S-shaped curl in its neck, this species is the largest of the North American herons.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias), National Capital Parks - East, 2015.

Little blue heron (Egretta caerulea), National Capital Parks - East, 2015.. This small heron breeds in sub-tropical swamps of the Gulf states of the US, through Central America and the Caribbean south to Peru and Uruguay. It nests in colonies, often with other herons and usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. Like other birds of the genus Egretta, the little blue heron methodically stalks its prey in shallow water.

Little blue heron (Egretta caerulea), National Capital Parks - East, 2015.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias) silhouette, National Mall and Memorial Parks, 2015..

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias) silhouette, National Mall and Memorial Parks, 2015.

Gulls (Laridae), Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.. Often mistakenly called seagulls, gulls typically live in coastal or inland habitats and rarely venture far out to sea. Most gulls are actually ground-nesting, opportunistic scavengers and are probably the least-specialized of all seabirds. They are adept at walking on land, hovering in the air and can take off quickly with little space. Gulls have worldwide distribution: they breed on every continent, even Antarctica!

Gulls (Laridae), Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.

Northern gannet (Morus bassanus), Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2015.. This northern gannet was rescued by park biologists on Bodie Island in January 2015. This bird was entangled in two different types of fishing line - both braided and monofilament. The lines were wrapped around both of its wings as well as its beak. After the lines were successfully (and carefully) removed, the bird was released without permanent injury. This is why it's so important to responsibly dispose of fishing line -- or any other piece of human-made trash.

Northern gannet (Morus bassanus), Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2015.

Scissor-tailed flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus), Assateague Island National Seashore, 2015.. RARE: warm weather brings all kinds of visitors to Assateague, including rare visitors that probably shouldn't be here at all. This wayward scissor-tailed flycatcher has an outrageously long tail and dark salmon-colored patches under its wing. During summer months, these birds can be found in open habitat throughout Texas and parts of the southern Great Plains states. As this image shows, scissor-tailed flycatchers actively hunt for insects on the wing anywhere between ground level up to 30-feet in the air.

Scissor-tailed flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus), Assateague Island National Seashore, 2015.

Mother duck with her ducklings, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2015..

Mother duck with her ducklings, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 2015.

Downy woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens), Fire Island National Seashore, 2015.. The downy woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker in North America. Distinguish the nearly-identical downy and hairy woodpeckers: the hairy woodpecker's bill is about equal length to its head while the downy woodpecker's bill is shorter than its head. The downy woodpecker also has black spots on its white tail feathers.

Downy woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens), Fire Island National Seashore, 2015.

Least tern trying to intimidate a ghost crab, Assateague Island National Seashore, 2015.. The Avian Monitoring Team snapped this photo as they came upon two ghost crabs (Ocypodinae) actively trying to prey upon this least tern's (Sternula antillarum) nest. Least terns, like many shorebirds, lay their eggs directly on the sand. Even though they are nearly-perfectly camouflaged, they are still sometimes found by predators. When this happens, the parent bird(s) will try to dissuade predators by employing a variety of intimidation tactics, including the "I'm bigger than you buddy, so back off!" approach captured in this photo. Their defensive repertoire even includes dive-bombing and defecating on a predator in an attempt to scare it away from the nest.

Least tern trying to intimidate a ghost crab, Assateague Island National Seashore, 2015.

Roseate spoonbill and tricolored heron, Canaveral National Seashore, 2015.. This roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) and tricolored heron (Egretta tricolor) were caught walking through the lagoon together. Distinguish this heron from similar birds by its white belly. Both the similar little blue heron and the great blue heron lack a white belly. The little blue heron also lacks the white line down the throat and white head plumes of this tricolored heron. Roseate spoonbills are gregarious wading birds, related to the ibis. Along with herons, it feeds in shallow fresh or coastal waters, often in groups. However, rather than a piercing beak like a heron, its spoon-shaped bill allows it to sift through mud for its meals.

Roseate spoonbill and tricolored heron, Canaveral National Seashore, 2015.

Shorebirds congregate before migrating together, Cape Cod National Seashore, 2015.. Fall is a great time for birdwatching in the national seashore as thousands of migrating birds congregate here to rest and feed (which is called staging) before making marathon migrations. Species like terns must build body mass and fat reserves necessary to fuel their 4,500-mile southern migrations. Please help the birds conserve the energy they need for migrating by walking around -- and not through -- flocks and by always keeping pets on leash. In November 2015 the national seashore will release its Draft Shorebird Management Plan.

Shorebirds congregate before migrating together, Cape Cod National Seashore, 2015.

Birds congregating on the beach, Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015..

Birds congregating on the beach, Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.

Common loon (Gavia immer), Gulf Islands National Seashore, 2015.. A loon will spend most of its life in the water because it has limited ability to move around on land. The body position of the loon's legs, as demonstrated by this photo, is what makes it such an excellent swimmer. They will come ashore sometimes to rest, though, as this tired loon shows.

Common loon (Gavia immer), Gulf Islands National Seashore, 2015.

Common loon (Gavia immer), Gulf Islands National Seashore, 2015.. A loon will spend most of its life in the water because it has limited ability to move around on land. The body position of the loon's legs, as demonstrated by this photo, is what makes it such an excellent swimmer. They will come ashore sometimes to rest, though, as this tired loon shows.

Common loon (Gavia immer), Gulf Islands National Seashore, 2015.

Snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus) near its nest, Gulf Islands National Seashore, 2015.. Snowy plovers are attentive, protective parents and perform this broken wing display to lure potential predators from its egg nest or hatchlings. If you see a bird performing this display, you should move slowly and carefully leave the area. That bird is simply trying to protect its nest or hatchlings from a threat -- you.

Snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus) near its nest, Gulf Islands National Seashore, 2015.

Young American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus), Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.. Before this American oystercatcher matures into the recognizable orange-billed, black-headed, white-bellied shorebird that we all know, newly-hatched chicks and young birds rely on their mottled appearances to blend into the shore for safety.

Young American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus), Cumberland Island National Seashore, 2015.

Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River, 2015.. This photo was taken behind the Zane Grey Museum. Pileated woodpeckers are a very large woodpecker with long neck and long bill which is usually the length of its head. They drill distinctive rectangular shaped holes in rotten wood to feast on woodpecker ants and other insects. The holes they make offer shelter to many species, including owls and bats. Often confused with the ivory-billed woodpecker (campephilus principalis), the pileated woodpecker is smaller. Note: the ivory-billed woodpecker is likely extinct.

Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River, 2015.

Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, 2015.. Pileated woodpeckers are a very large woodpecker with a long neck and long bill, usually the length of its head. To locate the pileated woodpecker, look for large, oval holes in dying trees where the bird searches for its meals. They drill distinctive rectangular shaped holes in rotten wood to feast on woodpecker ants and other insects. These holes will offer shelter to many species, including owls and bats. Often confused with the ivory-billed woodpecker (campephilus principalis), the pileated woodpecker is smaller and easily-recognized by its flaming red crest. NOTE: The ivory-billed woodpecker is likely extinct.

Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, 2015.

Yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronata), Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, 2015.. Animals must prepare for winter in various ways. A great strategy is simply to avoid winter altogether! Many birds, like warblers and hummingbirds, leave home for places where there are plenty of insects and nectar for food. South and Central America are great destinations for these birds when winter reaches North America.

Yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronata), Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, 2015.

Tundra swan (Cygnus columbianus), Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, 2015.. Tundra swans migrate from their tundra nesting sites southwestward where they pass through the recreation area. From here they fly to their important migration feeding sites further south along the river. They finish their epic migration on the east coast of North America.

Tundra swan (Cygnus columbianus), Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, 2015.

Trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator), Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, 2015.. The trumpeter swan is the heaviest living bird native to North America and one of the heaviest animals capable of flight. Once extirpated from Minnesota and the upper Mississippi River, they are once again becoming common.

Trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator), Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, 2015.

Tern (Sternidae), Missouri National Recreational River, 2012..

Tern (Sternidae), Missouri National Recreational River, 2012.

Tern (Sternidae), Missouri National Recreational River, 2012..

Tern (Sternidae), Missouri National Recreational River, 2012.

Least tern (Sternula antillarum), Niobrara National Scenic River, 2015.. This interior population of the least tern consists of about 21,600 pairs. It is not currently listed as federally threatened though particular populations are considered threatened in many of the states in which it breeds. Threats include predators, high tides and - probably most importantly - human use of nesting beaches.

Least tern (Sternula antillarum), Niobrara National Scenic River, 2015.

Swans (Cygnus) on the ice, Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, 2015.. Animals must prepare for winter in various ways. Because eagles and swans get most of their food in the water, they will actually hang around into winter as long as there are stretches of ice-free river on which to live and hunt. Their feathers are great insulators so one of the birds' top priorities in the fall is making sure their plumage remains in great condition for the winter ahead.

Swans (Cygnus) on the ice, Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, 2015.

Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, 2015.. Pileated woodpeckers are the largest woodpeckers in the park. They are a very large woodpecker with a long neck and long bill, usually the length of its head. To locate this bird, look for large, oval holes in dying trees where the bird searches for its meals. The only similar North American bird is the presumed-extinct ivory-billed woodpecker.

Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, 2015.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, 2015.. This fish-eating bird of prey lives in a wide variety of habitats, usually nesting near a body of water.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, 2015.

Red-breasted nuthatch (Sitta canadensis), Niobrara National Scenic River, 2011.. This nuthatch forages on trunks and large branches of trees, often descending head first. You may also see them catching insects in flight. The name 'nuthatch' appears to be a linguistic corruption of 'nuthack', which refers to the bird's habit of wedging nuts into cracks in tree bark and hacking at them until they break open! Not surprisingly, the name 'red-breasted nuthatch' name also refers to the male's rusty colored underparts.

Red-breasted nuthatch (Sitta canadensis), Niobrara National Scenic River, 2011.

Little green heron (Butorides virescens), Buffalo National River, 2015.. Little green herons are small compared to other heron species. Their long neck is also often tucked in as they crouch on the shoreline. These little birds have distinct thick yellow/orange legs. Their plumage is a combination of rich dark greens, browns, blue-greens and deep reds. Similar to other riparian birds, little green herons stalk their prey. Look for them on the river's edge, waiting for small animals to move within striking distance. You may even see one dangling twigs or bugs in the water to lure a fish into its grasp!

Little green heron (Butorides virescens), Buffalo National River, 2015.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias), Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, 2015.. Great blue herons are a common large wading bird in the recreation area during spring and summer. This large wading bird is usually found near shores of open water and in wetlands. With a wingspan of 66-79 inches and a height of 45-54 inches, it is the largest North American heron. For comparison, this makes them around twice as heavy as great egrets (Ardea alba), though only slightly taller.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias), Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, 2015.