Category Archives: Bohemian Waxwing

Ontario – Part 2: Crest Feathers

I found it interesting watching the way the elongated tufts of feathers on some of the birds that we saw change shape. Crest plumes enhance the outline of a bird and are raised as a visual display to either attract the opposite sex or as a threat display.

Bohemian Waxwings (above) spend most of the time with their smooth, sleek, perfectly coiffed crest retracted. During courtship the male feeds the female with a berry and will raise the crest as part of the courtship display. It was noticeable that when two birds went for the same berries that one of them would lift the crest slightly.

The male Pileated Woodpecker (above) has a large all red crest which extends from the bill to the nape. Each time it flew and landed on a tree trunk it would raise its crest for a short time before relaxing it once it felt safe. This was probably done as a warning to any other bird that might be around that this was his tree.

I often see Blue Jays (right) land on a branch, squawking away with their brilliant blue head feathers erect. Like the woodpecker this is to show who is in charge and let the others know exactly where they are. One of the Blue Jays that we saw in Algonquin, had its back to the wind, which produced a somewhat ruffled and comical head dress.

all photos © adrian binns

ONTARIO – Part 2: The Big Three

We were back on Amherst Island shortly after dawn watching a male Snowy Owl stalking prey and distant Short-eared Owls making their last forays before settling in for the day. It was far warmer and windier today and we seemed to dodge the snow they were calling for this morning. The open water around onContinue Reading