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Tag Archive | "Jennifer August"

Sunflowers stand tall


N-Sunflower-AugustJennifer August sent us this photo of daughters Danielle and Lizzie standing beneath a 12-foot-7-inch sunflower their grandpa is growing in Algoma Township. That’s a towering flower! Thanks so much sending us a photo!

How tall are your sunflowers? Send them our way! Email your photos with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com. Tell us your name, who is in the photo, and what city/township you live in, how tall your sunflower is. Also tell us anything special you do when planting to make it grow tall.

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What kind of bird is this?


Jennifer August of Solon Township has been seeing some bright blue birds around her home, and this week she brought in some photos she had taken over the weekend.

“At first I had just one bird, and then by the end of the weekend, there were three,” she told us. She said at first she thought they were indigo buntings, but then after looking at her bird book, wondered if they might be blue grosbeaks.

We sent the photos on to our resident expert, Ranger Steve Mueller. Here is his response:

“The two look similar. Blue Grosbeaks have been recorded in Michigan but the pictures are of an Indigo Bunting. The grosbeak would have brown wingbars. One of the pictures shows the bill and it is slimmer than a Blue Grosbeak’s bill. Those two feathers give reason to call it a Indigo Bunting.”

N-Indigo-bunting-vs-blue-grosbeak-BirdfeederBook

This National Audubon Bird Feeding book shows what a blue grosbeak would look like. Notice the notation about the wingbars.

We asked Steve for clarification on the wing bars. “The brown wing bars are quite distinct groups of small feathers that make small elongated patches about an inch long and 1/4 inch wide on the Blue Grosbeak. The Indigo Bunting may have some scattered brown feathers but they do not make a distinct patch,” explained Steve.

He said that the bunting is smaller than the grosbeak and the Blue Grosbeak is smaller than other grosbeaks. “The bill shape is very helpful. The bunting bill is conical and the grosbeak bill is larger and more rounded.”

Thanks, Jennifer, for your photos!

Please send us your bird and other wildlife photos news@cedarspringspost with some information and a contact number. We will print them as space allows.

 

 

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Why are these robins spotted?


This bird was photographed by Betty VanderWal and sent to Ranger Steve.

This bird was photographed by Betty VanderWal and sent to Ranger Steve.

This bird was photographed by Jennifer August in Solon Township.

This bird was photographed by Jennifer August in Solon Township.

Jennifer August, of Solon Township, sent us this photo of an American Robin, with feathers that look like they are missing some pigment. We sent the photo on to Ranger Steve Mueller, our wildlife and botanical expert, and he told us that it is a partially albino (or pied) robin.

He said he also received pictures this week of the same type of bird (or possibly the same bird) from Betty VanderWal.

And the condition is not as rare as you might think. “My ornithology instructor, Harold Mahan at Central Michigan University wrote an ornithology textbook with George J. Wallace from Michigan State University. They commented that partial albinism is common and is most frequently reported in robins, crows, sparrows, and red-winged blackbirds,” he explained.

Albinos have white feathers lacking pigment and reflect all the light making them appear white.

“Complete albinism is a genetic disorder that often results in death at a young age in affected individuals,” wrote Steve. “They often experience other physical problems.”

He said that the partial albinism is referred to as the pied state and may be patchy, forming a mosaic like is pictured in the photos. “Such individuals may live well without the serious health effects that happen in complete albinos,” noted Steve. “A pied robin returned to a banding station in Pennsylvania for eight years.”

He added that they have several mounted specimens of partially albino house sparrows at Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16190 Red Pine Dr NW, Kent City, and he encourages readers to go visit and take a look at them. Visit http://lilysfrogpad.com to learn more about the Nature Center’s open hours.

 

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