Local Feathers~

Stellar Jays live in the pine forests in Southern California’s mountains.

Oregon Dark Eyed Juncos are local birds and are related to sparrows.

Burrowing Owls are “a species of special concern,” in Southern California, where much of their natural habitat has been destroyed by development. Petitions are being submitted to the state to change their status to endangered.

This handsome jay was hanging out on a picnic table, waiting for a handout.

So, of course, I gave him one!

Juncos are quite tiny, and rather shy, so they are hard for me to photograph. This guy was unusually cooperative!

Burrowing owls nest underground to hide from raptors and raise their young. People and organizations all over California are setting up underground Burrowing Owl boxes to help shelter and protect these adorable owls. It is a rare thrill to see them out of the boxes curious about the human who is photographing them! These guys were being sheltered by The Big Bear Zoo & Rehabilitation Center.

Cheers to you from a few of our local feathers~

261 thoughts on “Local Feathers~

  1. Wonderful photos, Cindy. Your Stellar Jay shots really celebrate how striking they are. And the owls…so amazing and adorable. And those little juncos are pretty birds. Great post.

      1. Magnificent bird photos!

        The light blue feathers on the forehead of the Steller’s jay are intriguing.  I saw some Steller’s jays on a trip west many years ago (and have often seen pix), but those feathers were completely new to me.  Thanks for the link.  Maybe “your” jay’s decorations are a special response to holler hospitality? πŸ˜‰

      2. I wondered if that coloration might be a regional variation. I should clarify, however, that I’m not a biologist: all my degrees are in the social sciences. Everything I know about wildlife is self-taught.

        Thanks for the link!

    1. They are sooo small, but they are a bit bulky, with kinda spindly, longish legs. These are stocky little guys, with big heads like all owls, to hold their massive night vision eyes. Here are their specs. Height includes legs:
      Length: 7.5-9.8 in (19-25 cm)
      Weight: 5.3 oz (150 g)

  2. Oh, Cindy, I love all of them so much. Absolutely beautiful, each and every one. I’m going to reblog this, so more people can have the thrill of seeing your photographs. If that’s not okay, just let me know and I’ll take it off my blog. So beautiful. <3

  3. Pingback: Local Feathers~ β€” (look at these amazing photographs from Cindy Knoke) | Rethinking Life

  4. We have Steller’s jays here in British Columbia. Last winter there were lots of them spending the winter in Victoria; some came to my feeders. None this winter, though. Juncos are regulars here until May, when they all go elsewhere for the summer. Not burrowing owls, although they do live in Saskatchewan. They were endangered there already back in the ’80s. Pesticides used against grasshoppers were the problem, I think. Not sure how they’re doing now. It’s good to hear people are helping them out where you live. Thanks so much for the photos!

    1. This is why I love BC <3 And Vancouver Island is, well nirvana. I am heading up near there soon to see the orcas again. The Department of Fish & Game is fighting the petition to declare California's burrowing owls endangered because they say they can't get a good count. Which is very true. They can't get a good count because there are hardly any left to count. The Department of Fish and Game represents people who love to fish, and people who refer to wild animals and wild birds as "game." Res Ipsa Loquitur.

      1. Aargh! The southern resident orcas are also in danger of disappearing, so I hope you manage to see them. More and more people are becoming aware of their plight. Folks like you sharing photos of birds and animals help create awareness.

        1. I have been twice before to see them. The first trip there were many, the second none, we shall see on the third. Orca behavior is changing due to the absence of prey. It is depressing what we are doing to our beautiful wild world.

  5. The jays are handsome chaps. So interesting to see the North American variations on sparrow, corvid and owls. Loss of habitat is a massive problem to world over, humans need to make big changes.

    1. Birds that especially stand out due to coloration and beauty seem more shy and reclusive, as if they know they stand out and are nervous about it. Scientists are actually studying birds for this sense of self in the world.

  6. I’d gladly take care of those tiny owls, Cindy! Such stunning creatures, with wisdom pouring from their eyes. We have Jays, but they don’t look like yours. Ours have more white and light blue coloring, without the black crest. Splendid photos — thank you!

  7. OH MY!!!!!!!! Owls, the eyes of one is watching you closely. The are amazing creatures. I find myself saying that about almost all animals. Not roaches, snakes, spiders, fire ants. I could live without. πŸ™‚

  8. I really like burrowing owls, Cindy. Fun photos. They used to nest along a bank next to Cal Expo and the American River. Fluffy delights. As for Juncos and Stellars, there are hundreds of the former and dozens of the latter hanging out at our house now. –Curt

  9. Have you ever noticed that that birds have penetrating eyes? That was the first thought that came to me when I was viewing your phots. Birds recognize our presence and seem to anticipate our next move, judging the distance that is required to keep them out of our reach. Sometimes (well, quite often) I wonder if we are the most intelligent creature that walks, flies, swims this earth. Hugs!

  10. The Stellar Jay’s are certainly…, stellar…and they have blue eyebrows! Our juncos are quite drab by comparison, Cindy, only double shaded gray, but still beautiful in their own birdish way. Is Spring ever going to get here? I’m still sitting here looking at a frozen lake with snow and freezing rain in the forecast for the rest of the week…yuck!!!!!. 😁s from the hinterlands

    1. And I want to be there right now and see/photograph the snowy hinterlands, but, I hear you, it would be hard month after month. I just flew up to see my new twin baby 5 month old grandsons in Northern Cali. I couldn’t believe the snowpack flying back on SoCali mountain ranges. The years long drought just got slammed by precipitation, and there is more due on Saturday. Stay warm cuz. Spring is almost here <3

    1. Thank you! I was admiring your photos and I think we are neighbors. I recognized many of the places in your photos, including your cover photo of Torrey Pines towards La Jolla. Beautiful!

      1. Oh that’s awesome. That spot in Torrey Pines is so beautiful ❀️ Do you have the green parrots flying around in your area right now too then? I just can’t get enough of them. They’re loud but so pretty.

        1. I have been trying to find them. I’ve been driving all over and always seem to miss them. Where and when are you seeing them????? I know they are in Pt Loma, OB, La Jolla (where I grew up) sometimes. Where and when are you seeing them????? I will go immediately. I am in love with wild parrots. Lucky you!

          1. Aw I’m sorry. I’m totally in love with them too! They’re so beautiful. I’d say best time is in the morning between 8 and 10. It’s kind of hard to say where but if you park and listen you might be able to locate them. Point Loma and Coronado. They’re not by the beach ( seagull territory). I’ve seen them quite a few times on Orange ave by Chase bank in coronado. I hear them right now as I’m writing this. And it’s 7:45am. I hope that helps and that you’ll get to see them soon. Last year I got photos of them eating these flowers and apples. Maybe I should make a blog post on that πŸ˜‰πŸ˜„

            1. Thank you so much for the tips! Please do the blog post! And alert me that you did. I want to see them!
              I know they forage during the day, and I am usually looking either, early or late. I love parrots so much.
              They are wise and beautiful birds. I am envious that you have them wild around you in San Diego.

      1. Cindy, for about 10 years, my husband Dave and I had what turned out to be like a bird sanctuary. We had feeders, fountains for drinking, and bathing for the birds (all kinds) as well as humming bird feeders, We also had little bird homes strategically placed for safety for the birds from predators. We had a large backyard with a small forest of different types of trees and vegetation…for the birds. We has a gazebo for them as well. Our property was a cacophony of wonderful conversations between birds, baby birds, and any danger about. Everybody do it and to hide in the little bird houses. My husband and I would set on our covered porch and watch all the goings on in “bird land”, it was wonderful. So, I love you pictures of all animals, but birds I love the best. Thank you again, for sharing these wonderful photos.

          1. Liz, yes…it was lovely and amazing. Birds are especially fun to watch and their behavior is extraordinary to observe. If they trust you, overtime they become very friendly, they almost become part of your family. So adorable. Karen πŸ™‚

        1. Oh my gosh, this moved me, so much!
          You were running a birdie spa!
          I know exactly how much of a wonderful thing this is to live around.
          Bird always seem to me to be waiting for us to watch learn, about them certainly, but maybe more so, about ourselves.
          Good for you for seeing.

          1. Cindy, I know…the more I watched them, the more I realized they were a lot like humans in some extraordinary ways. We moved to a different location and I really miss my birds and all the other little animals the came to stay (bunnies, chipmunks, squirrels, humming birds, and two owls.) I planted apple trees too. They loved it. Karen πŸ™‚

              1. Cindy, yes! It is so wonderful to be with animals, birds, creatures of all kinds in the wild kingdom, and our beautiful earth. I grew up in Connecticut and our back yard was literally a forest. My cousins and siblings spent all our time exploring it. It was an animal preserve with bears, lots of deer, and everything you can imagine. Also, it was a farming community. I loved it and miss it still. Karen πŸ™‚

  11. Wow – what handsome Jays – so different from our local ones (who are the “enforcers” in the neighborhood for all the other birds) Not sure if yours are like the Rocky MT Jays which we enjoy seeing when there – will have to look that up.
    It does seem like CA is getting all the rain/snow that has been missing for year. Hope the plants can hold the land and soil hold ht moisture for summer.
    Great pictures! (Owls! we need all the ones we can get)

    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts. Here is the info on Jay variance:
      We have western scrub jays at The Holler and they are very shy because they have the oak forests to meet all their needs. The stellar jays are in our local mountains. All of our jays are shy, but I have seen far more assertive jays when I travel so I know what you are talking about. We have more rain coming Saturday and I hope the soil keeps absorbing as it is seeming to do here.

    1. I was just looking at your awesome photos of your train ride to Machu Picchu. Gorgeous & amazing. We will be in Peru in about 10 days. Are you still there? We could meet up.

      1. Our trip was in Nov. It’d lovely to meet you there, Cindy! πŸ’– I bet weather is nice in March. We were lucky, it didn’t rain and temperature was very comfortable. πŸ™‚

  12. That stellar jay is a handsome guy! Our junco in Wisconsin are just white and gray. And who doesn’t like owls! I love hearing them hoot on a cold winter night – echoing through the trees πŸ™‚

  13. You have gorgeous local feathers, my friend! I love the Burrowing Owls…the only difference between those in California and those in Florida is that our tiny owls make their own burrows…the soil is soft enough for that here.

  14. I remember the jays and junco’s from when I lived in California but never saw a burrowing owl. Probably wouldn’t find many in the middle of Burbank. ;( Even seeing them fly around, I never saw what you have shown me here with these photos. I remember how tiny the juncos were. The owls are my favorite though. Just adorable. I hope they find a way to save them from us.

  15. I love all your birds, Cindy, but I’m particularly fond of the Stellar Jays! We been fortunate to see them on our mountain hikes in Colorado. They are little beggars though! 😊

  16. From the swept up spiked, mohawk do to the sleek, smooth coiffed softer look they all have a distinctive style of their own, and none of them need all the things we do (curling irons, hair dryers, barrettes, combs and brushes, styling gel, etc. etc.) πŸ™‚

  17. I can’t leave out the owls too. They have a studious, bookish look like they study hard into the night and those penetrating eyes that can see right through you. πŸ™‚

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