Posted on: November 26th, 2012

The smallest woodpecker is the Bar-breasted Piculet, at 7 g and 8 cm (3.2 inches). The largest woodpecker was the Imperial Woodpecker, at an average of 58 cm (23 inches) and probably over 600 g (1.3 lb). The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is (or was) slightly smaller at 50 cm (20 inches) and a weight of 500 g (1.1 lb). If both the Ivory-billed and Imperial Woodpeckers are indeed extinct, the largest extant woodpecker is the Great Slaty Woodpecker of Southeast Asia, at about 50 cm (20 inches) and 450 g (1 lb). A number of species exhibit sexual dimorphism in size, bill length and weight. In the piculets it is often the females that are larger, amongst the woodpeckers that show sexual dimorphism it is usually the males that are larger.

Most species possess predominantly white, black and brown, green and red plumage, although many piculets show a certain amount of grey and olive green. In woodpeckers, many species exhibit patches of red and yellow on their heads and bellies, and these bright areas are important in signalling. The dark areas of plumage are often iridescent. Although the sexes of Picidae species tend to look alike, many woodpecker species have more prominent red or yellow head markings in males than in females.

Wood Duck

Posted on: November 26th, 2012


Posted on: November 26th, 2012

The Willet -Tringa semipalmata (formerly listed as Catoptrophorus semipalmatus)



The Willet is a large shorebird in the sandpiper family. There are two subspecies with very different ranges. The Eastern Willet breeds in coastal salt marshes from Nova Scotia to Mexico and theCaribbean. It winters on the Atlantic coast of South America. The Western Willet breeds in freshwater prairie marshes in western North America. It winters on both coasts, from the mid-Atlantic states south to at least Brazil on the Atlantic, and from Oregon south to Peru on the Pacific.


Willets nest on the ground, usually in well-hidden locations in short grass, often in colonies. These birds forage on mudflats or in shallow water, probing or picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects, crustaceans and marine worms, but also eat some plant material.


The Willet’s population declined sharply due to hunting in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their population has since increased, but they are still considered at risk, especially in light of continued habitat loss.


Identification Tips:
Length: 13.5 inches – Large, plump-looking, long-legged shorebird – Long, thick, straight bill – Bill black or blue-gray with darker tip – Blue-gray legs – Bold black and white wing pattern – Whitish tail with dusky terminal band:


Similar species: :


Yellowlegs are smaller and slimmer, with much more slender bills and yellow legs, and lack the striking black-and-white wing pattern. Godwits have much longer, thinner, upturned bills with a pink base and dark tip.

Wild Turkeys

Posted on: November 26th, 2012

turkey is either of two living species of large birds in the genus Meleagris. One species, Meleagris gallopavo, commonly known as the Wild Turkey, is native to the forests of North America. The other species, Meleagris ocellata, known as the Ocellated Turkey, is native to the forests of theYucatán Peninsula in Mexico.

The Domestic turkey is a descendant of the Wild Turkey.

Turkeys are classed in the taxonomic order of Galliformes. Within this order they are relatives of thefamily/subfamily Tetraonidae (grouse). Turkeys have a distinctive fleshy wattle that hangs from the underside of the beak, and a fleshy protuberance that hangs from the top of its beak called a snood. With wingspans of 1.5–1.8 meters (almost 6 feet), the turkeys are by far the largest birds in the open forests in which they live. As with many Galliform species the female (hen) is smaller than the male (tom or gobbler) and is much less colorful.

Whitetail Deer

Posted on: November 26th, 2012

White Deer

Posted on: November 26th, 2012

White Deer

While there is an abundance of the normal brown whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) to be seen from USEEWILDLIFE cameras, we also have something a little unique; white deer. This coloration is not very common and is often confused with the albino. This deer will have white fur all year round, but will not have the pink eyes, nose, and hoofs of a true albino. They are white due to a recessive gene.

Unlike the albino, the white whitetail is just as hearty as the brown whitetail. But, like the albino, the white whitetail has no protective coloration in the wild unless snow is present.

Since this is due to a recessive gene trait, breeding a white deer to a normal brown whitetail would not produce another white deer unless the brown deer has the white gene as well. Both deer must have the white gene to produce white off spring.

Piebald Deer

A piebald whitetail deer (partially white) can also be seen here. These are also from a recessive genetic trait. A piebald can be mostly brown with some white, almost all white with some brown, or any mixture in between.

Upon seeing one for the first time, many people will assume that the piebald was created by breeding a brown deer to an albino. This is not the case. Like the white deer, piebalds have a recessive trait which is passed down through genetics.


Posted on: November 26th, 2012

Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead animals. Vultures are found on every continent except Antarctica and Oceania.

A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of feathers. Research has shown that the bare skin may play an important role inthermoregulation.[1]

A group of vultures is occasionally called a venue, and when circling in the air a group of vultures is called a kettle. The word Geier (taken from the German language) does not have a precise meaning in ornithology, and it is occasionally used to refer to a vulture in English, as in some poetry.


Posted on: November 26th, 2012

Tufted Titmouse

Posted on: November 26th, 2012

Trumpter Swans

Posted on: November 26th, 2012

When to see them at USeeWildlife

Trumpeter Swans usually arrive in late November or early December and stay until February in most circumstances.  There have been up to 20 at one time, and they are occasionally joined by a mute swan or two.  Several have been seen with “bands” around their necks.  One of the “banded” males (yellow band labeled 21A), who has been seen year after year, has been looked up and was actually banded in Wisconsin.


Males typically measure from 145–163 cm (57–64 inches) and weigh 11.8 kg (26 lb); females typically range from 139–150 cm (55–60 inches) and weigh 10 kg (22 lb). It is rivaled in size among waterfowl only by the introduced Mute Swan, which is native to Eurasia, but the Trumpeter usually is longer-bodied. Exceptionally large male Trumpeters can reach a length of 183 cm (72 inches), a wingspan of 3 meters (almost 10 ft) and a weight of 17.4 kg (38 lb). The Trumpeter Swan is closely related to the Whooper Swan of Eurasia, and even has been considered the same species by some authorities.

These birds have white plumage with a long neck, a black bill subtly marked with salmon-pink along the mouth line, and short black legs. The cygnets (juveniles) are grey in appearance, becoming white after the first year. The Mute Swan can easily be distinguished by its orange bill and different structure (particularly the neck, which is almost always curved down). The Tundra Swan more closely resembles the Trumpeter, but is quite a bit smaller and usually has yellow lores. Distinguishing Tundra and Trumpeter Swans from a distance (when size is harder to gauge) is quite challenging, and can often be done only with experience and knowledge of structural details. Adults go through a summer moult when they temporarily lose their flight feathers. The females become flightless shortly after the young hatch; the males go through this process about a month later when the females have completed their moult.


Their breeding habitat is large shallow ponds and wide slow rivers in northwestern and central North America, with the largest numbers of breeding pairs found in Alaska. Natural populations of these swans migrate to and from the Pacific coast and portions of the United States, flying in V-shaped flocks. Released populations are mostly non-migratory.

The female lays 3-10 eggs on average in a mound of plant material on a small island, a beaver or muskrat lodge, or a floating platform. The same location may be used for several years. The eggs average 73 mm (2.9 inches) wide, 113.5 mm (4.5 inches) long, and weigh about 320 grams (11.3 oz). The incubation period is 32 to 37 days. These birds often mate for life, and both parents will participate in raising the cygnets, but only the female will incubate the eggs. The young are able to swim within two days and usually are capable of feeding themselves after at most two weeks. The fledging stage is reached at 3 to 4 months.


These birds feed while swimming, sometimes up-ending or dabbling to reach submerged food. Their diet is almost entirely aquatic plants. In winter, they may also eat grasses and grains in fields. The young are fed on insects and small crustaceans along with plants at first, changing to a vegetation-based diet over the first few months.


This bird was named for its trumpet-like honk which some compare to the sound of a French horn. The E.B. White novel, The Trumpet of the Swan, is about a Trumpeter Swan which learns to play the trumpet in order to compensate for having been born mute, a reference to another swan, the Mute Swan.

In the 1800s and early 1900s, the Trumpeter Swan was hunted heavily, both as game and a source of feathers. This species is also unusually sensitive to lead poisoning while young. These birds once bred in North America from northwestern Indiana west to Oregon in the U.S., and in Canada from James Bay to the Yukon, but their comparatively small numbers in the southern part of their range were reduced to near zero by the mid-twentieth century. Many thousands survived in the core range in Canada and Alaska, however, where populations have since rebounded.

Early efforts to reintroduce this bird into other parts of its original range, and to introduce it elsewhere, have had only modest success, as suitable habitats have dwindled and the released birds do not undertake migrations. More recently, the population in all three major population regions have shown sustained growth over the past thirty year period. Data from the US Fish and Wildlife Service show 400% growth in that period, with signs of increasing growth rates over time.

One impediment to the growth of the trumpeter swan population around the Great Lakes is the presence of a growing non migratory mute swan population who compete for habitat.