Friday, November 11, 2011

Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs

Well, maybe not cocoa puffs,
but big, fuzzy caterpillars would be a nice tasty treat!!

(Coccyzus americanus)
made several rare appearances
in the Northeast and Atlantic Maritimes this fall,

Yellow-billed Cuckoo Range Map

delighting many birders
in my neck of the woods.

Negotiating a seldom used, overgrown dirt road
to access a beautiful stretch of beach and bogland,
we came across this little guy foraging along the edge.
He managed to stay one step ahead of us,
and having never seen one before,
we were stymied!

He wasn't exactly cooperative
when it came to documenting his visit,
always hopping or flying just out of range
at the exact moment it was time to 'click'
for a picture.

The Yellow-bellied Cuckoo is a fairly good sized bird,
10 - 12" in length, with a down-curved bill
that hosts a black upper mandible
and a yellow lower mandible.

It has the prettiest rufous coloring to its primaries,
most obvious when it flies away. 
Which I observed ALOT in my futile attempts
to snap a good picture.

In addition to consuming massive quantities of hairy caterpillars,
the Yellow-billed Cuckoo also considers berries, small fruits,
and even small amphibians to be fine dining.

My best guess is that nasty weather
blew them off course
and they ended up wandering far beyond
the northern fringes of their territory.

However, I'm no authority.

For a better view of this lovely bird, check out this post by TexWis
She has some nice clear, beautiful close-ups!!


Mrs. Goodneedle said...

What a treat! (The sighting, not the hairy caterpillars!!) I will have to settle for seeing the cuckoo that appears hourly, from the clock! ;)

Bob Bushell said...

What a cracker, cheers.

Simone de Klerk said...

Okay, I am a bit confused. Is the bird in the first two pictures the same as in the last one?
How thrilled you must have been when you spotted it!

paula, the quilter said...

What fun to sight a bird you haven't seen before!

hetty said...

Interesting. I have never seen a yellow-billed cuckoo. You were in the right place at the right time!

Linda said...

Your bird-watching is so interesting. Of course, I've never seen one of these cuckoos, and usually settle for knowing the birds in our region. I enjoy noting the varieties in the spring, but otherwise I admit to not paying much attention. Good for you to notice and capture a picture.

Birding is Fun! said...

Awesome bird! So glad I got to see a couple in Ohio last September.

TexWisGirl said...

i was thrilled to get up close and personal with one of these this summer when it (unfortunately) flew into our sliding glass doors and stunned itself. it sat on my finger while i snapped photos, then put it into a tree to rest. thankfully, it recovered fully and flew off! :) and yes, i posted it on my blog, of course!

Kay L. Davies said...

How wonderful for you to get to see (and get a couple of photos of) this bird so rare to your area.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Kelly said...

Lucky you! I love this bird, but I've only been able to photograph one twice. They are fairly common in my area, and I hear them all the time in the woods, but they never want to come out for an up-close portrait! Love your first shot!

Denise said...

What an exciting find. I've never seen one of these before either. Great pictures!

Sana Saroti said...

I love bird pics! I can definitely recognize a Cuckoo when I hear one but I dont think I knew it if I saw one! Btw, your pic is in my followers list now!

Carrie P. said...

What a great treat!!!
I went to the other link and he sure does have some pretty colors to his wings. thanks for sharing your siting.

Craig Glenn said...

Really nice capture. I have never seen one either. Great find.


Rambling Woods said...

Now that is a real treat to see and I wasn't familiar with them..thank you..Michelle

Roy said...

Lovely shots Karen, what an unusual bird.

the cuby poet said...

What an interesting bird and such lovely photos.

Marvin said...

Great you saw a new bird. They are fairly common here, but still, I hear a "rain crow" a lot more often than I see one.

JDS said...

Thanks for the education - this is one bird I had never heard of. In my experience it is very difficult to photograph songbirds because they are small and never stay still, but you DID get a couple good pictures of the cuckoo even though it sounds like you won't admit it. :)