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Image of the month – June

A male Eastern Bluebird sings aggressively and waves his wings while perching on a cattail. When I took this photo four or five male bluebirds were chasing each other all around my yard, sometimes making contact with each other in midair. This individual only stayed on the cattail for a few seconds before he was chased off by a rival.

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Image of the month – May

A Great Egret sleeps standing up at the top of a tree. The egret is standing over its nest. There is a slight breeze so its long plumes are visibly blowing in the breeze, and some of the feathers on its back are also blown up. Great egrets are large white birds with yellow bills.

Another spring photo for May. Here a Great Egret sleeps while standing over its nest and nestlings. A slight breeze ruffles the egret’s feathers, making its aigrettes, or plumes, easily visible. Great Egrets build stick nests in breeding colonies. A single stick from this individual’s nest is just visible poking out from the leaves in the lower left-hand corner.

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Image of the month – April

A Common Grackle sits in some pussy willows. The grackle is looking up and a few falling snowflakes are visible in the scene. There is also sunlight coming from somewhere, because the grackle's iridescent bold blue head and purple and bronze body are clearly visible.

Since this first post is taking place in April, here is a photograph full of signs of early spring in southern Maine: a Common Grackle and some pussy willows in a light snow. The willows were full of grackles calling and displaying to each other and this male has his head pointed up because he is about to call.

As with many birds, the winter ranges of Common Grackles are shifting along with climate change. Though they are generally short-distance migrants, a few individuals can now be found in Maine year-round, though the bulk of their population moves at least a little further south for the winter. Common Grackles are some of the earliest birds to return in spring in large numbers to Maine.