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It’s in your nature: Bird beauties

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    A bright yellow American goldfinch perches among the buds of a spring red bud tree. BARRY REED/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

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    In stark contrast, a very common male red-winged blackbird shows off its bright red and yellow epaulets interrupting its glossy black plumage.

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    A male scarlet tanager, rather common in our local forests, doesn’t always provide us views of its scarlet body and black wings. However, his striking colors weren’t for our benefit anyway.

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    A male parula warbler
    in Penn Forest Township was photographed this week gleaning insects from the canopy.

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    Giving the wood duck’s beauty a challenge, a male hooded merganser graces Beltzville’s waters for months each spring.

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    Look along the brushy lake shorelines, the larger streams or the Lehigh Canal for early arriving male wood ducks.

Published July 06. 2019 06:16AM


I have now penned well over 100 columns, and as most now realize, birds and their habits have been the topics of many of them. They may have been highlighted because of their special adaptations or how valuable they are to us.

Some columns identified particular species of concern and man’s effects on them. Most of my columns however, whether birds, plants or other animals deal with species we might find here locally. If not locally common, I may have intended to bring your attention to species threatened, species that have benefited by our concerns and actions, or those that are rather common but often overlooked by us. Most of today’s photos are birds right here in our own Times News coverage area.

For today, I would like to present to you a variety of birds that grace us with their plumage. Some are so colorful we might think they are actually birds we might find only in the tropics. No matter, take a look at my selection.

Even though most of these in some ways help us, maybe their real asset is to simply bring some color to our fields or forests. Maybe they will pique your interest enough to want to find ways to preserve them for our future generations to enjoy as well. Hopefully you’ll find some of nature’s best versions of avian beauty here today in my weekly column.

Remember that the beautiful male bird’s colors were not intended for us to enjoy, but for their potential mates. But, hey, I certainly don’t mind playing second fiddle and reaping the benefits of these bird beauties, too. Enjoy, Enjoy.

Test your outdoor knowledge: The short-tailed shrew _________. A. lives entirely underground, B. is a type of rodent, C. is the only poisonous mammal, D. all of these.

Last week’s trivia answer: Falco peregrinus is the scientific name of the peregrine falcon.

Contact Barry Reed at






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