Saturday, November 28, 2015
About the Photographer


Marty Jones has been interested in bird photography ever since his first visit in 2004 to see the magnificent flocks of Sandhill Cranes at Jasper-Pulaski FWA.  Marty enjoys the challenges and rewards of taking a good bird photograph and meeting other people who share an interest in birding and bird photography.

Marty is a Regulatory Compliance Consultant for the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives and lives near Terre Haute with his daughter Addison. Visit Marty L. Jone's Bird Photography Website. You'll see over 260 different Indiana bird species represented in the site including several rarities.

Bird of the Month Archives

Past Featured Birds of the Month

American Crow, October 2015

Ruddy Turnstone, September 2015

Scarlet Tanager, August 2015

House Sparrow, July 16, 2015

Tufted Titmouse, July 15, 2015

White-Throated Sparrow, July 14, 2015

Red-Bellied Woodpecker, July 13, 2015

Red-Winged Blackbird, July 12, 2015

Pine Siskin, July 11, 2015

Mourning Dove, July 10, 2015

Hairy Woodpecker, July 8, 2015

Eastern Bluebird, July 7, 2015

Downy Woodpecker, July 6, 2015

Dark-Eyed Junco, July 5, 2015 

Chipping Sparrow, July 4, 2015

Purple Finch, July 3, 2015

House Finch, July 2, 2015

Black-Capped and Carolina Chickadees, June 29, 2015

Baltimore Oriole, June 26, 2015

American Goldfinch, June 24, 2015

American Tree Sparrow, June 22, 2015

Bird of the Month? Week? Day?

Peregrine Falcon, June 2015

Chestnut-Sided Warbler, May 2015

Kirtland's Warbler, April 2015

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, March 2015

Pied-Billed Grebe, February 2015

Snow Bunting, January 2015

Northern Cardinal, December 2014

Winter Wren, November 2014

Northern Saw-Whet Owl, October 2014

American Bittern, September 2014

Chimney Swift, August 2014

Summer Tanager, July 2014

Canada Warbler, June 2014

Magnolia Warbler, May 2014

American Woodcock, April 2014

American Robin, March 2014

Great-horned Owl, October 2012

Bald Eagle, September, 2012

American Kestrel, June, 2012

American Robin, February, 2012

American Crow, January, 2012

Calliope Hummingbird, December, 2011

White-tailed Hawk, November, 2011

Long-tailed Jaeger, October, 2011

Warbling VIreo, August, 2011

Black-billed Cuckoo, June, 2011

Summer Tanager, May, 2011

Fox Sparrow, April, 2011

American White Pelican, March, 2011

Hooded Merganser, February, 2011

Backyard Birds of Indiana

Common Feeder Birds

Feeding backyard birds is often a lot of fun, but have you ever wondered what kind of bird is at your feeder? We're here to help! Thanks to the photographic efforts of Marty Jones, this page will help you learn the most common birds that visit our Indiana feeders.

Thanks for visiting and THANK YOU for feeding our feathered friends!

 Northern Cardinal  White-breasted Nuthatch
Northern Cardinal 
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
White-breasted Nuthatch
 Dark-eyed Junko  Brown-headed Cowbird Carolina Chickadee
Dark-eyed Junco
Brown-headed Cowbird
Carolina Chickadee
 American Robin  Downie Woodpecker European Starling
American Robin
Downy Woodpecker
European Starling
Mourning Dove Song Sparrow
House Sparrow
Mourning Dove
Song Sparrow

Bird of the Month

Dusky Grouse

by Alex Forsythe

It's that time of year when we think of pumpkin pie and roast turkey with all the trimmings. However, I thought it would be too predictable to feature a turkey for November's Bird of the Month article. Instead, I'm going to share another game bird with you: Dusky Grouse.

I visited Glacier National Park with my non-birding family over the summer. I was hoping to get a glance at some lifers while the rest of the family admired the other natural wonders. With all of the smoke from the wild fires, birding was not only difficult, it was very uncomfortable. Even in the car it was hard to breathe and my eyes would not stop watering. As we drove through the mountains, I spotted what appeared to be the outline of a bird in the thick, gray smoke next to the road. I yelled for my father to stop, and I jogged back to the spot where I had seen the bird. There it was - a Dusky Grouse pecking at the gravel alongside the road! Someone had dropped some Fritos and the Dusky was in the mood for an unhealthy snack.

As I approached the bird, she didn't seem to be afraid at all. She was meticulously picking up every crumb, oblivious to my presence. When the crumbs were gone she looked toward me, hoping for more goodies I suppose. I didn't give her any, of course, but I did manage to get a few good photos of her before she scuttled away. 

Apparently I was fortunate that this bird was content to eat and run. Wildlife photographer Don Jones and his friends were attacked by a Dusky that they were filming, and the bird actually drew blood from two of the gentlemen's faces! It's a painful yet hilarious story you can read in "Field and Stream" (click through the photos for the funny captions):

It probably should come as no surprise that the Dusky was so brave. These birds are fearless from the beginning of their lives. They leave the nest within 24 hours of hatching, and the females will defend her brood fearlessly (the males take no part in rearing the young). In winter when most animals seek lower elevations, the Dusky chooses to stay in the higher elevations, feeding on conifer needles.

The Dusky Grouse was once known as a subspecies of Blue Grouse along with the Sooty Grouse. DNA evidence indicates that the Dusky is a different but related species. The Dusky is one of the largest grouse species, and these birds are unusual in one regard: they have an unpredictable number of tail feathers. Most bird species have a fixed number of tail feathers, typically ten or so. The Dusky can have anywhere from 15 to 22! 

Since they are ground dwellers that nest and forage on the ground, it was believed that they would fly only short distances at a time. However, recent studies show that they can fly about 5 km, allowing them to more easily colonize isolated areas of mountain ranges (Kienholz, Western Birds, 44:76-77, 2013).

Their numbers are fairly steady, so if you have the chance to travel out west, you're likely to see one of these birds if you visit their habitats. However, before you grab your camera, you might want to take a lesson from Don Jones: wear a helmet!
Common Indiana Birds

50 Most Common Backyard Birds of Indiana

1.   Eastern Bluebird 
2.   Indigo Bunting
3.   Northern Cardinal 
4.   Carolina Chickadee
5.   Black-Capped Chickadee
6.   Brown-Headed Cowbird
7.   American Crow
8.   Mourning Dove
9.   House Finch
10. Purple Finch
11. Northern Flicker
12. American Goldfinch
13. Common Grackle
14. Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
15. Cooper’S Hawk
16. Sharp-Shinned Hawk
17. Blue Jay
18. Dark-Eyed Junco
19. Northern Mockingbird
20. Red-Breasted Nuthatch
21. White-Breasted Nuthatch
22. Baltimore Oriole
23. Barred Owl
24. Eastern Screech Owl
25. Great Horned Owl
26. Eastern Phoebe
27. American Robin
28. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
29. Pine Siskin
30. American Tree Sparrow
31. Chipping Sparrow
32. Fox Sparrow
33. House Sparrow
34. Song Sparrow
35. White-Crowned Sparrow
36. White-Throated Sparrow
37. Eupopean Starling
38. Brown Thrasher
39. Tufted Titmouse
40. Eastern Towhee
41. Cedar Waxwing
42. Downey Woodpecker
43. Hairy Woodpecker
44. Pileated Woodpecker
45. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
46. Red-Headed Woodpecker
47. Carolina Wren
48. House Wren
49. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
50. Summer Tanager