Feathers.

The new Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is Feathers.

An easy challenge for me having been photographing birds for decades. So I decided to do something a little different, rather than just picking photos of birds I would select shots where the birds feathers were a feature of the photo.

Feather maintenance. A well camouflaged juvenile Red Knot preening on the Lake Huron shoreline in Southampton, Ontario, Canada. The bird has stopped over on its way south for the winter.

Feather maintenance.

Feather washing. An adult European Robin bathing which is an important part of feather maintenance. Hatherton, Cheshire, England.

Bath time

Feather iridescence. Iridescent feathers on a male Common Grackle are used to attract a female and are an indication of the health of the bird. South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada.

A shiny male Common Grackle.

Feathers for insulation. A male Evening Grosbeak warms one leg and foot in its feathers at -30°C. Greenwater Lake Provincial Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Evening Grosbeak in the winter.

Feather feeding. An adult Great Crested Grebe feeding one of its own breast feathers to its young. Hurleston Reservoir, Cheshire, England. There is some debate about why many species of Grebe feed their breast feathers to the young.

Adult Great Crested Grebe with young.

Feathers spread for take off. A Black-capped Chickadee taking flight on the South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada.

A Black-capped Chickadee taking off.

Delicious.

The new Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is Delicious.

My initial idea was for the various caterpillars, spiders and assorted other insects being fed to young birds by their parents.

Then it occurred to me just how many shots of birds and mammals feeding I had in my archives. So I decided to expand on the original idea with a selection of six different feeding behaviours.

First, an American Red Squirrel feeding on seed in the grass in Ontario, Canada.

Feeding American Red Squirrel.

An adult Eurasian Blue Tit feeding young with a green caterpillar in Cheshire, England.

Feeding the young.

A Bohemian Waxwing eating a berry at -30°C in Saskatchewan, Canada.

A Bohemian Waxwing at -30°C.

A Black-throated Blue Warbler pretending it’s an Oriole by feeding on the grape jelly in an Oriole feeder in Ontario, Canada.

Male Black-throated Blue Warbler.

An American White Pelican with a large fish in its pouch in Saskatchewan, Canada.

American White Pelican with fish.

Finally, an adult Great Crested Grebe feeding one of its own breast feathers to its young in Cheshire, England.

Adult Great Crested Grebe with young.

A feather for lunch.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is The Food of Love.

I gave this some thought and then remembered this photo. It shows a fairly common piece of behavior for various species of Grebes that researchers and scientists have yet to fully explain.

The photo shows an adult Great Crested Grebe feeding one of its breast feathers to two of its young. One theory suggests this behavior is an aid to digesting their food by protecting their stomach from sharp fish bones. Another theory is that the feathers help the birds form pellets of undigested fish bones allowing them to regurgitate the pellets.

Adult Great Crested Grebe with young.

A hint of spring.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is A Hint of Spring.

I thought I would use one photo from the UK and one from Canada.

In Cheshire, England a pair of Great Crested Grebe performing their courtship display by waving weed at each other.

Great Crested Grebes displaying, Hurleston Reservoir, Cheshire, England

In Ontario, Canada a male Common Merganser swims amongst ice on a thawing Lake Huron.

Male Common Merganser, Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada