I've Been Tagged: Most Beautiful Birds

I have been tagged by WildBird on the Fly to participate in the most beautiful birds meme. This is a fluctuating list and is bound to be different if you ask me ten minutes from now. Here are the rules according to WildBird:

The rules: Post a list of the 10 birds you consider most beautiful on your blog; you may limit the list to the ABA area (continental United States and Canada) or use a geographic area of your choice. Mark birds you have seen with an asterisk. Tag 3 bloggers to keep it going.

I'm going to keep my list to beautiful birds I have photographed. If I try to go worldwide, my little budgie brain would just explode.

List (Subject to Change at Any Moment)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak* - I love the song of these birds in the spring (that would make a cool meme, the ten most beautiful bird songs). I like the black and white and the pink triangle. Is Nature trying to make a political statement or is just "is what it is". Regardless, I love these dudes, they are one of the many heralds of true spring in Minnesota.

Northern Goshawk* - Hands down the most handsome hawk found in the United States. I love the soft gray colors that blend well for camouflage accented by the maniacal looking, blood red eye. Those eyes seem to suit the hunting style of goshawks or accipiters in general. See it, and kill it no matter what aerial acrobatics must be done. Peregrines may get most of the glory but goshawks are the coolest in my book.

Yellow-headed blackbirds* - It's like someone shoved a goldfinch onto the head of a blackbird. Brilliant! Need I say more?

Red-tailed hawk* - I love how every single red-tailed hawk is different. Some are darker, some are lighter and they can be seen almost anywhere in the United States--a constant for me in my travels. Browns and creams and red melding together for a luscious killing machine.

Baltimore Orioles* - I love how tropical and out of place orioles look in the upper midwest. I love how bright and striking they look at the feeders, yet that orange and black hides so well once they are in the canopy of a cottonwood or willow. Pure perfection and another candidate for most beautiful song meme.

Common Grackle* - I know some out there are thinking, "Birdchick, what the fudge?? A grackle?!?" Sorry dudes, I am a closet grackle admirer. The blues, the purples, the blacks all accented by the yellow eyes topped by the over lapping supra orbital ridge. Imagine just having one that ate millet quietly in a corner--you might think they were pretty too. I was going to put in a starling in winter plumage, but I didn't want to start a boycott of my blog. But deep down, I think starlings in winter plumage are almost prettier than a grackle.

Sandhill Crane* - This was a toss up. Pelican or sandhill crane, I decided that since I went to the trouble of having a crane tattooed on me, that I feel the crane is prettier. They're long, they're graceful, they sound like a dinosaur, they dance, they are gray with a flashy red piece of flesh on their head and a flock 40,000 cranes is the only thing more beautiful than one crane.

Cooper's hawk* - What, another accipiter? I'm always happy and know it's going to be a great day if I see a Cooper's hawk. I love their stealth, the orange breast, the slate blue back, the bloodthirsty looking read eyes and that sassy swishing of tail they do so often. Frightening beauty, they name is Cooper's hawk.

Cinnamon Teal* - Brown, beautiful rusty brown. It reminds me of a rich ginger cookie batter, I want to bite into one whenever I see a Cinnamon tea. And to top it off, they have that wonderful sky blue patch on their wings. The most beautiful brown bird I have ever seen--and it floats, how can you not admire that?

Indigo Bunting* (Okay and I cheated by including a goldfinch). Indigo buntings are technically a black bird that appears deep purplish blue to our eyes. A tiny wonderful surprise at our feeders in spring, and if we are lucky, the lone songster on hot humid summer afternoons singing at the top of a tree or shrub. And as if they weren't cool enough in their own skin by being so blue, they eat millet. They say, "Hey cardinals, chickadees and nuthatches that insist on sunflowers, forget it. I'm going for the crap seed, I'm going for millet."

I end my list and a realize that I don't have pileated woodpecker, scarlet tanager, western meadowlark, green jays...crap, will sharp-shinned hawks feel left out because I included the other two accipiters in North American and left them out???

Ah well, my list is done and it's not about me any more. So, whom shall I tag?

Birder Blog
because she has a new book out and we should promote and support it and I'm sure her choices will be thoughtful and somehow helpful to birds.

Ivory-bill Skeptic because I want to see if he's capable of blogging about anything other than his lack of belief over Cornell's announcement of the ivory-billed woodpecker--you do have to admire that it keeps going every day like an Energizer Bunny on just the same topic, every day, the same thing. How does he do it?

because I just discovered it and it looks very promising. I'm strongly in favor of anyone putting the words "punk" and "birder" together.