BIRD WATCHING ON AN ICICLE-LY DAY

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Eurasian Sparrows

January  14,  2016

While the human  species was hunkered down  indoors over the weekend  dreading  the ice storm prediction, our little feathered friends had no  choice but to venture out in search of  nourishment.    Here is  a sampling  of the birds that visited my backyard feeders over the weekend.

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Gold Finch wearing her winter colors.

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Flicker Woodpecker – a daily visitor not matter what the weather.

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House Finch waits his turn for space at the feeder.

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The Flicker sits among the ice coated branches.

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Female Red Bellied Woodpecker –  a regular.

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The Male Red Bellied Woodpecker – also a regular.

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Lastly  a Cardinal and a Pine Sisken.

Hope you enjoyed the photos and that the  weather treated you kindly in spite of the prediction.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

BIRDS – THE CUTE, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

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The Cute…. this is a mystery bird but he sure is cute

Friday, August 19, 2016

My backyard birding adventures continue…..

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Looks like a serious encounter between this female Cardinal and the mystery bird.

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More Cute… looking close you can see the last of those baby-downy feathers on this  fledgling Cardinal.

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Cute continued…..  I found this female Goldfinch resting on my back yard bench.  She sat still as I sprinkled seed at the end of the bench and watched ( at a distance)  as she came to eat it.

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Cute , but sadly, my parakeet visitor  made daily visits to my back yard for about a month and I have  not seen him since

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The Bad… this an adult  Cowbird – known for laying their eggs ( sometimes as many as 3 dozen per year) in other bird species’ nests.

Also happy to let the other bird  foster, feed and raise the baby cowbird.  Cowbirds hatch sooner, grow faster, are larger, hungrier and out-compete the host’s nestlings for food.

This  sometimes leads to the legitimate babies  demise.  Yet, somehow the  foster cowbird still develops their own song, social and breeding behavior.

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For example this female Cardinal is feeding a cowbird fledgling.   I thought I had captured a rare moment until I Googled  ” fostered cowbirds photos” and saw what a common occurrence it is.

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The Bad continues…..the Red Tailed Hawks that nested in my tree this summer still linger and several times have left me disgusting- looking  heaps of loose feathers, which I can only  conclude was a the remains of  dinner.

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The Ugly…..  bald or semi bald Cardinals and Blue Jays  are somewhat common sightings.   The Bird World experts  is not quite sure why this happens but assures us the hair evidently grows back.

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These last shots  of mealtime discussions between a  Red Bellied Woodpecker and Blue Jay with  another mystery bird.  Anyone  have a guess who the mystery birds are?

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The Bad? or  The Smart?  This fledgling cardinal is a step ahead of the rest and  has no need for  discussion – he just intends to  undo and steal the whole  feeder.

 

Burkett’s laws of birding

The First Law of Birding: The greater the time spent searching for a rarity, the greater the chances it will be sitting on your car when you return to the parking lot.

The Second Law of Birding: There are two sides of a tree; the side facing you and the side where the bird is.

The Third Law of Birding: When you see the bird that you have always wanted to see, it will be in the last spot you thought of looking for it.

The Fourth Law of Birding: The best bird seen during a trip is usually seen in bad light, isn’t calling or singing, is seen for less than a second, and is the last “trip bird”.

— by Cody Burkett, Phoenix, AZ

 

Thanks for reading!

Hope you enjoyed my back yard birding!

 

 

EVERYBIRDIE LOVES SUET

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January 21, 2016

These beautiful  Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are  daily visitors  to  my backyard, both at the suet feeder and also drinking from my bird bath all year round.

Hang some suet and the woodpeckers will come.  It  is a woodpecker  magnet.   All  birds, not just woodpeckers,   need  a higher  fat content  of food to give them energy and help keep them warm in the winter but I keep suet available year round and it’s always a popular stop for a bite.

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Starlings love suet also and come in multiples which  can  be a problem mostly because they chase all of the welcome  birds away.  Here is a novel moment when everyone is getting along and  sharing – or so I thought.  The moment I put my camera down this Red-Bellied Woodpecker leaned over and grabbed the tail feathers of the Starling!

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If you  have trouble telling the difference between a Downy Woodpecker and  a Hairy Woodpecker it helps to have them side by side.  I was so lucky to capture  this rare moment when both came to feast at the same time.   The Hairy Woodpecker is bigger and has a longer  peak.

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The Eurasian  Sparrows, along with many other song birds,  frequent the suet feeder also, but sometimes only as a resting spot.

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The  Northern  Flicker eats suet but also digs at the ground frequently for food.

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This juvenile Yellow- Bellied Sap Sucker Woodpecker surprised me for the 1st time on Christmas Day.

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But today he ( she?) showed up again and nibbled for quite a while.  Temps were  below freezing today so he was all puffed up to keep warm.  “A bird’s body heat warms the air between its feathers, so  birds fluff up in the cold to trap as much air in their feathers as possible. The more trapped air, the warmer the bird” says  Peter Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo.

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Last photo of the  suet -fest is the male Downy Woodpecker  (with a red spot on his head) and the Red-Bellied Woodpecker peacefully eating  together.   If  these photos have inspired you to hang a suet feeder – they comes in many shapes and styles.   I am pretty sure I own them all  and they all will attract birds,  but this kind with the tail prop makes it easiest for the larger woodpeckers to come feed.   As for the suet flavors – I have served them all  and none have been wasted!

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed my feathered friends!

 

 

 

 

A SHOWDOWN at the BIRD BATH and SHOW OFFS

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August 2015

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My backyard has  built in entertainment.  Such as  the morning  I witnessed the  showdown  between the bossy  Blue Jay and the stubborn  Grackle.  Then reinforcements  had to be called in……

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And success !   The Grackle  moved on to neutral territory to await his turn for bath time.

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Juvenile Cardinal in all her glory.

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Juvenile Eurasian Sparrow needs a napkin.

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This Red-Bellied Woodpecker visits my suet cage every morning.

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Breakfast captured!

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Offspring of the Red Tailed Hawks that nested in my  pine this summer.   At this stage they were as big as their parents but would still cry  to be fed.

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Always love the  little Hummingbirds.   This is the male wearing his finest red scarf.

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The beauty of summer

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Time to fly…

Thanks for reading!

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