Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Birds

Sometimes the best bird feeding days are not in the dead of winter, but in late spring when the "snow birds" return but there isn't much food available. The most obvious (and obnoxious) returnees are the grackles and starlings. They act like bullies and hog the feeders.

But the starlings cleaning out the suet feeders is a sure sign of spring.

(These are not the best of pics because I took them through the window, plus the dryer vent was expelling visible vapor not too far away.)

I rarely see more than one pair of cardinals at a time, so I presume it's the same pair.

They must have my yard staked out as their territory.

There are always plenty of sparrows and house finches. Some people consider them the "wrong kind" of bird, but they need to eat, too. And reproduce; I just wish they would not do it in my bluebird boxes.

Juncos are a winter staple.

I think this one is an Oregon junco; in real life, it looks rufous-colored. The Midwest is not their regular stomping grounds, but according to my Peterson's, it is not unusual to see them at feeders as far east as the Atlantic seaboard during migration, either blown off course or with broken GPSs.

The list of those that escaped my camera lens today includes a yellow(!) goldfinch at the window(!) feeder. We gaped at each other for a few seconds before we each came back to life. My camera was in the other room, and of course by the time I fetched it, the bird was gone. Another quickie was the hawk that swooped in, which caused a sudden scattering of grackles. I actually had my camera in hand, but it had not only gone to sleep, but shut down. The hawk left before I could react. Ditto a redwing blackbird.

(I have pics of mourning doves and female goldfinches, but they are too fuzzy to bother posting.)

We had our share of four-legged visitors as well.

This squirrel was actually one of two raiders. I tried to get a photo of the two squirrels, feasting on separate feeders, but squirrel #1 saw me and hopped down. Then squirrel #2 noticed squirrel #1 and gave chase. Once again, my tortoise-paced reflexes missed capturing the action.

A shy bunny hopped by briefly.

Rabbits usually feed at dawn and dusk, but it is one cold and blustery day. (In fact, it is snowing right now.) I'm sure he was hoping for a quick bite, but when the current nuclear feeding flock suddenly dispersed, he disappeared along with them. Smart bunny.

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