Sunday, May 18, 2014

Birds of the Aerie, May 18th, 2014 Edition

I mentioned this morning that I was going to sit on the deck and take some pictures. Well, I managed to last about 15 minutes as it was just 40 degrees in the shade. Still, I got visited by quite a few birds as well as one very stubborn squirrel. Got pictures of most of the critters, too.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Dapper little guy whose head seems out of proportion to it's body. It will wedge a sunflower seed in a crack on the deck posts and hammer at it to crack it open. If things are too busy on the deck, it will head off to a tree to find a crack or a crevasse to do the same. When it hunts insects, it goes down the trunk of a tree head first.

Chipping Sparrow

The smallest of the sparrows, it has one amazingly loud trill when it sings. I love its jaunty little rusty beret.

American Goldfinch

A flock of these guys (along with the Purple Finch (see below), Black-capped Chickadee and House Finch) can really put a dent in your seed budget! At least they look bright and cheerful and pretty in the spring and summer.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Sometimes you wonder who came up with the names of the birds. The Black-throated Green Warbler, for instnace has little to no hint of green on it. And the Red-bellied Woodpecker? No red on it's belly that I can see. But the Rose-breasted Grosbeak? Common! What ELSE would you call it?

Red-winged Blackbird

Our neighbors have a pond with some reeds and Gem Lake (aka "Carp Pond" at a previous time) is less than half mile down the hill. Hence we have the occasional Red-winged Blackbird show up. This guy must be under cover as he's hiding the red of his epaulets.

Purple Finch

It's definitely purple. The House Finch may look similar but their flanks have brown stripes. (Females of the two are more difficult to separate.)

Blue Jay

Blue Jays are the bullies of the feeder. At least they don't discriminate: they chase everybody away. Sometimes they even chase one of their own away from the feeder.

Gray Squirrel

I had to chase the squirrel off the deck three times before he got the message. At least his two pals left the minute I came out.

In addition, there were a few that moved too swiftly to get the camera on them: a Red-breasted Nuthatch, a Tufted Titmouse and a Black-capped Chickadee swooped in, grabbed a seed and disappeared back into the woods. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird merely buzzed by me for the feeder that was behind my head. (Luckily it didn't stick its beak in my ear!)

Also the Eastern Towhee, American Robin, Wood Thrush and Ovenbird all sang from the woods but didn't come up on the deck. (Only the Towhee would be likely to in any case.)

Later in the day I saw an Eastern Phoebe behind the house. It's nesting on the ledge above one of the guest bedroom windows. A Dark-eyed Junco and Two mourning doves finally showed up when the temperature rose. Perhaps they needed to find a babysitter. A Turkey Vulture flew over as I was cutting the grass and a pair of Common Ravens gamboled on the wind.

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