UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER – Marilyn Armstrong

Every now and then, I get lucky and the bird I want to take pictures of stays put long enough for me to actually take the pictures.

This was the case with this glorious Red-bellied Woodpecker. I guess he was more hungry than he was shy of people. Or maybe he felt he deserved to be memorialized.

Grabbing a seed
Peek-a-boo!
Showing his good side

So in the midst of our political madness, allow me to introduce our beautiful Woodpecker.

With his pal, the Tufted Titmouse

Speaking of woodpeckers, the other day I got a note from someone complaining that a woodpecker was trying to eat her house. Woodpeckers don’t eat wood for fun. They are digging for insects. So if there are woodpeckers banging on your house, you need to get the bug people in because I have to warn you — woodpeckers are VERY fond of termites.

Watch the skies!

If a woodpecker is pecking your home, you’ve got lots of bigger problems than woodpeckers. You’ve got termites.

A FLOCK OF FINCHES, A DOVE, AND A BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD – Marilyn Armstrong

It was a super busy day at the feeder and for once, they didn’t all fly off as soon as I picked up the camera. It was a day for Cowbirds sharing the feeder with a little red House Finch.

It was also a day when a big Mourning Dove came to the deck and sat peacefully on the deck railing. He waited politely until the Cowbirds moved on.

After that, he settled down into the flat feeder.

Goldfinches
Goldfinch flock

The Mourning Dove was still in the flat feeder almost two hours later. He doesn’t seem to worry about all the hawks who are hunting for big fat doves … or for that matter, squirrels.

Cowbird and House Finch or maybe it’s a Purple Finch … I can’t tell the difference
Cowbirds and House Finch

I worry about my birds and squirrels. I understand the hawks and the fishers and the coyotes and the Bobcats need their dinner too. Not every animal eats seeds.

Dove on the deck rail

ALL CREATURES – Marilyn Armstrong

Many creatures crossed our deck today. When I first peeked out my bathroom window at around 5 in the morning, there were three squirrels hanging onto the feeders. I went back to bed.

When I got up later, there were at least half a dozen Brown-Headed Cowbirds chowing down. I turned on the coffee and looked again. A big Red-Bellied Woodpecker and a small flock of House Finches and Goldfinches were chowing down. I went to take a picture and before I turned it on, they were gone. Vanished. Poof!

House Finches and I think the bird with the blue bill is a Bluebird
House Finches

I went back to the kitchen, cut open a couple of English muffins and popped them into the toaster. More Cowbirds, miscellaneous finches and a couple of Chickadees. I went and picked up my camera. Both feeders were empty.

Cowbirds

Back to the kitchen. Garry was setting up the coffee, so I cream cheesed the English muffins. When I turned around there were half a dozen House Finches and a big Red-Bellied Woodpecker. I went and picked up the camera. They did not all fly away.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

The woodpecker played peek-a-boo with me, then abandoned ship and a squirrel took over his spot. It was the middle of the day when squirrels are not usually out and about, but this squirrel seriously needs to have a chat with an older, more mature squirrel and get a grip on the dangers of squirreldom.

And although the House Finches hung around a bit, mostly, they were out of focus, but then the Cowbirds came back … and they were in focus. Not that they are particularly interesting, but they are big and easy to shoot (with a camera).

BIRDS DU JOUR – Marilyn Armstrong

Garry decided the poor birds must be starving, so he filled the feeders. Then we stood at the window and watched the tree fill up with all kinds of birds.

Molting Goldfinch

Which was followed by birdly jostling and bonking as various birds tried to knock the other competing birds off the feeder.

The Cowbirds are big and solid and don’t move, though they did at least look up when three finches whacked them at the same time.

A trio

The little squirrel was on the rail looking at the free-for-all, birds and more birds … and finally, he left. He didn’t feel like taking on the Cowbird either.

Watching me, watching you …

So there we are, looking at the feeders. On the flat feeder, there are three Brown-headed Cowbirds. They are about the size of a Robin. On the hanging feeder are a few Goldfinches and several Nuthatches with a mashup of chickadees, Carolina Wrens, and three woodpeckers.

It’s not like he didn’t get his turn, mind you …

I find, these days, that I spend less time shooting pictures and more time just watching the birds and squirrels and their interactions. Also wondering how every bird and squirrel in the woods know within a few minutes that Garry has filled the feeders. Is this what they call “Twitter”?

The feeders are full! Come and get it!

MOURNING DOVES – Marilyn Armstrong

The doves have been getting tamer. I think they are nesting very nearby and they like to sit out on the same branch and coo at each other.

Dove in the tree

THE CUTE FACTOR IN BLACK & WHITE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Cute Factor

I’ve got a lot of cute pictures recently. I have entire SD cards full of cuteness I haven’t had the time to process, so this was an interesting process. Two pictures I definitely wanted … but the rest? Squirrels being incredibly cute all the time and a variety of birds doing funny birdy stuff.

Anyway, this is what I decided on. Mostly because these had the best contrast or texture or something.

My favorite. This is the cutest little Tufted Titmouse I think I’ve ever seen
Two chubby Doves nesting in the seeds and not leaving until they feel well fed
This little squirrel has become really hard to convince he should leave. He moves in the middle of the day, shoos the birds off the feeder and hangs on for dear life

This little squirrel is not afraid of anything, although I think he really should be. I finally had to go outside and walk up to the feeder and explain to him that he’d been there for hours and it was time to let some of the other kids have a seed. He would just hop onto the nearest branch, wait for me to go back inside, they hop back on the feeder.

Same squirrel. Back again.
Two little birds, sitting on the feeder. The fuzzy one is molting.

I finally went and stood there and every time his/her little head popped up I would say — just like I talk to the dogs — “No. I said you have to leave now. I wasn’t kidding. No, get back down. You have to go find other food now.” He kept popping up, like a little furry jack-in-the-box. But cute? Absolutely. He really should be more careful, though. He is not careful and he doesn’t watch for the Hawks.

A NEW BEAK IN TOWN – Marilyn Armstrong

A NEW BEAK CAME TO TOWN A FEW DAYS AGO

I saw him at the feeder on Monday. “That’s a new kid,” I announced, but of course I didn’t get a picture because I wasn’t holding the camera. Just watching the birdies flutter about.

This morning, I heard the call. The wild call of the Carolina Wren. He has the loudest call of any bird of that size, which is smaller than a Robin, but bigger than a Finch.

You can’t miss the call. You can hear it through closed windows and doors. This time, I heard it in the living room … and the sound was coming from the backyard. I went back there, missed him, but while I was standing there with my camera in my hand, staring at the empty feeder, who should land but the aforementioned and previously heard, Carolina Wren.

The Carolina Wren and his little yellow Goldfinch pal

As I was reading up on this little wren, there was a lot of commentary on how these migratory birds have largely stopped migrating. Partly, because of climate change and alterations to their environment, but even more because of …

me.

Squared. with pointed beak — Carolina Wren

People with feeders have dramatically changed the migration of birds. Whereas they used to fly to the tropics, many just fly down to like … Maryland or New Jersey … and now, many are not bothering to migrate at all.

I read an exchange between someone in South Carolina bemoaning her lack of Carolina Wrens and was answered by someone in Michigan who said, “Well, we just got a foot of snow and they are happily eating at my feeder on the porch!”

The last of the square pictures. Some of the shots just did NOT want to be square, not without losing a piece of wing or tail …

We feeder owners are supposed to report seeing birds showing up where they should not be … and especially if they seem to be suffering from an ailment.