A WILD RUSHING OF HUNGRY BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

So this morning, there were a few birds around, but since I took a lot of pictures yesterday, I decided to have some coffee and a muffin and maybe pictures later.

About an hour later, I went into the kitchen to see what I could grab to eat and there was a mad flapping around the feeder and every bird in the woods was trying to get a few seeds.

Maybe they thawed a bit since yesterday, but the birds were really, really hungry today.

Cardinal and Junco – Frozen seeds?
Flock of hungry Warblers
A landing bird and a lot of Warblers
Flying Warbler and a clinging Nuthatch
Junco landing, Chickadee in eating mode
More hungry Warblers
Junco on the Toad

And Cardinal on a branch, too!

Cardinal on a branch
Nuthatch, Junco, Warblers – Pass that seed!
And a big mourning dove to clean up anything that fell on the deck!
Yellow Warbler waiting his turn for the feeder

MOURNING DOVES – Marilyn Armstrong

Although I appreciate the Doves — they are our major “clean up” birds — they have got to be the dullest birds in the wood. They stake out a claim on a branch and just sit there.

Occasionally, they turn their heads right or left. Every now and then, they lift a wing and stick their head under it.

Mostly, they sit. Like big, brown cushions, they relax on a thick branch which is their version of a recliner, I think. They seem to be waiting for something, but I have no idea what it might be.

One Mourning Dove
Almost looking at each other!
Notice that their heads moved

Sometimes, they look at each other. Usually, they just stare vacantly ahead. The good news is that they are pretty big and if you can find the right setting (on MY camera it’s “Setting” as primary), they make a pretty picture.

But they don’t do anything but sit on that branch and stare.

Oh wow! Looking at each other! So exciting!

WHAT WOULD THE BIRDS DO? – Marilyn Armstrong

I didn’t take pictures today. When I was ready to shoot, the birds were off in the boughs of trees. Sleeping, I presume. They probably had a later dinner, but I was tired and I have a lot of pictures already taken. This is a sort of “best of birds” from the past week.

A pair of Mourning Doves

So today, just pictures. Tomorrow is a feeder filling day. Which may mean I can shoot — or not. It depends on how terrified they are when we fill the feeder. Thursday I’ve got my cardiologist and that’s just outside of Boston so I won’t be doing much that day.

And we are supposedly getting snow Friday and Saturday. So we’ll so how the rest of the week goes.

MORE WEEKEND BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

I took so many pictures over the weekend, I’m still trying to catch up with the stuff I’ve already downloaded.

Woodpecker with a red cap
Nuthatch with seed
Yellow warbler with a seed
Black-and-White Woodpecker
Vintage Chickadee

BIRDS OF THE SECOND SUNDAY – Marilyn Armstrong

The bird feeder was almost empty today. Although I haven’t been seeing lots of birds, the feeder has been emptying steadily and fast. I think they eat more food in the winter. They need more calories to keep warm. Our birds are quite fat, so I think we’re doing a good job.

Garry agreed to help me fill the feeder. I can do it alone, but it’s a lot easier with help, though it’s even easier when the help is the tall son.

A well-rounded Tufted Titmouse, rear view

The problem is, the moment we went out to add food to the feeder, the birds flew away and didn’t come back. They’ll be back tomorrow. It’s going to be close to zero tomorrow and they will be hungry.

Chickadee and toad

I feel by now they should get it — that we are not going to eat them. We are the feeders, not the eaters. It probably didn’t help that The Duke came out to help us with the feeding. He actually might eat them.

The Duke is not committed to saving the wildlife. As far as he is concerned, all those little, feathered flyers are snack-food.

Chickadee and Tufted Titmouse
Titmouse and Junco
Full face shot of Chickadee
Two Tufted Titmice
The ubiquitous Nuthatch

I am taking fewer pictures because I think my hard drive is filling up with feathers. I’m aiming for interesting pictures rather than sheer volume. But all bets are off when the woodpeckers come around. I totally lose control.

MORE BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

Normally, by this time of year, I’m taking pictures of drifts of snow. But there is no snow. It’s cold, but not as cold as normal and the cold only lasts for a day at a time, then it warms up. By this time last year, we’d already had two feet of snow and were working on a third. This year, barely a trace and that was early in November.

Diving Chickadee and a Nuthatch

So, no snowdrift. Birds.

Chickadee landing on runway 1!

The birds are more interesting anyway. In my memory, we’ve had a few winters with almost no snow … until the end of January and then we got buried. Until the daffodils are blooming, we will take a “wait and see” attitude.

White-breasted Nuthatch

It is unusually warm. There has been plenty of precipitation that would have been snow, but being so warm, we’ve had rain instead.

Nuthatch and Chickadee

I have mixed feeling about our lack of winter. Gratitude because the snow makes it hard to get around, but worry too because we ought to be having winter and we aren’t.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

At least we don’t have to dig our way out of the front door. That’s something. Climate change or just the vagaries of New England weather?

Around here, it can be pretty hard to tell.

SUNDAY’S BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

It was “fill the feeder” day. I didn’t put out the new fancy birdseed because I decided I needed to use up the older stuff first. For a long time, there were no birds.

Later in the afternoon, there was a birdie fiesta in progress. I took pictures. I would have taken more pictures, but (1) I was hungry and needed lunch, and (2) I needed to leave some time to process the photographs.

Chickadee and Titmouse – two birds that seem to get along pretty well together

That’s what I’ve been doing most of the day. Developing pictures. And I ate a sandwich. Which the dogs wanted very much. But I wanted it too. I asked them, “Hey if I’m hungry because you ate my lunch, are you going to give ME treats?” Not one of them could give me a solid “yes” on that, so I went on eating. I actually ate the entire sandwich, but Bonnie cleaned up the crumbs. It’s her job and she’s good at it.

If that isn’t a Black-Crested Titmouse (on the right), I don’t know what it is. But they don’t live up here. The book says so.
And if you don’t believe me, here’s another shot. One impossible Black-Crested Titmouse and his pal, the Nuthatch.

A good friend of mine who lives in Australia reminded me that you can’t always believe the maps in the bird books because he sees birds in his yard that supposedly live hundreds of kilometers to the north, yet there they are.

Notice how he’s using his wings for balance!

He pointed out there are trains, trucks, cars and all the other kinds of transports. Birds travel. They don’t have to fly all the way. Instead, they hitchhike. These birds live in Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma. They also, apparently, live in my woods.

These two little guys were squabbling over who got whatever the other thought was “the prime” position. Lots of flapping!
I love the way Chickadees dive off the feeder. They don’t even open their wings until they are halfway to the ground.

I’ve learned a lot about how birds fly. That they always put down their landing gear before they touch the feeder. That they dive off the feeder with wings still folded and I think they really enjoy doing it. They really like flying. It’s not just how they get from place to place. They seem to have fun, too.

Landing gear is down!
Coming in for a landing!
Don’t you love the way their wings fold and flex?

There was a lot of flying going on. It got pretty competitive. Despite the fact that I really wanted to get more flying, even with my finger ON the shudder, I can’t hold the really big lens up all the time and the moment I let it down for a minute, I miss the take, the landing, and the little in-the-air kerfuffles of bird-on-bird.

Two Chickadees. They like to knock each other off the feeder too. It’s the bird version of “king of the hill.”
Three birds. I think the big one is a Tufted Titmouse, but I can’t tell for sure.

Don’t think bigger birds necessarily win these battles. As often as not, the little ones push the bigger ones away. It’s more about the aggression level of the bird than it’s inherent power.

Yet one more Nuthatch!
A Tufted Titmouse and a Nuthatch.

I took more than 100 pictures today and I don’t think I processed even a quarter of them. I ran out of time before I ran out of photographs. More will come.

Part of the clean-up crew: a Mourning Dove on the deck