Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cooperative House Finches

Oh, it's you again with your camera!  Hold your horses.  I'll turn around so you can get a head on shot.       

I'll be with you in just a second.  Dang, that suet up there looks pretty darn good.

Okay, I'm ready.  This is my best pose, Shaddy.  Shoot quick cuz I'm itching to peck at that good-looking block of suet

 We get some finches with a lot of red on their heads and shoulders.  I'll be on the lookout for them with my camera in hand.   

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Goldfinches Abound at Our Feeders

I took these photos on Saturday morning as I sat on our screen porch with my camera and a cup of coffee.  How colorful is this male goldfinch?  Gotta love it!

This fellow is about to help himself to the sunflower hearts we put in this tube feeder. 

If one goldfinch is grand, then two goldfinches are grander yet!

Goldfinches are nearly as tame as chickadees, not quite as comfortable with me nearby, but pretty darn tolerant.

These are female goldfinches.  They wear feathers of a more subdued yellow than the males.

I love this photo.  I caught her in the act.  She's enjoying the "niger plus" birdseed. 

All of our feeders are squirrel proof.  If you're thinking of investing in birdfeeders, don't even consider purchasing one that isn't squirrel proof.  Nothing's more frustrating than dealing with squirrels eating the birdseed! 

I hope you've enjoyed these photos half as much as I've enjoyed taking them and posting them here on my blog.

Please come back to see house finches, sparrows and woodpeckers.

Nature provides the best entertainment.  Birdwatching is relaxing, fairly inexpensive and sharing moments with our feathered friends is a simply wonderful pastime.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chickadees On a Saturday Morning

Saturday morning, I sat with my camera and a cup of coffee and watched birds come to our feeders.  Today, I'm sharing the photographs I took of chickadees. 

Chickadees are very tame.  We sit in lawn chairs only a few feet from the feeders and they come to eat without hesitation.

 I fill these cups with meal worms every day.  Chickadees love them.  They'll often sit right down in the bowl as they eat.
We fill the tube feeders with sunflower hearts, peanuts and niger seed.
This bird is hard at work, taking bites of a meal worm that he's holding with his feet after helping himself to the daily supply I provide in the cups.
No matter how you look at them, chickadees are just plain cute.

We're fortunate to have chickadees all year round.  Their bandit-like appearance makes me smile. 

I'll be back soon with pictures of the other birds we feed, including woodpeckers, gold finches and house finches, sparrows, cardinals and more.

We've had hummingbirds at the special feeders we have for them.  I'm finding they're a little harder to photograph but trust me, I'll be trying.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Delayed Word on the Cardinal Family

It's not fun to post bad news; that's why I've delayed posting this photo and narrative about the cardinal family that was living right outside my kitchen window.

Until today, I've been quiet about what happened.  As you can see, the nest is empty.  That's because a day or two after my last cardinal post, a predator ravaged the nest.  My husband was nearby when he heard a noise from the bush and saw an intense commotion about the nest.  When I examined the area, I was disheartened with what I found.  

I debated on whether I should share this with you or not.  At this late date, I decided to do so.  I didn't want you to think I'd simply lost interest in the fledglings.  Unfortunately for those of us interested in this male and female cardinal and their offspring, nature has its reasons for allowing such things to happen.

  We're enjoying chickadees, goldfinches, woodpeckers, nuthatches, sparrows and cardinals who come to eat at our bird feeders.  I'll be sharing photos of them ASAP.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Our Second Tree Frog of the Summer

Guess what?  I was looking out my patio door Friday morning and I noticed there was something in the birdhouse at the back of our yard.  Something was looking out of the hole.  I grabbed my camera and went for a closer look.  If this is a bird, then I'm taking down all of my birdfeeders!

I had to leave for work so I couldn't keep an eye on this "thing."  When I looked for him later in the day, he wasn't there; at least, he wasn't looking out of the opening.  Since Friday, I've looked for him in the birdhouse several times with no luck. 

I suspect this "thing" is a tree frog.  If you follow my blog, you know I spotted a brown tree frog in a different birdhouse a few days ago.  (I posted a picture of it in my last post).  He wasn't as creepy looking as this green one.

We've been doing a whole lot of watering the past several weeks.  Perhaps the frogs are attracted to our yard because of that.  

Life continues to be interesting right here in our own back yard.   

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Tree Frog in Our Birdhouse

We spotted this tree frog yesterday, peering out of the opening in one of our birdhouses.  We had trouble believing what we were seeing!   We'd heard of tree frogs and have heard the noise they make, but we'd never seen one until now.   

We climbed a ladder in the evening to get a closer look and to take this picture.  Nothing bothered him.  We used a flashlight to see him and even touched him.  He didn't budge.  I could see his throat vibrating so I know he was alive.

We're overrun with birdhouses (we like them for decorative purposes and we welcome and love when birds take up residence).  Most of them are empty.  A few of them will be occupied every summer by, well, by birds.  You can imagine our disbelief when we realized Mr. Treefrog had adopted this birdhouse, at least for a while, and was already comfortable enough to sit on the front porch. 

I've checked the birdhouse several times today but haven't seen him yet.  I sure hope he knows he's welcome to stay all summer!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Closeup Observations of a Cardinal Nursery

I succeeded in getting a photo of a male cardinal feeding his fledglings.  In spite of the slight distortions from shooting this through our kitchen window, I'm happy to have captured this scene.

Although not crystal clear, that's the male above and the female below.  The fledglings also be seen with their mouths open wide.  I've spent a lot of time with my camera, standing at the window, trying to be discreet and yet determined to get as many pictures as possible.

The female cardinal takes her turn in the ongoing process of feeding the ravenous offspring.

Mama paused for a moment as if to say hello to me.  She's much more comfortable with me than Papa.  He usually flies off right away if he notices me. 

I imagined that Mama wanted to know what I was up to in my kitchen.  She enjoys watching me; she seems to appreciate the diversion. 

She has a wonderful personality.  We've had several interesting "conversations."

Mrs. Cardinal is an awesome listener.  She gave me her full attention.

The fledglings continue to demand and receive endless feedings throughout the day. 

I'm thankful that although they look like they're shrieking, the fledglings don't make so much as a peep.  Can you imagine if they cried like human babies?

I'm so fascinated with this cardinal family, I can't stop taking pictures.  Have you noticed?  Hah!

I can almost hear the song they appear to be singing.

"Holding my mouth open all day is exhausting!"
I took this picture outside on a ladder.  From this angle, we can see how much they've grown.  I'm not sure if the third egg hatched or not.  I can't see the egg or a third fledgling.

I've been worrying because of the many days of 100 degree weather we've been experiencing.  Occasionally, I mist the nest, hoping to provide some relief from the heat.   

In a rare moment, the proud parents posed for me.  Mama loves the camera.  Notice the tilt of her head!  Trust me, Papa disappeared before I could try for a better shot.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cardinal Fledglings Two Days Old

I was lucky to get this face-to-face shot of one of our resident cardinal fledglings.  Is he comical or what!!  Ya just gotta love that face.

Fledglings need lots of quick naps between feedings.  They often strain their necks and open their mouths even when the adults aren't there.  Positive thinking? 

Their wide open mouths make it easy for the male and female adults to feed their young ones.  I would love to capture them being fed.  Trust me, I'll be trying. 

Hey, that's how I look when I wake up in the morning, stretch and yawn.

The third egg still hasn't hatched.  The other two broke open on Sunday, two days ago.  Maybe tomorrow will be the third fledgling's birthday.

I often find MaMa cardinal faithfully perched on the nest.  She's a trooper in spite of this long stretch of 100 degree days.


(See my previous blogs for more pictures of the cardinals).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Brand-New Cardinal Fledglings

Papa Cardinal was pacing yesterday.  He kept a close eye on the area surrounding the nest.

He was too nervous to sit in the nearby chair so he settled on the arm instead.
Then he hopped back on the feeder support where he kept an watchful eye on me.

I think the waiting was getting to him, don't you?

This afternoon, I was thrilled when I looked through the window at the nest and saw this tiny fledgling's head.  I saw two heads but couldn't get a photo of both.  

An object used in building the nest prevents clear viewing of the tiny bird, but I did my best to photograph him.

I have a sneaky suspicion this little critter is very, very hungry.

When my curiosity got the best of me, I went outside and climbed a ladder to see exactly what was going on in the nest. 

As you can see, one of the three eggs hasn't hatched yet.  I hope the second fledgling is okay.   Perhaps he's simply resting.  I think I'd get tired too from holding my mouth open that wide! 

Isn't this exciting?  I'll be back with more as the days go by. 

(See previous and more recent posts for more cardinal photos).