Monday, June 9, 2014

Back to Birds

This spring has once again afforded me the opportunity to do some quality bird watching. Over the last couple of years I have really taken notice of the beautiful variety of birds that come through our neck of the woods. I never knew we had so many vibrant, beautiful birds in this area and once I discovered them I was hooked on spying on the birds in my backyard. 

I try and make our backyard as desirable as I can. There are already plenty of trees but I also add four different types of birdfeeders (suet, thistle seed, wild birdseed mix, and hummingbird juice) and make sure that the birdbath is always clean and full of water. That seems to do the trick.

Our first little mister is a beautiful little Veery. At first glance I thought it was the Ovenbird that I've been forever trying to capture on film. I saw a flash of warm brown out of the corner of my eye and ran to grab my camera and zoom lens. I only got a few pictures, and most of them very blurry, before he flew away but I did manage to get one okay picture. I showed my bird expert (Joey) the picture when he came home from school and he said, "No mom. I don't think that is an Ovenbird. I think that is a Veery." And sure enough. He looked it up in my bird book and he was right. So here is the beautiful little Veery.
I was hoping to get clearer pictures of the beautiful Veery and kept my eye out in the backyard. I was sure I saw him again and grabbed my camera. When I took a closer look I was surprised to see that this time I caught the Ovenbird instead. Ha! I want the Ovenbird and I got the Veery. I wanted the Veery and I got the Ovenbird. It all worked out in the end. Here is the Ovenbird.
The Baltimore Oriole just passes through our area and is only here for a very short time. To tempt him to my backyard I put out a few oranges. It worked!
Mr. Oriole was happy to take advantage of my bribe and I was happy to get a few great pics.
He even caught my eye a couple times and let me snap away at him. With that gorgeous bright orange he must be used to all the attention.
It seems the oranges worked on a lovely little House Finch couple as well.
We have a plethora of Goldfinches flitting around our neighborhood. The males are such a shocking and vibrant yellow it always takes my breath away. I just had to get a shot of this male's bright yellow back contrasting the black and white wing feathers. So handsome.
Here we have two couples. Two males with two females all enjoying the thistle. Oh how the Goldfinches love their thistle!
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only type of hummingbird that we have in our area and luckily for me they are privy to our yard as well. Here we have a female actually sitting on the feeder. Usually the birds just hover and drink but she must have felt safe enough to sit for a while and rest her wings.
The male Ruby-throated Hummingbird is much more colorful than the female. Here he is taking a break on the feeder as well.
I got quite the shock when this male looked up and I zoomed in on him. The feathers on his neck looked more like a ruffled collar than a smooth band of color as I'd seen it before. It was breathtaking. Thank heavens for the zoom lens. Also not sure when he is called a Ruby-throated Hummingbird when he is clearly more golden yellow or orange. Either way, he is a beauty.
Next up we have a female Downy Woodpecker. She is intent on getting to that suet that she loves so much. The female looks almost identical to the male Downy Woodpecker except the bright red patch that the male has on the back of his head.
This mama Robin is clearly taking something back to her nest to help make it a little more comfy for her babies.
Maybe this was even this nest she was coming to. A beautiful robin's nest was right next to our front door. I tried to keep the kids away from it so mama didn't get too stressed out but every once and a while we had to go in and out of our front door. Mama and Daddy robin would stand watch from a few yards away letting out little chirps to warn us not to go any closer. But I did manage to get a shot of the four blue eggs safely nestled inside the wonderfully made nest.
We were even lucky enough to spy the babies as they had just hatched and watched them grow. Shortly before they left their nest I took another picture. I didn't want to get too close and scare the babies out of the nest before they were ready. The day after I took this picture I witnessed the birds testing out their wings. They took turns standing on the side of the nest flapping their wings. They practiced for two days and the next time I checked on them they were gone. Good thing, too, because they had definitely run out of room in that nest.
None too soon for mama, I'm sure. She was finally able to get in a bath and have a little "me" time instead of running back to the nest every five minutes with more food for her hungry babies. Job well done, mama!
This is the first time I ever saw this little fuzzball in my backyard. This beauty is a Gray Catbird. He is so soft and smooth looking and I fell in love with him immediately.
I am so happy I was able to get a few good pictures of this little guy because I haven't seen him in my backyard since. Cute lil fella. Thanks for stopping!
This stunning fellow is a Northern Waterthrush. I believe this is the first time I've seen him in my backyard as well. I'm not surprised he is here. They love running water and with Lake Michigan and a bunch of rivers right next to us I'm sure this is a perfect spot for him.
Seeing as how they eat mosquitoes and slugs I will be happy to welcome him back anytime. Keep up the good work!
And of course we have Mr. Radiant himself, the Indigo Bunting. I'm always surprised when I see one of these guys in my backyard because he looks so tropical in his glowing blue attire. Such a handsome lil thing. And he does a great job cleaning up under the feeders too. 

Thank you for humoring me in my birdie obsession. If you are not already on birdie overload feel free to check out my other birdie photos here, here, and here.


Bijoux said...

Those are some great camera catches! I love bird watching. I've only seen an Oriole a few times in my life, and it think I saw an Indigo Bunting once, but it was flying, and may have been a Bluebird. You have some birds we dont see here, like the Catbird, Veery and Northern Waterthrush.

Verna Lantz said...

What a fun hobby! Such adorable birds. You are so lucky to have such a variety around you. Very cool!

betty said...

Wow, look at all those great birds in your back yard and the wonderful pictures you took of them! I truly enjoyed reading this, learning about the birds and seeing your great pictures! We don't have the variety of birds that you have! Job well done!


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Gorgeous photos! Those birds must adore you for all the care you give them.

Mom24 said...

Oh my goodness, how talented you are! Thank you so much for sharing, your pictures are wonderful. You've inspired me to dust off our feeders and make our yard more bird friendly. Thank you.

Mimsie said...

These are just beautiful.

April said...

Gorgeous pics!! I think my favorite was the Oriole eating the orange. :-)

Tabor said...

What a superlist of birds you have in your yard. So happy your young son takes this so seriously. What wonderful photos...many I have not seen in my yard!!!

Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

You got some great shots of those hummingbirds.

And, look at those little cute!

Karen Deborah said...

This is great! I plant flowers the birds like and have a bird bath. I wonder if I could get some mosquito eating birds here with feeders. If you feed them do they still eat mosquitoes?
I loved all the varieties of wildlife you have. It's also really neat that your kids are learning this too.

Lady Ella said...

Never knew the US had such stunning birds!

Been visiting on and off for a while. I love your candour, positivity and above all how you appreciate what you have, while you have it. Way to go!

Cyndy @ Back in the Bush said...

I love this! You've inspired me to expand my bird-feeding into different types and get a hummingbird feeder. I love that you put out an orange and got what you were hoping for! Nice trick!

Wisconsin Girl said...

Love these shots! Makes me want to spend more time looking around our yard. I feel I'm still too busy chasing little ones but can feel the days coming when I can take a little more notice. I've had making birdhouses on our "list" for awhile now. We need to get on that! Thanks for sharing your great pics and love the descriptions.

Elaine Alguire said...

Wow, you are quite the bird capturer, my friend! So many pretty ones. And those eggs - the color - WOWZA!

I love that you share these with us... :)

Riahli said...

We love your bird photos! So amazing!!!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson