Feathered Friends

One of my favorite hobbies is bird-watching. When I was a little girl, I got a school assignment in science to go bird-watching and identify the birds I found. I asked Daddy if I could borrow his binoculars, and I headed out to find my little feathered friends. Ever since then, I have enjoyed watching for and discovering as many bird species as I can find. I entice my little feathered friends with various bird feeders around the yard and bushes and trees for them to hide and nest in. Over the years, many a little feathered couple has taken up residence in my yard, returning year after year to dine and nest. In fact, as I write, Mama and Daddy Mockingbird are chasing off an unwanted guest, Big Bad Mr. Crow. (I suppose he got too close to the kiddos in the nest when he spied that dead mouse on the walk. The mouse is in the woods now, and hopefully Mr. Crow will move on and the Mockingbirds can settle down with the little chippers.)

Speaking of mockingbirds, they are rather brave and interesting birds. For some reason, they aren’t too keen on the squirrels. They often dive bomb the little fur balls as they’re raiding the bird feeders. Mockingbirds don’t eat the seeds, so I have often wondered how the little thieves managed to attract their negative attention. I suppose maybe they just interfere with the bug-catching. I’ve also seen them dive bomb my Aussie a time or two…which was met with little to no recognition of their attempts. Needless to say, they don’t really bother with hounding her anymore (hehe…hounding). The mocking birds often chase after larger birds, and I hear their squabbles every now and again when I step outside. They seem to be somewhat ok with me hanging around, so I’ve managed a few decent photos of them.

Practice Shots (watermarked) (24)

Now back to that crow. He had his fair share of chasing off the predators last Sunday. We were headed out to take a drive on that beautiful day, and as I was heading to the car, I heard that crow making an awful racket. He kept flying up into the air and then diving down to the treetops making quite a fuss. I turned to my husband and said, “What is that crazy crow doing?”

Well, within seconds of making that statement, I heard the cries of a hawk. My husband spotted him sitting in the very top of a pine tree. I had my camera in my hand, so I wasted no time in framing a few shots of that beautiful guy. Eventually the crow stirred him from his treetop, and I was blessed with several shots of that beautiful specimen in flight. I hear him occasionally and see evidence of his presence, but Sunday, we got to see him…a beautiful red-tailed hawk. He’s been resident in this wood for many years, but only on rare occasion do you get a glimpse of him.

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Another little guy I managed a shot of recently is the Blue Grosbeak. I was staring out of the window of my back door, and I thought I was looking at one of the bluebirds nesting in the backyard. As I squinted to get a better view (I wasn’t wearing my glasses), I realized that maybe I wasn’t looking at a bluebird after all. So I went to get my glasses and realized I was right. Right away I got my camera and zoomed in on him and got his picture. Then, I looked him up in my various bird books and identified him as a Blue Grosbeak…another fine specimen to add to my bird collection.

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The rest of my feathered friends are regulars and will flit about even when I’m outside. Sometimes I think the sparrows actually pose for their pictures. I managed a really great shot of one of my sparrow friends coming in for a landing on the feeder.

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And then there are the various and abundant sparrow photos…

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Then there’s my flitty little friend, the tufted titmouse…

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And the chickadee…

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A rare catch of a female scarlet tanager…

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And the cardinal…

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I also got a couple of shots of the missus before the mister shooed her away…

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And the tufted titmouse had a friend over, a female brown-headed cowbird.

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And finally, the house finches (finally, for the backyard anyway).

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Now, not all of my feathered friends visit the backyard. Sometimes, I go to visit them. I found this little guy hanging out at the park next to the lake. He was knocking on a dead tree trunk and sounded like a woodpecker. When I spotted him, I realized he wasn’t a woodpecker at all. He was a Brown-Headed Nuthatch. He was only at about head height on the dead trunk, and I think he was posing for me, so I got several good shots of him.

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My little bird collection is steadily increasing, and hopefully I can wow you all with some more great species before summer’s end. But for now, the birds bid you “Adieu”.

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