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Archive for the ‘Wild Bird Wednesday’ Category

Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. A few weeks ago I showed you some of the birds that were feeding on our serviceberry tree. We also have a shrub form that sets its fruit just a little later than the tree. These shrubs have been a hot bed of bird activity recently. As you will see each type of bird has their own method of feeding on the berries. Don’t forget you can click on the images to see a larger version.

Let’s start with the American Robin.

The stem is a good form of roughage.

Grasp the berry in your beak and then…

…toss your head up and pop it in your mouth.

Another bird that uses the swallow whole method is the Cedar Waxwing.

First you have to find the right berry.

Pluck the berry from the stem and…

…down the hatch it goes.

We haven’t see or heard from our Baltimore Orioles much in the past few weeks but I did see one in the serviceberry bushes enjoying some fruit.

Female or Juvenile Baltimore Oriole stabbing a serviceberry.

The last of the birds that usually snarf the berries whole is the Eastern Bluebird.

Let me see which one is the ripest.

I’ll take this one…

…but I’d prefer to take it to another tree to nibble on it.

The bluebird surprised me by flying off to another tree with the berry. He set it down on the branch and surprisingly it didn’t roll off. Then he settled in and picked away at it until it was gone.

Some of the smaller species enjoy the serviceberries too but they can’t eat them whole. Here the Tufted Titmouse demonstrates how they eat.

This berry looks tasty.

I’ll hold it in my claw so I can peck at it.

Finally one of the smallest birds in our yard, not including the hummingbirds, also enjoys eating the serviceberries. Here a Black-capped Chickadee demonstrates his method.

I like to grab the berry while it’s still attached and hold it in my claw.

It’s easy to peck at while you hold it.

Do I have some berry on my beak?

If you look closely at the last picture (click to make bigger) you can see a tiny piece of berry in the chickadee’s beak.

While I was shooting these pictures Charlie was on a photo safari of his own in the yard and captured this picture.

This is how I get pictures of such small birds.

Here I am shooting pictures with my new FujiFilm X-T3 camera. I have a 100-400 mm lens and a 1.4x multiplier. As you can see I am hand holding the camera. I could never do that with my old Nikon. This set up weighs about 4.7 pounds (2.1 kg) compared to the Nikon equivalent that weighed over 9.5 lbs (4.3 kg). I do use a monopod occasionally for extra stability and to lighten the load from hanging around my neck. I’m really enjoying getting back into bird photography. Our yard is so full of bird activity right now I’m having a difficult time keeping up with all the pictures I’m taking.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the birds we see around our yard. I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You should stop by and see some more birds.

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It is a busy time of year for all the birds around our yard. Many of our feathered friends have babies that they are feeding and the parents are working hard to keep up with those voracious appetites. In addition to the fruit on many of the shrubs we have planted in our yard we offer two feeding stations.

Tufted Titmouse at mealworm feeder

Our mealworm feeder is always a popular stop for all our birds but our other feeding station is just as busy.

Tufted Titmouse at suet feeder

Tufted Titmouse grabs a beak full of suet

What you can’t see in these pictures of the tufted titmouse are the young ones that are screeching from the bushes behind the feeder. This titmouse made numerous trips to try to quiet her brood.

Blue Jay on suet feeder

One of the biggest users of the suet feeder are the blue jays. They are a bit sloppy too.

Blue Jay grabbing some suet

Blue Jay flies away after taking some suet
(notice how much is falling to the ground – you may have to click on the image to see)

The blue jays are some of the messiest eaters. There is quite a large area of crumbs under this feeder. A few birds are smart enough to feed on that too.

White-breasted Nuthatch picks some suet from the cake

We use C & S Hot Pepper Delight in our suet feeder. This works the best for us as it is a no melt variety and the hot pepper keeps the squirrels and chipmunks away. We’ve tried other brands of hot pepper but found the rodents weren’t deterred by them. In case you are wondering birds will happily eat the hot suet because they don’t have well-developed taste buds.

C & S Hot Pepper Delight

Don’t forget you can click on the images to see a larger version.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the birds we see around our yard. I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You should stop by and see some more birds.

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Our serviceberry tree and shrubs (Amelanchier) are full of fruit right now and the birds are enjoying the feast.

Gray Catbird

Cedar Waxwing

Eastern Bluebirds are normally insect eaters and are regulars at our mealworm feeder but I also caught our female bluebird snacking on a serviceberry. She is looking in the direction of their nest box where their young are still growing. I wonder if she is trying to decide whether to eat it or share it with her babies.

Female Eastern Bluebird

This last couple of shots I didn’t even see happen when I took the pictures. It wasn’t until after I downloaded them to my computer that I saw what really took place. I was focused on the Cedar Waxwing on the left and didn’t see that another one was approaching on the right with a serviceberry in its beak.

Incoming!!!

Thank you!

My guess is that the “giver” is a male and the “recipient” is a female. It’s too early in the season for this to be a parent/child pair and many bird couples court by the male feeding the female.

Don’t forget you can click on the images to see a larger version.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the birds we see around our yard. I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You can stop by and see some more birds.

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We love seeing all the birds around our yard. Here are a few of our regular visitors.

Gray Catbird

Many birds love our mealworm feeder. We made a small change to this feeder by adding a baffle to the stand.

Female Eastern Bluebird

The main reason for adding the baffle is to keep the chipmunks from pigging out on the mealworms. It has worked perfectly and so far this year we haven’t been going through as many mealworms as we have in the past.

Male Eastern Bluebird

This pair of bluebirds are our second pair of the season. We have two bluebird boxes on opposite sides of our yard. The first pair in the north box have successfully raised their young. The second pair of bluebirds were aggressive towards the first pair so after the babies fledged the first family left the yard. The second pair of bluebirds are now sitting on eggs in the south box so we hope to see more babies soon.

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

It’s too bad the hummingbird didn’t turn his head just right to catch the sun on his gorget. We are again hosting a male and female Ruby-throated Hummingbird so we hope to see some young ones in a few weeks.

Don’t forget you can click on the images to see a larger version.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the birds we see around our yard. I’m joining the Wild Bird Wednesday blog hop. You can stop by and see some more birds.

Read Full Post »

Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. Boy I must not have been thinking straight yesterday when I posted about our orioles at our feeder because I forgot to include the video I made to go along with it.

So without further ado here it is.

If you can’t see the video you can go here to view it.

Enjoy!

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Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here to tell you about some of the wild bird excitement we’ve had in the past few days. On Saturday morning we saw a Baltimore Oriole feeding from our hummingbird feeder.

Male Baltimore Oriole on hummingbird feeder

In a short time we were able to see at least 3 male Orioles and one female.

Male Baltimore Oriole on hummingbird feeder while female waits her turn

One of the things Orioles like to eat from are fruits and oranges are a favorite. Since we had a supply of oranges in the fridge Charlie decided to make an orange feeder. After a little while in his workshop an orange feeder was created.

An orange feeder with room for half an orange on each side.

All it took were a few scraps of wood (that were already treated with protective coating) and a sturdy piece of wire salvaged from an old bookcase. A couple of screw eyes to hang it with and we were in business.

We put the orange feeder just a few feet away from the hummingbird feeder and within minutes the orioles were exploring it.

Sometimes there was even a waiting line in the tree above the feeder and other times there was an oriole on both sides.

In the morning when I take the dogs out for their first “business” run I now add orange feeder maintenance to the routine.

A well used orange

Needless to say the new feeder is a hit with the orioles. We think we have at least 2 males and 2 females so we are hoping they stick around all summer so we might get to see their babies too. Most summers we’ve had glimpses of orioles around our property but this is the first year we’ve ever had them come to our hummingbird feeders so we hope to see much more of them.

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Wild Bird Wednesday

Hi everyone! Wow! Did we have an exciting day last week. On Tuesday, May 19th a pair of male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds waged a fierce all day battle for the rights to our backyard. I noticed them first thing in the morning when I took the dogs out for their bathroom duties.

Let the games begin!

Let the games begin!

Throughout the day I would glance out the window and see them still going at it.

Get off my feeder!

Get off my feeder!

Occasionally they would both land on the feeder and both would take some sips from the feeder.

A temporary truce for refueling

A temporary truce for refueling

But that wouldn’t last long and they would be at it again.

Who will be the first to give up?

Who will be the first to give up?

They were so consumed by their turf battle that I was able to get within about 8 feet to take these pictures. I also took some video of the action that you can see below. The video is a bit long but that was after I cut it down from the 20 clips I took of them. I apologize that the birds aren’t always in the best focus but I wanted to demonstrate how fierce some of the action was. The camera had difficulty focusing on the small birds and instead would focus on the background. If you listen closely you can hear when they hit each other. You can also see that they seem to take turns being the one on the feeder and the one trying to knock the other off.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/129004352]

If you can’t see the video you can go here to view it.

At times one of the birds would be on the feeder.

Whatcha looking at?

Whatcha looking at?

While the other was on top of the hook holding the feeder. It seemed that the one on top would not see when the other flew onto the feeder.

Where did he go?

Where did he go?

There were brief periods of rest between skirmishes. I caught this picture of them both preening while sitting on the trellis in the perennial garden.

The arrows show where the hummingbirds are sitting.

The arrows show where the hummingbirds are sitting.

I was getting exhausted watching this battle going on. It continued all day long until after sundown. (Yes, I turned off the lights in the kitchen and looked out at about 8:30 pm to see them still going at it) The next day only one male hummingbird remained. I would like to think the loser of the battle flew on to find his own territory.

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Wild Bird Wednesday and will take some time to stop by the blog hop host too.

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