Posts Tagged ‘American Robin’

Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. A couple of weeks ago I showed you some pictures of the birds that were feeding on common buckthorn berries in our yard. I’ve finally processed the videos I took and wanted to show you just how much action there was.

American Robins & European Starlings in Common Buckthorn

The Common Buckthorn species is naturalized and invasive in parts of North America. We didn’t realize this tree was growing in our garden for a few years because its form and leaves are very similar to the Miss Kim lilacs that it’s growing near. When it finally grew taller we could see that it was an introduced tree. Charlie did some research to figure out just what it was.

The birds gobbled up the plentiful berries.

According to Wikipedia:

The seeds and leaves are mildly poisonous for humans and most other animals, but are readily eaten by birds, who disperse the seeds in their droppings. The toxins cause stomach cramps and laxative effects that may function in seed dispersal.

We would like to remove this tree but it’s behind a few shrubs that make it difficult to get to. This tree was full of berries before this flock descended on it. Here is a video of some of the action.

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

As you could see by the end of the video there were very few berries left on the tree and ultimately there were no berries left.

There are very few berries left at this point.

It is very rare to see so many American Robins in January but some are more hardy and stick around all winter although we’ve never see a flock this large before. It was a treat to get to see all the different colorings from the very dark orange to the paler looking ones. I hope you enjoyed seeing them too.

Join the Nature Friday Blog Hop

We are joining the LLB Gang for their Nature Friday Blog Hop. You should pop over to their blog to see all the other posts.

Read Full Post »

Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. Earlier this week I happened upon a scene in our backyard that amazed me. I had just walked into the kitchen to get a drink when I noticed a tremendous amount of bird activity in a small tree that was full of berries.

American Robin

There was a large flock of birds taking turns eating berries from the Common Buckthorn tree. The flock was made up mostly of American Robins and European Starlings.

European Starling

Charlie managed to get the back door from the garage opened without scaring the birds away so I got my long lens mounted to a tripod (it helps to keep it steady and with taking videos) and stood in the doorway taking pictures for about an hour. 

Northern Mockingbird

It’s unusual to see so many robins around this time of year but up until now our weather has been fairly mild so that might be why they’ve stuck around. The mockingbird has been a resident of our yard this winter and he (or she…there were actually two around) was not happy with this huge flock of robins and starlings eating all the berries he was trying to keep for himself.

American Robin with a full belly

I don’t know when the flock first showed up but after an hour of taking pictures in burst mode I had about 850 images to cull through and some videos I will show you later. The buckthorn was completely stripped of all its berries in the end too. By the way I was still thirsty as I completely forgot the reason I went to the kitchen in the first place!

It was a great opportunity to take some beautiful portraits of the American Robin, European Starlings and the Northern Mockingbird. When these birds are around in the summer it can be more difficult to catch a picture of them as they are often hiding in the foliage.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these birds this week. I promise to come back and show you more of the action from the day.

Join the Nature Friday Blog Hop

We are joining the LLB Gang for their Nature Friday Blog Hop. You should pop over to their blog to see all the other posts.

Read Full Post »

Hi everyone! It’s Cindy here. Our yard offers birds lots of trees to perch on. Some of the favorites are the evergreens where they are often watching over their young or on the hunt for food.

American Robin on Alaskan cedar

Female Eastern Bluebird on spruce tree

One of our favorite backyard birds is the Eastern Phoebe.

Eastern Phoebe on Alaskan cedar

After a quick bath the phoebe perched on the cedar to dry off.

The phoebe keeps watch for its preferred food

Is that a fly down there that I can catch?

According to the “All About Birds” website phoebes “typically place their mud-and-grass nests in protected nooks on bridges, barns, and houses.” We’ve looked around our house and there isn’t a nest on it that we’ve found so we aren’t sure where these little birds are nesting but they must be close by as they are frequently hunting all around our yard.

Female or Juvenile Baltimore Oriole with bug in beak

Sometimes even when the birds are eating berries they can find a tasty bug right under their beaks. You may have to click on the above image to see the what the oriole found.

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »