I have to say, this is the busiest bird season i can recall. (must mean we have a healthy bird population) Right now, from my office window (I'm in the country side) I can see Goldfinches (going wild over the thistle feeder hanging in front of my window), other finches with an orange head, some kind of titmouse? (sp?), starlings (vineyard owners hate them, but I love them), and white breasted nuthatches going up and down the walnut tree next to my office. There are some other kind of little ones with a black head that I dont know the name of. Oh yes, and some humming birds hitting the nectar in the feeder.
Well, I decided to take a break from here and went out to take a few shots of the birds. On pesky kitty kept scaring them off, but I'll load up a few photos of the chubby little yellow finches in a little bit.
They are shy! He didn't know I was taking the picture. I was inside my office -taking it through the glass, which is why the photo is a bit blurry. We built a batting cage for our son and for some reason the birds must think it was for them. They perch on it all day long and go inside and forage. They can fit through the netting. Anyhoo, my camera had a mind of it's own and kept wanting to focus on the netting and not the bird.
A good shot - lots of detail, of the Goldfinch. The "chubby body", as you call it, is actually the bird puffy up his feathers, for added insulation, against the cold. Basically the same body reaction as a human getting "goose bumps" when cold.
They are such rascals. Constantly yammering over the feeder, shoving one another to get to the choice seats. They are a constant source of entertainment for me. Same with the hummers, they are very territorial over the feeder.
Mine is a home office and we live in a walnut orchard. In the fall, when the fruit is falling in the driveway, the golfinches blanket the driveway eating the run-over nut meats.
Pelletory, are both of them the same type of goldfinch - one male/one female?
Very nice photos, Begonia!!! I adore the Varied Thrush - I can't resist taking pics of them, but then end up with ones that look exactly alike. Ever since our cold spell with snow, I've had them at the suet feeders (rather clumsily I might add) and sitting on the fence for long enough periods of time for me to get a shot. Of course, the telephoto lens helps a great deal!
Your Finch photos are wonderful!!! And, I must say, I think you are the first person I have ever heard say they like the Starlings!!! I'm afraid I do not, as they go through seed and suet faster than I can put it out and they scare off the smaller birds. Right now they are not too big a problem, but they will be again!
Marilyn, thanks for remembering my thread and putting in the link!
Murmur, you just brought up an idea. I've never done suet feeders. But it can't hurt to put some out. I have to hang everything way out of reach due to our barn cats. But could set some out.
What feed do you use? I just see them picking through the grass here, eating bugs and walnuts I suspect.
Ahh the starling. They are not liked around here as they can clean a vineyard in no time flat. Much to the growers chagrin! Don't want to start a bird war, as I'm aware of the bird forum rules. But suffice it to say, I just like all birds. Driving through the valley at certain times of the year, one can see huge black blankets waving in the sky. It's the starlings.
Begonia, one thing I do like about Starlings is the little gurgling sounds they make - always makes me think of a "tinkling brook," whatever that would be!!!
The suet I buy is just the cheapest I can find - so I would guess just lard and seed (I'll look when I fill the feeders again later today). This is the first time I've had Thrush come to a feeder and I'm sure it just started because of the snow . . . and maybe they've started a bit of a habit???!!!
Man, I need to get a better camera. At least one with a better zoom feature. When I zoom in, the pics are always out of focus. I generally take pics from the window because the birds fly off if I open the back door to go out and take a picture. The feeders are pretty far out there, so I can't get a good one from inside. I need a digital that I can put a telephoto lens on.
Most of the new digitals now can use the lenses from regular cameras - mine is a Sony SLR, but i know the Canon has that capability as well, along with several others. I'm sure it will be an every day thing before long. I have so much fun since I got the telephoto lens that it must be illegal!
Thank you Murmru. Trying to get a better shot of the black headed little ones, but they seem to want to fly away when I'm outside near them and they're behind the batting cage netting - camera wants to focus on the net, not birds! Arrgh!
begonia is scampering off to look up Junco in my Audubon ID book. Yup! There is it. Looks like I have 'Dark Eyed (Oregon) Juncos'
I may also have one that's on the next page Black Capped Chickadee, but I'm a bit far south for their range. But they look familiar.
The squirrels are the true entertainers of the orchard here!
Yes - sorry, I should have included the 'Dark Eyed' part of the name!!
You might have the Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Begonia - in this one book I have it mentioned "from Alaska to California," while the Black-capped Chickadee just says "northern half of US. I suspect you could have both (I do here in WA)
Gosh you guys (and gals) are fast!!! After referring to my book, I though 'ladder backed' but the range was too far south. Then the photo the book has of the Nuttall's didn't have a red head so I wasn't sure!
Great to know, and we have an orchard full of them!! THANK YOU!!!
Just had a thought (I know, dangerous!) any hoo, I found this bird (what I'd call a shore bird) in my back yard back in July. My cat was chasing it and it would not fly away. As soon as I saw this going on, I gathered up the bird and found a bird rescue not far from here who took it in and I assume rehabbed it to release it. No one knew for sure what it was.
I've never seen one before or since. Any ideas on what it is? And if it is a shore bird, why so far from home.
WOW! I'm not really even that near to coastal marshlands. As the crow flies, I am close, but so far upstream (by 35-40 miles) that I would have never expected to see this bird so far from it's habitat. I do live on a major tributary that empties into the SFO bay, I wouldn't have expected it to come this far upstream.
It was very quiet, and seemed not afraid of humans (or cats for that matter) so I assumed it was ill, hence the trip to the bird rehab. We were concerned about West Nile Virus, though we vaccinate our large animals for it.
Your bird was probably a bit lost on migration, though they will use quite small wetlands, an acre or two is enough. The map in Sibley shows them as breeding throughout California, but only present all year in the milder south and west, while being summer visitors only in the north and east. They also breed north as far as southern Canada. Food is mainly worms, water snails, etc., but they will also eat some plant food (seeds, etc). Since they rarely ever see humans, they probably don't consider people a potential predator; even if they do, their main evasive strategy is to run and hide in dense wet vegetation (which doesn't work so well in a garden!).
There is a very similar, closely related species (Water Rail, Rallus aquaticus) on my side of the Pond - was actually looking for them today, heard 2 or 3 calling in the rushes, but too deeply hidden to see them.
I've been seeing this one for a few days now. Today I had this orange fella and another with similar markings but were red. Then another that was the same but female - no coloring.
Is it a 'common house finch'?
It was a busy day of gossip over the water cooler... er... uh.. Bird feeder.
At one point, as I sat still waiting to take their photo, I counted over 50 birds between my three feeders and those hanging out in the trees above. It was quite a cacophony! Mostly the yellow finches, but a handful of the juncos as well. There are a few others, I believe are titmice (is that the correct plural form?) and hummers too.