Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Morning Bird Experiences

Well, things change quickly.

I was getting ready for church when the kids called. ML sick - high fever, flu symptoms - so Andrew brought her home for the day. Therefore I am not at church. Even college age kids can use their mom around when they are sick. She has a 102 fever and we've extended her pass so she can stay here and get better. Thank goodness for a doctor brother-in-law on a Sunday like this - we really appreciate his help!

So, while waiting for them to get home this morning, I watched the feeders, which were a flurry of activity this morning, and even tried my hand at some more photography. I have learned that bird photography is a matter of the right place at the right time, and it takes a lot of snaps to get a good photo. I did get several good ones this morning - about one good one for every five worth deleting.

Here are a male/female cardinal pair. Somewhere along the way we picked up the line that the female is called the "lady with the lipstick," and we have called her that ever since then. It's not as clear on this photo as it is sometimes.

You can see the "lipstick" a little more clearly here, especially if you double click on the photo. I love to see male cardinals, and also male/female pairs together. At the bottom is a northern junco. They are only around here in the winter, and sometimes get overlooked because, when scratching on the ground, which is the only way they feed, they blend in so closely that they can be difficult to see. But with their black backs and white undersides, so distinct that you can almost draw a line between the two parts, they really are pretty little birds.

A full view of a male cardinal at the feeder. I can't quit taking pictures of male cardinals; their beauty is so nice compared to the drab winter landscapes.
Goldfinches absolutely mob these feeders at times. In the winter it is difficult to tell the females from the males as they look very similar. As spring approaches it will be easier because the males will get back their brilliant yellow color and black heads. (The lines of course are the blinds, as I didn't get the camera on zoom very well.)

And here is a nice shot of a pine warbler. At first glance a person thinks it's just another goldfinch, but when observed a little closer you can see that it is a very different bird. It retains its brilliant yellow in the winter, unlike the goldfinches. It also has a much tinier beak, typical of warblers, than the goldfinch's big, more triangular beak.

And these next two pictures I'm a little proud of. Here is the downy woodpecker that has been coming, and I actually got a shot of its red crest, which is not always visible. For awhile there were two of them in the tree, and the male's crest was visible there also, but I couldn't get a shot of that. I don't know what he's trying to get - the suet bag is empty. It had held a mixture of lard, peanut butter, and sunflower seeds.

And this is the red-bellied woodpecker that has also been coming. It's a lot larger than the downy woodpecker above. A lot of people don't understand why this one is called a red-bellied woodpecker when the most brilliant red on it is on its head. Well, I just happened to get this shot - which shows the wash of red, easily missed especially in flight, on its belly.

These days of observing the feeders, the first time in many years, and seeing such a variety of birds on them have brought back a lot of memories of the days before kids and pets when we used to spend a great deal of time, both at home watching feeders and out in the woods and fields, studying birds. That was a long, long time ago. Didn't have the internet to pull up information quickly back then. It's a different world now to learn about birds than it was 25 years ago, when Mike was the eyes and ears in the woods, and I was the book-studier. We actually made a pretty good team back then!

1 comment:

rk2 said...

Very impressive with the bird photos. Is this just a point and shoot digital?