Red-bellied Woodpecker

Posted by on Feb 9, 2012 in Portfolio, Slider | 0 comments

Red-bellied Woodpecker

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A Very Silver Lining!

Posted by on Feb 5, 2012 in Backyard Birds, My Blog | 1 comment

A Very Silver Lining!

OK, so all week I have been working through my feelings about how this congregation of robins has transplanted themselves in my yard and have been devouring the berries on my HUGE holly tree.  Reminding myself that the berries are there for wildlife…so, they do belong.  That didn’t really help.  They are just so insatiable!  They fly away, my “regular” birds immediately return, eat some berries, chirp and all seems well again.  Sigh! But, the robins zoom back in as if on a specific search & destroy mission.  I grab my camera thinking at least I can get something good out of this.  Each time they come, they appear totally voracious…gobble, gobble, gobble!  Geez!! It’s been rainy the last couple of days, so as I was walking out of church this morning, I noticed numerous worms on the sidewalk.  “WORMS!!  That’s what robins are supposed to eat.”  I actually considered finding something to scoop them up and transport to my backyard, but decided that might hurt my already ailing back, so I didn’t.  Got home and a little later saw the robins ‘ focused fly-in again, the fluttering of their wings to balance their big bodies on the not-so-sturdy limbs with the enticing berries out there on the end.  I’m thinking, “work for it, baby!”  I noticed the the top half of the tree is nearly void of any berries now and they are working their way south.  I wish they REALLY would fly south! Then, as I’m in the kitchen chopping peppers for my chili, I see an entire HOST of birds so high up in my neighbor’s big, ancient oak tree!  I said out loud, “Good grief, look at all those robins…they just look like a bunch of vultures hanging around up there!  What are they waiting for, why don’t they just come on and finish the holly off!”  I got my camera again because I liked the silhouette effect I was seeing and thought a photo or two would be in order.   First, as I zoomed, I thought, “robin’s don’t have have crests. Hmm…”  Then, I nearly choked from gasping, “oh, my goodness, robin’s don’t have yellow tipped tails!”  What I saw was lurking up in the tree so high was an “earfull” of Cedar Waxwings.  I have never seen a waxwing around here.  Saw some in the mountains.  These were too far away for me to get a good photo but I got enough to see their Zorro-masked faces, pale yellow under body and the yellow-tipped tail. Wow!!!  Had I not looked up because of the lurking robins…I would not have seen the prize. Isn’t that the way it is!...

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Male House Finch

Posted by on Feb 4, 2012 in Portfolio, Slider | 0 comments

Male House Finch

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Invasion of the American Robin

Posted by on Feb 1, 2012 in Backyard Birds, My Blog | 4 comments

Invasion of the American Robin

Who doesn’t love the American Robin?  To me, the bird has always signified motherhood, family and all those sentimental memories that make us feel warm and fuzzy.  I even named one of my daughters Robin, for heaven’s sake! One of the treasures in my backyard that many birds frequent is the Holly Tree!  Nuthatches, chickadees, cardinals, mockingbirds, blue jays, house finches, sparrows, and my beloved Tufted Titmouse use it as shelter, a resting place and dine on the berries. Yesterday, as my coffee was brewing, I was enjoying a look out the kitchen window.  All of a sudden, I felt like I was standing on the USS Nimitz watching a fly-over.  There had to be at least 20 robins flying in, out and around the holly tree.  Some would perch for a bit while others fluttered their wings and took flight again.  This continued for a few minutes so I got my camera to capture a few photos.  The robins were devouring the holly berries.  I captured on video a robin eating SIX berries one right after the other. It was, at times,  comical to watch the big birds, not really known that much for perching, flapping their wings to balance themselves as they leaned over to grab a berry or two.  I saw more than a couple quickly fly away without much grace at all having lost their balance. The next thing I observed was that I didn’t see any nuthatches or chickadees or cardinals…guess they decided to take cover elsewhere.  Smart little birds I thought.  After the congregation of robins left, my “regulars” recognized the coast was clear and returned to their usual carrying on. I do know that even the American Robin migrates when temperatures get really cold flying south until they arrive in an area warm enough for the winter.  Some that are very hardy will winter-over in colder areas knowing what their food and shelter sources are.  They are known to arrive in flock, just as “mine” did, and holly berries are what they’re after.  My tree is pretty big and I have always felt that if I am away for an extended vacation, my birds always have the holly on which to dine. Well, there’s less holly now because the dive-bombing robins are back today!    The top of the holly tree is already somewhat barren looking today.   So, I’m deep into a visualization therapy today…I’m seeing a warm spring day where I have noticed a sweet robin’s nest with pretty blue eggs ready to hatch and the mother robin is on the ground checking for a worm.  I already feel...

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American Robin

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in Portfolio, Slider | 0 comments

American Robin

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Retreating Female Cardinal

Posted by on Jan 26, 2012 in Portfolio | 0 comments

Retreating Female Cardinal

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The Importance of Suet Feeding

Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in Backyard Birds, My Blog | 0 comments

The Importance of Suet Feeding

Many backyard birders like offering suet for their birds year round.  It’s fine to do, you just don’t get as much bang for your buck during the heat of summer because the really high temperatures will melt the high fat content.  Also, you don’t want to leave it our for an extended time in the high heat temps because it can become rancid. During the cold weather, putting out suet for your birds is a treat, but also a real boost to their metabolism.  The high fat content is what they need during the extreme cold to raise their body temperature.  Eating and digesting the suet’s high caloric content helps their little bodies to burn the calories and create energy.  And energy in the cold, cold winter is exactly what they need.  Offering suet in the winter when insects and seeds as less available, you will find your birds coming to your suet feeder frequently. There are various suet products you can purchase.  I find the suet cakes the easiest to use and I have the small clinging birds as well as the larger birds like the mockingbird and brown thrasher enjoying it.  The Downy Woodpeckers came to my when I first started using a suet feeder.  Now, they are regular and frequent diners!...

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He’s Just A Mockingbird?

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in Backyard Birds, My Blog | 0 comments

He’s Just A Mockingbird?

Today has been cold and windy…making it feel colder than it really was.  The birds have been so active in the yard, scurrying around, feeding frequently and interacting with one another…and ME!  My resident mockingbird keeps a close watch on me when I am outside.  I recall one day as I was in my kitchen photographing him through the window, I was surprised when he made perfect eye contact and flew straight toward me!  Surely wish I had had my camera set on video because it would have been a priceless capture. Today though, I have observed him on his “regular” perch high up on the holly tree overseeing the yard and all the other visitors in a peaceful and stoic manner.  I got several photos of him even allowing two finches to rest just inches away enjoying the sun as well.  I like the markings on his wings and think he looks somewhat handsome in his attire.  Must be the bath he had in Wednesday’s...

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Mockingbird

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in Portfolio, Slider | 0 comments

Mockingbird

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Chilly and Windy Day…Watch the Birds

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in Backyard Birds, My Blog | 0 comments

Chilly and Windy Day…Watch the Birds

Even in sunny North Carolina we have some winter days that chill to the bone.  When we dip into the 20s and have high winds, most of us feel like we are freezing!  This morning, with wind gusts up to 35 mph and as my coffee was brewing, I noticed a beautiful male house finch perched high up on the holly tree basking in the sun.  I snapped a couple of photos and returned to my computer with my coffee and started my day.  Later, glancing out the window, I saw the rosy finch still in his favorite spot so I zoomed in on him discovering he was so comfy in the warm sun and under our Carolina blue sky that he had begun to nap a bit.  Not a bad idea at...

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