Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Weather Outside Is Frightful

It has been a miserable day between the freezing rain, sleet and snow.  The extreme cold over the next couple of days means we will be stuck with it for several days.

The little hummingbird that is here hit the feeder often and long today.  I had set up a light under the eaves of the house along with a stick tied to the ladder. The hummer warmed itself from the heat of the light most of the day.

I could not find a think cover heat lamp and it did not particularly like the white light so I settled on a yellow bug light hence the gold glow.

I had lots of birds and put out additional food on the ground and along the deck rail to limit food fights.

Though not one of the colorful birds that visited today, my two favorite shots today were a female Cardinal and a dove.




Thursday, December 29, 2016

Drake and Hen Wood Ducks

The drakes are in their full display of colors hoping to impress the ladies!



Sunday, December 25, 2016

Cedar Waxwings

Holly, red berries and a Cedar Waxwing.  Seems like an appropriate photo for Christmas Day. The Cedar Waxwings swarmed in on the holly tree today for their meal.  Groups would eat a while then fly off and another group fly in.  These continue to be one of my favorite birds.

 I hope everyone had some good family time and a wonderful Christmas Day.






Friday, December 23, 2016

Fox Sparrow

In the mornings, I throw out a couple of handfuls of seed on the ground for the doves and other birds who prefer to scratch around.  This time of year there are lots of White-throated Sparrows however I noticed one that looked a little different.

I grabbed the camera quickly hoping it was a Fox Sparrow and indeed it was.  What a wonderful early Christmas present.  It has been around all day so hopefully, it will call the yard home for the winter.

This only the second one I have
ever seen so it is a real treat.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Banding The Hummingbird

The lady who has been researching and documenting hummingbirds that winter over in our State came yesterday to catch and band the hummer.

After getting a photo that showed the tail spread coloration, I felt sure that one was a Rufous.  There are two here but we only caught one yesterday.

It was quite an ingenious contraption she used to catch the hummingbird.  She had built a cage with a hand operated door and placed the feeder inside.

As you can see here, since the temps were below freezing early in the morning, I covered the feeder with a sock, inserted a couple of hand warmers and covered with another sock.  This seems to work well to keep the water from freezing.


Needless to say, the little hummer was not happy at all at being captured!


















The bird appeared to be overall healthy and in good condition.  These birds will travel to Alaska and northern Canada in early March for their breeding season.  It seems like they like to migrate to the SE portion of the US rather than going farther south towards Mexico and Central America.


The researcher was a wealth of knowledge and eagerly shared it with myself and my friend whom I had invited to participate in the event.

During the examination of the bird, it was noted there was some damage to the birds beak.  This is caused by bad design of the most common feeders....the typical round hole.  If the bird hovers in flight while feeding, the round hole gives no leeway for back and forth movement resulting in damage to the birds beak.  Fortunately late in the summer season, I had purchased one with the oval hole which is preferred.



The last thing the researcher confirmed.....use only sugar and water....1 pt sugar to 4 pt water for feeding....both summer and winter.  DO NOT USE RED FOOD COLORING!!




The bird was released none the worse for the experience. She did mark the top of the hummers head with a bright orange temporary paint.  I am trying to document the second hummer and this lets me quickly distinguish between the two.  It want last long and will not hurt the bird.   It was a little hesitant about coming back to the feeder for some time however late in the afternoon, hunger and the need for energy won out and after checking out the area closely, the bird came in and drank with
gusto!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday when I spotted the hummingbird trying to bathe, I noticed a considerable portion of its breast feathers were matted with a substance.  The littler hummer also seemed a bit lethargic and anemic.  I am sure some of it could be attributed to the cold and I suspect lack of nutrition was the other reason.

Around 1000 this morning, the hummer showed back up and I had placed a feeder near the bird bath/fountain.  The hummer went immediately to the feeder and drank for quite a while.

Over the course of the day, the frequency of visits to the feeder went from about every 15 minutes to about 25 minutes.  Twice I saw the bird bathe then sit in a nearby tree and do a bit of preening.  By the end of the day, whatever substance that had matted the breast feathers the day before was gone and the little hummer's appearance had greatly improved.

With the hard cold tonight, I can only hope it will be okay.  I will keep my fingers crossed that I see it back tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Surprise

Last week I caught a brief glimpse of a Hummingbird at the bird bath.  I figured it was just a very, very late migrating bird passing through.  Today, I happened to be filming some doves when low and behold, here it came again.

During the summer, I would watch as they would get right at the edge of the fountain where water is running over the rock and they would brush up against the running water.  I guess this is there version of bathing.

The hummingbird did this same thing today.  I have to say it was a pretty grungy looking little bird.  I know that on rare occasions, a hummer will over winter so I am beginning to wonder on this one.

Needless to say, I immediately fixed some sugar water and hung out.  If the poor little creature is going to make it through the hard cold the next two days, it will need some energy.  At least there have still been some gardenia and rose bushes with flowers so I guess it may have been hitting those.

I didn't have my still camera out but did capture this video of it.