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

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.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Ground Hog Is Still Hanging Out

The ground hog is still here and as taken up residence under the deck.  It use to live in a burrow at the end of the property outside of the fenced back yard but I think the appearance of coyotes is what drove it to the protection of the fenced back yard.

It does not bother anything and I enjoy seeing it so as far as I am concerned it can stay.  I am a little bit worried about it with the extreme cold headed this way as under the deck has gravel so I don't think it can burrow much.  This afternoon I did take some plastic and staple around the lower edge of the deck to help block any wind.

Yesterday between rain showers, it would come up on the deck to look around.  This is one shot through the kitchen window right before the hawk flew in and spooked it.  I also took a little bit of video so I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Cooper's Hawk

A cool wet, rainy day and the Cooper's Hawk made an appearance several times.  Each time the birds around the feeder would scatter.  After surveying the area closely, the hawk finally made a dive into the bushes.  I watched from the window for at least 10 minutes and never saw the hawk come back up so I can only guess some poor bird fell victim.