Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In Our Yards

At home our yards have been pretty busy with our resident birds. Carolina Chickadees, House Finches and Northern Cardinals all visit the seed feeders regularly throughout the day.

White-winged Doves graze under the feeders, looking for dropped seeds.

The Finches and the Doves drink at the birdbath, too.  

Until a couple of years ago, Blue Jays used to hang out in our yards. These days they simply pop in on short visits, to grab a mouthful of sunflower seeds or to get a quick drink.

One of our most dependable visitors is a Northern Mockingbird. He (?) flies in several times most days to snack on one of the suet feeders.

Our Downy Woodpeckers have always been regular patrons.


We have Red-bellied Woodpeckers as well but they are much less frequent visitors. 

Being much smaller, the Downys usually beat a quick retreat from the feeders when the Red-bellied Woodpeckers arrive. However, the other day I was impressed to see the female Downy attack and drive off the male Red-bellied. The tables were turned the following day, when the female Red-bellied chased away the male Downy. Win some, lose some, I suppose.

I had thought that all our winter residents except a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers had left our yards and headed north. But I was wrong. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet and an Orange-crowned Warbler (below) both pop in for suet now and then.

Two Chipping Sparrows also keep turning up. They're hard to get photos of because they hang out in the deep shade.



Paul said...

Jeff, Good clear photos of the sparrow. Plus, interesting you post photos of the whistling ducks. Over the two past weekends I've seen interesting, active groups of whistling ducks up at Arbor Gate on 2920 west of Tomball. They have a little pond there. Apparently the w. ducks like it. I saw them there 2 weeks ago as I drove in by the pond. About twenty five of them. Last weekend they were flying all around as I shopped for various herbs and interesting plants. If you haven't checked it out, it's on the south side of 2920 a couple miles west of 249.
Last year I went out on the porch during a moderate to heavy rain. While I was out there enjoying the rainfall I caught motion in my peripheral view. I glanced over and saw the head of a couple ducks move past peeking up above my raised garden bed. I got up and snuck a peek round the corner only to see two adult whistling ducks with 6 to 7 little ones moving through. They found a spot under the fence, and kept on moving on the far side of the pool in the backyard. they disappeared behing the back garage.
We live in a subdivision. Where did they come from? To where did they go? Makes me wonder. It was a pretty fair rain.
Maybe their brooder space got flooded? Those whistling ducks are a handsome bird.

Paul said...

Jeff, at the risk of overdoing it with comments today (this is my 3rd), I have a comment about the pair of finches. I have this weel started seeing a purple front house finch feeding from my enclosed cage type feeder. Today I saw what I was sure must be the mate: same size only uniformly dark brown all over. A handsome bird. However, the companion of your male house fince has what I would call in the plant world, a varigated look, meaning dark and light coloring side-by-side. what do you think, is it the female finch, or another of ome kind???

Jeff said...

Male House Finches vary a lot in color - from deep purple to gold or yellow. However, both males and females always have streaky brown and white breasts. So the overall dar brown bird you saw must have been a different species, Paul. I can't think what, though!