Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Birds Aplenty!

I thought I'd do a bird blog - and for once it's not about my chickens or ducks! I'm very lucky to have a wooded area on my land, and that brings in lots of different bird species. I love to watch the birds, and I enjoy finding their nests and watching their young grow and fledge. I have 3 bluebird boxes, 2 of which are presently inhabited. One box had a bluebird family in it earlier this spring, but after they fledged, tree swallows moved in and now they have 4 eggs being "incubated" by mother swallow. The second box has a different swallow family in it. The movement and flight of the swallows is mesmerizing. I especially like to watch them when Kelly mows the lawn, because that seems to stir up the bugs from the grass. They follow behind the mower, diving and swooping in a bird ballet of sorts, getting all the tastiest insects I'm sure!

Of course, hummingbirds are a favorite of mine also, and here is one that I photographed earlier this week at my hummingbird feeder. It sits right outside my dining room window, so I can watch it when I eat (if I'm not eating in front of the computer!) They are such delicate little birds, but they pack a mean beak when there is another hummingbird around, and they will dive-bomb each other while trying to feed. It's hard to keep up with their antics sometimes!
On the more docile side, we have quite a few chipping sparrows around here. Can you see the chipping sparrows in this picture?
Nah, didn't think so. It's a bit of a trick question. This is my Jackmanii clematis, which mother sparrow decided was the perfect place for her nest. Indeed it was, because last year's chipping sparrow (maybe the same one?) tried a nest in 2 of my viburnum shrubs and in a juniper, and every time, the nest was either destroyed or the eggs broken. I'm not sure who the culprit was, but this time....success!!
Now you can see the chipping sparrows in the clematis! There were four babies and they just fledged this weekend. What a sweet little family! If you go back to the first picture, you can actually see a little bit of the nest, just to the right of the single bloom on the bottom left side. She used a bit of shredded paper (from my chicken nest boxes) and the white shows the edge of the nest.

Today, I heard one of those unpleasant "thunk" sounds on a window in my dining area. I have some decals that are supposed to limit bird strikes, but sometimes they still hit a window. I ran outside to see if I could be of assistance. Sure enough, this female rose-breasted grosbeak was in need of some quiet time.
I think she was so focused on the caterpillar in her mouth that she neglected to notice the window. I generally felt her wings and legs, etc, to ensure that I couldn't feel any breaks or things out of place, and then gently placed her in a little animal carry-crate with some water, in a quiet spot. I did take some photographs of her first, because it's such a treat to have a close-up experience with such a bird.

She has beautiful golden yellow patches under her wings.
After about an hour, I heard her begin to flap about in the box, and I took her outside and released her. She flew away with no problem whatsoever. I'm glad she had a safe place to rest and recover from her bump on the head! Maybe next time, she'll remember not to fly with her mouth full!

"Excuse me? Since when are you an expert in bird etiquette? Just leave me alone with my nectar, please. Geesh....humans...."


Flartus said...

Too cute! I've been a birding fan since Dad and I built a suprisingly successful bird feeder probably 30 years ago. We were surrounded by woods, so got an interesting mix of visitors.

Down here, it's the Carolina wrens that nest in our plants. They're cheeky little cutie-pies, with a pretty song, to boot.

Anyway, good job encouraging all those insect-eaters to feel right at home. Wonder if that was a tomato hornworm in Mrs. Grosbeak's mouth?

IsobelleGoLightly said...

What a beautiful birdie! I wonder if caterpillars taste so good maybe I should try one! Goat kisses from Isobelle!

Eternal Lizdom said...

What amazing pics!! I've seen pics of hummingbirds- but never sitting still. And we've had a bird or two become stunned from a flight path into a window of our home... but we let them be, watching over to make certain that the neighbor's cat didn't make a bump on the head a deadly injury. And that nest... so sweet!

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

My Dad liked to attract the wild birds to our backyard, and therefore I do too.

Of course, I happy we just moved to the 30 acres but left behind some bushes that I'd planted for attracting wildlife. Got to start over on that.

kenleighacres said...

Your clematis is beautiful and what a special treasure you found hiding among the vines and flowers. That is funny she still had the caterpillar in her mouth!

Lola Nova said...

Wow, what amazing pictures! We get the occasional humming bird but, I need to put up a feeder. We get loads of starlings and a murder of crows that scold from a big tree. I have not seen as many robins as last year but definately more blue jays than ever. I don'r know my birds as well as I'd like. Maybe I will get a book.

Lovely clematis!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

lol! This was such a great post. Your clematis is gorgeous! And your hummer photos turned out wonderfully!
And that!
Good on you for rescuing her and giving her some time to rest before releasing her again. You saved a life....that's good karma, my friend :)


Karin said...

You are an amazing woman. I love reading your blog and finding out what is happening on the farm.

d/iowa said...

aw we just started getting a hummingbird visitor so i got him a feeder the other day. i know it's hard to get a pic of one!
i can't believe that wild bird let you hold it like that! so sweet!

Outstanding Stranger said...

I love your blog and mentioned it over on mine...pop over and take a peek. Diane

Ishtar said...

Hummingbirds are fascinating! I've only seen one bird in Niger that resembles a hummingbird. Not sure if they are related, though...