I have a number of birds at my feeders.
I have a number of birds at my feeders.
Last week I saw my first Chipping Sparrow at my feeder.
Yesterday the first of the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks returned.
I have a number of birds at my feeders. They Grey Catbirds have been around and are raising their young in a pine tree near the feeders. They have been battling the Blue Jays most of the summer. Apparently the jays go after the eggs and young of other birds.
The goldfinches have been absent for much of the spring. I have no idea why but they have returned recently to feed on the thistle seeds.
The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have been around most of the summer and have recently returned to the feeders with their young.
The Baltimore Orioles were absent while they were raising their young. They have recently returned to the feeders in large numbers with their young.
I have a few Chipping Sparrows around the feeders from time to time.
This fledgling Eastern Bluebird has been hanging around with its parents.
I continue to find a number of Chipping Sparrows hanging around the feeder.
The Eastern Phoebes have returned. I mentioned that they were not nesting around the house for the first time in years. But I’m now seeing and adult and a fledgling hanging around the house but not nesting.
American Goldfinches are around in large numbers. They are really going though the thistle seeds.
Most of the birds are now off raising their young. The Baltimore and Orchard Orioles were at the feeders in large numbers but they have tailed off. Hopefully they are nesting in the area and will return to the feeders with their young.
The Grey Catbirds are nesting around the house in various evergreen trees and shrubs.
The Chipping Sparrows are also nesting in the same evergreen trees. It might get crowded.
The Woodpeckers are some of the most frequent visitors to my feeding stations. Hopefully they will be bringing their young to the feeders in the near future.
The Ruby-throated Humming birds are going through about a gallon of sugar water every few days.
More bird photos can be found on my website.
A few weeks ago we had an ice storm. Since I couldn’t do much outside I spent the morning watching the birds at my feeding station. They were having a hard time hanging on to the branches because of the ice and the strong winds. I was trying to figure out how the Northern Cardinal could fly with so much ice on its tail feathers but it didn’t seem to have a problem.
It’s the time of year when I review the birds that I’ve photographed around my farm during the spring. I was a fairly boring spring following a rather boring winter with not many new observations. None the less there were some interesting happenings.
Probably the most interesting event was the return of the Easter Bluebirds. I was able to get my first shot of them on the first day of spring. What made this such a great year for bluebirds was the fact that I set up my turkey blind in the back yard and started photographing them when they started nest hunting and followed through while they built the nest and then defended it against Tree Swallows. Apparently Easter Bluebirds build several nests at the same time and then end up using only one of them. That appears to be what happened this year. After building the nest they didn’t seem to be using it so I opened the nesting box up and sure enough there was a great nest but it wasn’t being used. This is the third year in a row that this has happened.
The second most interesting event was my problem with a female Northern Cardinal. As spring arrived the female cardinal started attacking my basement window. I kept hearing a sound in the basement but couldn’t figure out what it was. After several trips to the basement I noticed the female cardinal banging against the window. Our cat occasionally sleeps in the basement and it must have been driving him nuts. It turned out that the basement window was just the start of things. It then started attacking a large picture window. I tried to put something in the window to discourage it but it then moved to another picture window above it so I took the window blocker down. A couple of weeks later I was awakened by a sound outside my bedroom window. When I looked she was banging against my bedroom window just after sunrise. After about a week of this I pulled the blinds and that put a stop to it. Attacking the windows went on for about six weeks. At one point I thought it had stopped and started to clean the windows but it started again after a few days. The male cardinal would just sit on a tree branch, with a confused look and watch her. When she finally did quit it was a big chore to clean the windows. Typical window cleaning didn’t work and I ended up using a scratch free scouring pad to get the gunk off.
Early in the spring when the American Robins return they sometimes don’t have worms to eat so they love eating Sumac Berries. I usually put them out for the Eastern Bluebird but the Robins also feed on them.
For a few weeks I had a Red Tailed Hawk that was perching in a tree in the back yard. He had a great view of my backyard prairie. I would see him perched on the same tree almost every day. I could usually tell when he was there because the Crows would soon be gathering to drive him away.
American Goldfinches are my most frequent visitor in terms of numbers. They congregate in large numbers throughout the year. They eat me out of house and home. They particularly love Black Sunflower seeds.
As I noted above I have Tree Swallows nesting around the farm. They usually battle the Eastern Bluebirds for nesting rights. This year the bluebirds won although as I indicated they ended up not using the nesting box. The Tree Swallows wanted the one about ten feet from the bluebirds but ended up taking another nest. The irony of it was that at the end of spring the Tree Swallows ended up setting up their second nest in this house.
Generally I have a few House Finches around my feeders. I mainly see them when they bring their fledglings to the feeder late in the spring. I can usually get a few shots of the adult feeding the young.
For quite a few years I’ve had Eastern Phoebes nesting above a light over the back door of the garage. Last year they abandon the nest. This year they started nesting in the corner of my house under the deck. The first batch fledged just after the first of June. We weren’t around and didn’t seem them fledge although I did see the whole family out in the woods about a week later. This shot is a little is a little unusual. I was photographing a phoebe while it was attempting to eat a worm. After thrashing around with it for a while it suddenly went down the hatch. I just happened to catch it.
I usually have Song Sparrows nesting in some bushes in front of the house. They are near my feeders so I occasionally get a shot of them. This year, for the first time, I managed to get a shot of an adult feeding one of the fledglings.
Early in the spring I had a number of Chipping Sparrows around. I thought they were also going to nest around the house but they seem to disappear later in the spring.
This year, for the first time that I can remember, I had a Pigeon appear on the farm. The neighbor has all kinds of them on his barn but they never show up at my house. I noticed him while I was mowing the lawn and after watching him for about fifteen minutes I decided to go in the house and get the camera since it was such an unusual sight.
I normally have Red-bellied Woodpeckers around the feeders all year around. They love suet but only the commercial stuff not the suet you purchase from the meat market. I have an old log that I drilled holes in and fill with suet that I use for a feeder. It makes a good prop for photography. This year for the first time a fledgling showed up with an adult. I tried to get a photo of the adult feeding the fledgling but it was too dark. After a while the fledgling started showing up on its own. I suspect the adults were busy with another batch of young.
I normally have a pair of Gray Catbirds nesting in front of the house. They are a beautiful bird. I could see that they had a nest but couldn’t find it but would see them bringing food to the young.
What a difference a year makes. Last year I had large numbers of Baltimore Orioles arrive in the spring. There were so many orioles around the area that the stores ran out of grape jelly. I would frequently have six or eight birds around the feeders at any one time. This year I saw a couple of them at the feeders and they were gone off to nest. I think this is my only photo of one.
More birds of spring photos can be found on my website.
This has been an amazing spring for bird photography around my farm. First I had more Baltimore Orioles than I’ve ever had. One appeared and then a few days later I had as many as eight at one time. They were followed by a several firsts including pair of Scarlet Tanagers who were followed by a couple of Turkey Vultures. These were in addition to all of the usual suspects.
The Eastern Bluebirds returned the third week in April this year. Normally I’m able to get lots of photographs of them when they first return because I use some Sumac Berries to attract them to an area where they can be photographed. This year it didn’t work and they remained an elusive bird and I have fewer photographs of them than in any previous year. The female was attempting to perch on a wire during a heavy wind. The male was fluttering his wings.
As I mentioned this has been an amazing year for Baltimore Orioles. Normally I have a few of them come to the feeding station around the first of May but this year they came in large numbers. I was going through a quart of grape jelly every couple of days. The numbers appearing at any one time dropped off by the middle of May but they continued to come to the feeder until the end of May. I suspect they leave to raise their young. In past years they have returned to the feeding station in July.
I’ve only seen Scarlet Tanagers a few times in my life and never been able to photograph one. I was shocked when I looked out the window one day and noticed a male Tanager around my feeding station. I quickly grabbed the camera and started photographing him. He came to the feeder every couple of hours during the day. The next day the female joined him at the feeder. the day after that they were gone. It was an amazing experience to be able to see and photography one up close.
I usually see them around in the spring. I thought they might be nesting in some of the pine trees near the house but haven’t been able to confirm that.
I usually have a few of these around each spring.
I see these more frequently down in the valleys but sometimes they come to my feeding station for the Niger seed. They are very skittish so about the only time I can get a photo of them is when I happen to be photographing other birds and they show up at the station. The female had just taken a bath.
The Grey Catbird usually shows up in the spring. Some years they nest near the house but this year they were around for just a brief time before leaving.
The American Robin usually migrates but with the warming trends can be found in the area in the winter. They usually don’t arrive at my feeding station until April at about the same time as the Eastern Bluebirds.
Another spring bird and a frequent visitor to my feeding station.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird usually arrives with the Baltimore Orioles around the first of May. It is usually a project to keep them fed.
Tree Swallows are a frequent visitor to my farm frequently competing for rental space in my Bluebird houses. The Bluebirds seem to be the first of check the houses out but the Swallows seem to get the houses in the end.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch is an infrequent visitor to my feeding station. One year I had a pair that were around for the winter but that is rare. This year I have a female that came to the feeder for about a week and then was gone.
I see Turkey Vultures flying over the farm fairly frequently but have never seen them perched. When I first saw them from a distance I thought they were immature Bald Eagles but as I approached the tree they were perched in it became clear that they were Turkey Vultures. I started taking photos and then walking up closer and taking more photos. They let me get fairly close to them.
Northern Cardinals are year around visitors to my feeding station and they continued to visit the station again this year. The female was photographed during an early spring blizzard.
Mourning Doves are frequent visitors. Normally they spend their time cleaning up the seed that falls on the ground but this spring I did see them perched on my Niger seed feeding station. The dove was photographed during the early spring blizzard.
Juncos are normally a winter bird and they leave when the snow is gone. This year we had a late March blizzard so they were still around well into April.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers are frequent visitors to my suet feeders. This year, for the first time, I created a suet feeder by drilling holes in an old log and filling the holes with suet. They really seem to like it better than just hanging suet in a metal cage.
Another bird that is around all year. In the first years after they were introduced in Wisconsin I had as many as 50 wandering around and any one time. Since the introduced hunting the numbers are down. I usually see them in the spring before the grass in my prairie gets too long. This year I had one charge me while I was working in the garden. Don’t know what that was all about.
A year around visitor. The numbers vary from year to year. Some years I’ve had almost none but this year they have been around in large numbers. I much prefer photographing the females because they have much more interesting colors.
A year around visitor to the feeding station.
More bird photos can be found at Philip Schwarz Photography.