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Category Archives: Grey Catbird

This fledgling House Sparrow had just finished taking a bath.

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A female Orchard Oriole looked a little lonely at my bird feeder.

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Nap time for a fledgling House Sparrow.

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A Grey Catbird heading for the nest with lunch.

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An Eastern Bluebird caught after taking a bath.

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A Baltimore Oriole waiting for its turn at the feeder.

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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.

Grey Catbird

Grey Catbird

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.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have been around most of the summer and have recently returned to the feeders with their young.

Rose-breasted Grosebeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The Baltimore Orioles were absent while they were raising their young. They have recently returned to the feeders in large numbers with their young.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

I have a few Chipping Sparrows around the feeders from time to time.

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

A couple of Grey Catbirds have been hanging around the feeders. They generally don’t feed except they do have a sweet tooth for the grape jelly I have out for the orioles. I’ve noticed they also have a problem with the occasional Blue Jays that come to the feeder. I can always tell if there is a Blue Jay around because of the posture of the Grey Catbirds.

Grey Catbird

Grey Catbird

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Large numbers of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are currently at the feeders.

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

There are a fair number of American Goldfinches around. This is a change from the spring when they all but disappeared from my feeders.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

The House Sparrows continue to appear at my feeders. The past few weeks they had their young with them and now the young seem to be feeding on their own.

House Sparrows

House Sparrows

The orioles have started to return to the feeders. They were here in large numbers and then left to raise their young. Now that the young are getting ready to fledge they have started to return. I would expect that they will return with their young with the next couple of weeks.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

The Downy Woodpeckers are around feeding on my suet. I have regular suet out that I got from the butcher shop but they much prefer the more expensive peanut butter suet.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

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.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole

The Grey Catbirds are nesting around the house in various evergreen trees and shrubs.

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The Chipping Sparrows are also nesting in the same evergreen trees. It might get crowded.

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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.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Red bellied Woodpecker

Red bellied Woodpecker

The Ruby-throated Humming birds are going through about a gallon of sugar water every few days.

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More bird photos can be found on my website.

On May 5th I saw my first Grey Catbirds of the season. They have been hanging out near my bird feeders and evergreens in front of the house.

Grey Catbird

Grey Catbird

On the 6th of May I noticed that the Baltimore Orioles and the Humming birds had returned.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Ruby-throated Hummingbird female

Ruby-throated Hummingbird female

Today I noticed that the female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks had returned. The male grosbeaks returned last week. I also saw an Indigo Bunting at the feeder this afternoon.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak female

Rose-breasted Grosbeak female

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

The second week of May many of the spring birds returned to the farm. The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, Grey Catbirds, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and Song Sparrows all returned at about the same time.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks stayed around for a couple of weeks before they went off to raise their young. Occasionally I would see one at the feeder. This past week they started returning to the feeders in increasing numbers.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The pattern for the Baltimore Orioles was similar to that of the grosbeaks. They stayed around for a few weeks in large numbers. At one point I had 17 at my feeding stations and was going through a quart of grape jelly every day. The same thing happened last year. I also notice that they had nest building materials at the feeders. It was fun to watch them come to the feeder with nest building material and then have to decide whether to keep the nest building material or get some grape jelly. Usually the grape jelly won out. The important thing was that they were going to build nests which would mean they would return after raising their young. This past week they started to return for grape jelly.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

The Grey Catbirds stayed around the feeders and built a nest close to the house where they raised one fledgling which left the nest several weeks ago. They do feed at the feeders occasionally. Mostly they like the peanut butter suet and occasionally they will eat the grape jelly. The fledgling and the adults have been hanging around the house.

Grey Catbird

Grey Catbird

The Song Sparrows also built nests near the house but I haven’t been able to identify the fledgling birds. The Song Sparrows are a frequent visitor to the bird bath.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have stayed around although the past few weeks the numbers have declined. They are probably off raising their young.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

I have noticed that a fledgling Downy Woodpecker has been hanging out at the suet feeder where the adult has been feeding it. The same thing had happened with a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Downy Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpeckers

Red-bellied Woodpeckers

Red-bellied Woodpeckers

 

Yesterday was a big bird day on the farm. I saw the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird, an Orchard Oriole turned up at my feeder as did a Gray Catbird. There was also a male Scarlet Tanager in the area.

Scarlet Tanager male

Scarlet Tanager male

Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Grey Catbird

Grey Catbird

During the last week of spring and the first few weeks of summer quite a few fledglings have shown up around the farm.

In terms of numbers and frequency of visits the Baltimore Orioles have been the most common. It’s hard to tell if it is just one family or several families. When the Orioles first arrived in the spring there were only a few and they only stayed around the feeder for just a couple of days. Now that the young have fledged they are at the feeder constantly. When they first started coming it was a stitch to watch them. The area around the feeder was loaded with humming birds and the fledglings were constantly ducking when a humming bird flew by.

Baltimore Oriole

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks fledglings have also been common around the feeder. They are easily identifiable by the orange on their breast. I’ve see a couple of cases of the adults feeding the fledglings but haven’t been able to get a photo.

Red-breasted Grosbeak

One day I looked out the window and saw this young Grey Catbird sitting in a bush right outside the window. It sat there for about a half an hour looking in the window. I took the screen off of the window so I could get a shot and it didn’t move. The adults were hovering in the background and were a little concerned that I was getting too close.

Grey Catbird

Every year we have some House Finches show up with their fledglings. For about a week the fledglings like to be fed by the parents. There is usually one that continues to try to be fed rather than going to the feeder.

Feeding time

This year, for the first time, I had a fledgling Song Sparrow at the feeder. This is a shot of the adult feeding the fledgling.

Song Sparrows

There has been a Fledgling Red-bellied woodpecker at the feeder. In this shot the adult and the fledgling were both at the feeder. I did get a shot of the adult feeding the fledgling but it was so dark that the photo didn’t turn out.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers

Several Downy Woodpeckers brought their fledglings to the suet feeder this summer.

Downy Woodpecker

Tree swallows are a rare sight at the feeder. Earlier in the week I had been out photographing the soon to be fledglings in the nest. A couple of days later this one landed near my bird feeders. It was wild eyed with all of the activity around the feeder. It seem terrified of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds flying around. I can relate because the hummingbirds do make quite the loud noise when flying.

Tree Swallow

I’ve had some Eastern Bluebirds feeding their fledgling on my deck railing but I haven’t been able to get a photo of them. I did get this shot of the fledgling sitting out in the flowers.

Eastern Bluebird

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.

Eastern Bluebird male

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.

Northern Cardinal female

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.

American Robin

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.

Red Tailed HawkFor 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 Goldfinch male

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.

Tree Swallow

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.

Feeding time

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.

Eastern Phoebe

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.

Song Sparrows

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.

Chipping Sparrow

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.

Pigeon

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.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers

Red-bellied Woodpecker fledgling

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.

Grey Catbird

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.

Baltimore Oriole male

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.

Eastern Bluebirds

Eastern Bluebird male

Eastern Bluebird female

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.

Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Oriole female

Baltimore Oriole male

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.

Scarlet Tanagers

Scarlet Tanager female

Scarlet Tanager male

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.

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated sparrow

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.

 

 

 

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

I usually have a few of these around each spring.

 

 

 

 

 

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting female

Indigo Bunting male

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.

Grey Catbird

Grey Catbird

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.

 

 

 

American Robin

American Robin

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.

 

 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak female

Rose-breasted Grosbeak male

Another spring bird and a frequent visitor to my feeding station.

 

 

 

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird female

Ruby-throated Hummingbird male

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 Swallow

Tree Swallow

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.

 

 

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch female

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.

 

 

 

Turkey Vultures

Turkey Vultures

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

Northern Cardinal female

Northern Cardinal male

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

Mourning Dove

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.

 

 

Dark-eyed Juncos

Dark-eyed Junco female

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 Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

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.

 

 

 

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey

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.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch female

American Goldfinch male

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.

 

 

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker female

Downy Woodpecker male

A year around visitor to the feeding station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More bird photos can be found at Philip Schwarz Photography.