I have a number of birds at my feeders.
I have a number of birds at my feeders.
May started off with a bang. I started snowing on the evening of May 1st, continued all day on May 2nd and finally ended mid day on the 3rd of May. Well over a foot of heavy wet snow. It was difficult photographing birds because of the heavy snowfall and the wet snow hitting the windows but I managed to capture a few of the spring birds at the feeding stations.
I had a lot of White-throated Sparrows around during the storm. I’ve had a few of them around in the past but never this many.
The Northern Cardinals are still around although only a couple of pairs of them. Nothing like the dozen or so I had this winter. They really looked miserable during the storm.
The Dark-eyed Juncos were all gone after a week of 70 and 80 degree weather but a few of them returned after the storm.
The Song Sparrows have been around for several weeks and I suspect they will again be nesting in the bushes near the house. I think any thoughts of nesting have been delayed a bit because of the storm.
House Sparrows are rarely seen around the farm. I’m not sure why. I see them around town a lot but not on the farm. This one turned up during the storm.
There were a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches at the feeder during the storm but I was not able to get a photo of them together.
I’ve had good number of House Finches around the feeder in the past couple of weeks and they turned up during the storm.
The last time I saw the American Goldfinches they were molting. They were not around much during the warm weather but turned up, in small numbers, during the storm. It looks like molting has been completed.
I’m not sure what this bird is. It turned up at the feeder during the height of the storm but I haven’t figured out what it is.
There were a variety of other birds around but I wasn’t able to get any Photos.
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.
This past Monday was a great day for bird photography. I think I managed to capture more good shots in one day than I normally get in a week. We had the first bad storm of the spring come through with heavy rain and strong winds. The lightning knocked the power out at the house for most of the day. Not much to do but read a good book and watch the birds. The storm seemed to bring the birds to the feeding station. It was a blast watching them trying to land around the feeder and once on the feeder trying to eat in the strong winds. As I noted in an earlier post it was a record day for Baltimore Orioles. But we also had lots of other birds show-up at the feeder. I wasn’t able to photograph all of them because of the heavy rain but I was able to get some good shots during the day. I’ve finally been able to get through the photos. Here are some of the better shots, from the day, showing the range of birds at the feeder.
More photos can be found on my website.