Monday, July 30, 2012

Spoiled Hummingbirds

Happy Monday morning, a beautiful sunny day here.

We have a hummingbird feeder hanging off the back of the house.  We put it up last summer and it was an immediate hit with the hummingbirds.  This summer as well the feeder has been heavily visited.

nectar feeder

A few weeks back I ran out of hummingbird nectar.  I went out and looked for the same brand, but couldn't find, so I bought another.  Friends told me it wouldn't matter, all brands were the same, after all, this was just sugar water.  In fact, why didn't I mix my own?  But I figured I wanted to go with what worked, and I trusted that store bought nectar would be safer.

So, you guessed it, I put out the new nectar, and the hummingbirds just let it sit there!  I of course dutifully changed it every few days, but to no avail.

hummingbird on feeder

I went over the weekend to Mass Audubon's gift shop at Drumlin Farms; I knew they sold "my" brand there.  Even though it's not exactly down the street from me, I was glad I went.  I put out the new nectar last night.  This morning, first thing, I heard a familiar chittering....and there was a hummingbird, with another quickly to follow and chase him away, and they have both come back several times already this morning.

The nectar brand winner?  Birds Choice Oriole & Hummingbird Nectar

hummingbird on feeder taking a break

Enjoy the day - Cheerily

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

House Sparrows

One of the first birds we took notice of at Birdsonanurbanedge is the house sparrow.  You can read elsewhere all the reasons not to like them.  You can read about how they are not native to North America, how they have crowded out other species, how they are aggressive to other birds.

two young house sparrows on roof

You can read about ways to get rid of them.  Honestly, we do have a lot of them around here.  They like to nest under our roof slats, and in some of our more overgrown bushes.  I try to discourage them from finding new places on the house to nest, but I don't disturb them once they are there.  I have put up some nest boxes, but I monitor them closely and do not allow house sparrows to build nests within them.

two young house sparrows on roof look around

These are a couple of young ones we had on our roof recently.  I'm trying to see the good in all things.  Before I knew that I was supposed to dislike them, I enjoyed their company very much!

two young house sparrows on roof look out at yard

Enjoy the day - Cheerily

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

All The Cardinals

cardinal fluffing feathersAnother hot few days here.  It's been tough to sit at the hot computer, and even tough to sit in the shade and watch the birds!  Yet we have done quite a bit of birdwatching.

cardinal on feeder tray
One thing that has impressed me is the number of cardinals we now have around.  In an earlier post I mentioned how excited I was to see a cardinal fledgling; I guess I was thinking that the summer would go buy and I wouldn't see any young birds.

cardinal in grass
I needn't have worried.  We have seen so many cardinals around, and most of them young ones.  At first I thought we only had one young one around; then I saw another bird that was clearly a different one, so I figured two young ones.

another cardinal in grass
The past several days I have stopped counting!  I have seen as many as six birds together at once.  In the mix is usually one of the adult birds, but I know there are at least four or five young ones out there.

another cardinal hopping on grass
I've included here a bunch of pictures.  Tell if you can the ones apart, I have given up!! 

male cardinal in grass
The adult male cardinal, of which I don't have a very good recent picture, is easy enough to tell with his bright red color beak and head, and black around the eyes.

northern cardinal up close

young cardinal in tree

another young cardinal in tree

another cardinal in grass

cardinal on house

I tried to get as many into one picture as possible, got five - there's one in the upper left hand corner.

five cardinals under feeder

Enjoy the day - Cheerily

Friday, July 13, 2012

Who Are We?

Hot and sunny yesterday, sat out for a while and looked at the birds dipping in the bird bath.  Saw a bird I thought was a goldfinch; it had yellow on head and chest, and dark wings with white wingbars.  But it looked larger than a goldfinch, and it definitely had a look that was different to me.

I took a few pictures.  The bird flew away.  He came back, I took a few more.
The bird bath is a ways away, you really need binoculars or a camera to see what's going on.  When I reviewed the pictures on my pc later, I found that in fact there were two birds.  The pictures aren't the greatest; I always shake when I see a bird that is unfamiliar to me.  You can imagine the excitement.

The first one, was this one.

bird on bath
 It has a yellow belly, dark beak, yellow under tail.
back of bird on bath
 You can see from this picture and the next that the yellow goes down underneath all the way to the tail, with some white on the side.
back of bird on bath another view

Also you can see white wingbars, and clearly here the yellow tail and rather olive looking head.

another bird on bath
 This is the second bird.  It is more bright overall; the head looks to be more yellow than olive.
bird on bath another view
 It also has the white wingbars.

bird taking bath
 You can clearly see the tail spread in the water, and that it is yellow.  I believe a goldfinch does not have the yellow tail, plus is smaller than this bird.  Of course it is difficult to tell the scale without another object to judge against, but take my word for it.
beautiful bird in bath
I looked through a couple of my guide books to find birds that have this much yellow plus the dark wings with white wing bars.

I don't know if these are immature or female Baltimore Orioles or if they are Orchard Orioles.  Baltimore Oriole males are more orange than yellow, and even the female supposedly is more orange-yellow than orange.  Orchard Orioles are smaller than Baltimore Orioles and more yellow than olive or orange.

I am only sure that I am not sure!

Let me know what you think.

Enjoy the day - Cheerily

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wood Thrush in the Yard!

We at Birdsonanurbanedge live without air conditioning!  It was hot here for a while, and the birds and I did not do anything too exciting, and I stayed away from my hot computer.  The past few days it has cooled off, and we are in a run of hot but comfortable summer weather, and I know I for one perked up and was on the lookout for that wood thrush I'd been hearing.

I had been planning on going into the woods to hunt him down and had not been looking forward to the bugs and the poison ivy, so I was thrilled yesterday to see the wood thrush bouncing around the yard!  First time ever seeing a wood thrush in the yard.

wood thrush

I first just caught a glimpse of something different moving across the lawn.

wood thrush checking out the yard

Once I realized what it was, I had a tough time getting a good picture, because he wouldn't sit still, he was always on the run.

wood thrush looks up towards house

Hopefully I'll be seeing more of him.  I saw him again today, several times.

wood thrush with worm

Enjoy the evening - Cheerily

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Young Cardinal Foraging

Another great day, for people and birds.  Sunny, warm, not humid, lots of activity.
fledgling cardinal

I saw the young cardinal again today.  I have seen her mainly on the ground in the open foraging.
fledgling cardinal with squirrel
She seems unconcerned about her fellow seed seeker, squirrel.

At dusk, the adult male cardinal flew to the feeder and called.  Shortly thereafter both the adult female and the fledgling appeared under the feeder.  No pictures of this as it was pretty close to dark.

Happy 4th all, enjoy the day - Cheerily

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Scarlet Tanager Appears

Another scarlet tanager today.  Again I wasn't looking for him, but just happened to see as I searched the trees for other birds.  I was actually looking for the fledgling cardinal I saw the other day but instead saw this bird, which I had dismissed for a minute thinking it was a male cardinal!

Once I saw this face poking out of the leaves, I knew I had a scarlet tanager!

scarlet tanager shows his face

Happily the little guy hopped up the tree branch and I got several more shots.

scarlet tanager in tree
 For weeks I had heard "chik burr", the scarlet tanager's call, coming from the woods, but I'd never seen one here, so I didn't think one could really be around.
scarlet tanager in tree watching
But it was!  Today the heat broke and for whatever reason the blue jays were not around, so I saw lots of birds I hadn't seen in a while.

scarlet tanager in tree looking good
A moment after I took these photos he flew away.

scarlet tanager in tree pensive pose

Always a pleasure to see a scarlet tanager, especially so close up and in the yard.  That wood thrush is still out there, singing away.  With the heat, haven't had the ambition to go down into the woods to look for him.

Enjoy the evening - Cheerily