Posted in Back yard bird buffet, bird photography

A guest for lunch

One of our neighborhood big birds, the pileated woodpecker, came for lunch today. He swooped in for a landing on top of the hopper feeder, and Bob spotted him feasting on the suet cake that is right below his “landing pad.” Leaning over the end of the feeder, he would grab a bite of suet, take a look around the neighborhood, then grab another bite. He was in no hurry to leave, and I had time to take a lot of photos.

 

He’s almost prehistoric-looking. Check out that beak and those claws. I wouldn’t want to get between him and his suet because he obviously loves it. Finally satisfied, he flew away, moving unbelievably fast! Maybe next time I’ll be quicker with my finger on the shutter button and get a better shot of the takeoff!
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That was today’s excitement, but I’m betting he’ll be back!
Trail Walker
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, deer, nature photography

You can set the table, but…

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…you don’t always get the guests you expected!

After breakfast, I cleaned the kitchen and went outside to prepare the backyard buffet with  a delicious feast for the birds. Apparently the feast was appealing enough to attract the attention of a little herd of deer that wandered up from nearby Chagrin River Park.

After the deer were finished feasting, very little remained for the birds’ breakfast! As the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote…

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

Maybe I could adapt that line to read, “The best laid plans of mice, men, and backyard bird feeders often go awry.” Although that isn’t nearly as poetic as the original, it is definitely true.

That’s all for today’s backyard birding adventure!
Thanks for visiting! It is always good to entertain company.

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, backyard birding

Especially for bird lovers…

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Even bluebirds can have bad hair days (especially when it is raining).

My “Pics” for the Week…January 1-7, 2017

All the “Pics” for this week are birds (except for two squirrels that sneaked in when I wasn’t looking) 😃.  All pics were taken in my “Backyard Bird Buffet.” The first week in January has been very cold (currently 12 degrees) and more cloudy and wet than sunny, which explains why all the pics were shot through my kitchen window.  Some birds were chosen because they are favorites of mine; others because they are new or infrequent visitors; and still others, just because they make me smile, and smiling is always good. So here are my “pics” for the week, the pictures I especially like. I hope you like them too.

New or infrequent visitors

The red-bellied woodpeckers haven’t been around much so far this winter, but I have high hopes they will appear more often. The same can be said for the Eastern bluebirds, which first appeared near the end of December, but haven’t visited in the last few days. I’m missing them!

These are among my favorite visitors.

Here are the birds that made me smile this week

Some birds make me smile by the way they pose or by the expression on their faces (beaks), and others by the way they interact with other birds or utilize an ornament in the buffet.

Finally…

I can’t forget the squirrels. They are a permanent part of the Backyard Buffet, and they eat more than their share of the birdseed. Some people love squirrels, others not so much, but I have fun watching their antics as they race around the yard. I wish I had that much energy!

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There you have it…my “pics” for the first week of January. If you have a favorite, I would love to know what it is.

Thanks for visiting today. See you tomorrow on Cellpic Sunday.
Trail Walker
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, back yard buffet, backyard birding, nature photography

Bright spots on a wintry day

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Overnight the temperature dropped to single digits and several inches of snow fell. The Backyard Buffet looks much more appealing when the ground is covered with a blanket of white, and because that same blanket had covered over much of their natural food, the birds were looking for food at ALL the feeders. That includes the hawk that visited yesterday, so all the little birds must be alert to the danger. We saw him on the ground at the edge of our backyard this morning, but he flew away too quickly for a photo opp. He is a beautiful bird, but I wish he would go scrounging for his meals among the snakes and rodents (If some of them aren’t hibernating) in the nearby park instead of in the Backyard Buffet. 😒

Enjoy these bright spots
That’s all for today.
Look for more Backyard Buffet adventures tomorrow.
See you then! -Trail Walker (aka Carolyn or Skip)
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, backyard birding, Eastern bluebirds

Back to the bluebirds

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I’m always delighted when I see Eastern bluebirds, especially when they are visiting my Backyard Bird Buffet. When yesterday dawned cold and soggy, I wasn’t expecting to see them, but as Bob and I watched the regular, daily visitors to the Buffet, a little flock of bluebirds joined the crowd and made themselves at home.

First this little male visited the new seed cylinder. I didn’t see him munching at the cylinder, but apparently it also works well as a perch and a place to check out the activity in the backyard.

A female joined him…
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…and he kept watch while she tasted a tidbit.

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Next they flew to the stump where they were joined by another female.

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Uh-oh, an intruder!

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A hungry one!
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Fortunately red-bellied woodpeckers are not a threat to bluebirds and other songbirds, so peace was restored in the Bird Buffet until a hawk flew in for a visit. At that point, all the guests at the Backyard Buffet scattered for safety. No one was left for the hawk to harm, so he flew away too.

That’s the end of Tuesday’s adventures at the Backyard Buffet.
Thanks for visiting! See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, bird photography, Eastern bluebirds

A joyful ending to 2016

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A little flock of Eastern bluebirds came by this week to help me finish off my backyard buffet posts for 2016. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked out the window and saw them because I have NEVER before seen a bluebird in our neighborhood. They aren’t uncommon in northeast Ohio, but they are usually seen in spring and summer. I did capture this one in November at Holden Arboretum,
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…but was completely taken by surprise to see a little flock in my backyard on Wednesday, dining with the sparrows, starlings, titmice, and other familiar year round birds. On Thursday, I was away from home from before sunrise until long after dark, so on Friday I kept an eager eye out the window, hoping they would return. They didn’t, and I began to wonder if they had just made a brief stop here on their way to a warmer climate and had already moved on. Imagine my joy this morning (Saturday) when they reappeared among the usual breakfast time visitors. I picked up my camera, which is always on the shelf below the window, held my breath, and began snapping away. Here is a little bluebird portrait gallery, some taken on Wednesday and some today.

I’m excited to be able to share a “new” bird (new to my backyard buffet) on the last day of 2016. Every year has its ups and downs, and every day brings things for which I am thankful, but, as we come to the end of what has been a very unusual year for many of us,  it gives me joy to share these beautiful birds with you.

Happy New Year, Trail Walking Friends!
Let’s look forward to 2017 with hope, faith, joy, and love.
See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, backyard birding, Northeast Ohio, winter

A rare event

Many years ago, when Bob and I relocated from central Pennsylvania to the south shore of Lake Erie, I was a stay-at-home-mom with three little girls. We moved into our new home in January, and we hadn’t been living here for long when I realized that something was missing, something I was accustomed to in my former home, something I had taken for granted: sunshine!  That’s when I first realized that living on the south shore of Lake Erie is a mixed blessing…great in the summer, but not so great in the winter, unless you really like grey days!

That long ago experience is significant today because this morning the sun was shining, and I was finally able to get a few good pictures of the little juncos, or snow birds, that are winter residents of the back yard bird buffet. They are adorable little birds and fun to watch, but getting a sharp picture of the little snow birds is a challenge because they blend right in with their surroundings. The sunshine made a big difference this morning, and here are the pictures I captured. It was definitely a rare event.

 That’s it for today.
Thanks for visiting the Back Yard Birds.
Trail Walker
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, deer, My trail walks, nature, wildlife

Rapscallions!

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Walking into my kitchen, I glanced out the window and there, staring straight at me, were two deer…in broad daylight…the penalty we pay for living next door to  Chagrin River Park. Why, you might ask, would I call these beautiful animals rapscallions (an old-fashioned word for rascal; rogue; or scamp)?  It’s because they consider my Back Yard Bird Buffet their personal dining room, and anything I put out for the birds is free range for these much larger mammals.

When they saw me through the window, they ran away, but I knew they would be back because they knew where the good food was…free for their taking. Unfortunately, they are destructive. They push at the suet and other feeders with their heads to shake the food loose and when they’ve eaten their fill, they  leave broken pieces on the ground…Not broken pieces of food, but broken pieces of the feeders. I’ve ended up with more than one broken bird feeder as a result of their night time visits, which is why I call them rapscallions. However, they are beautiful animals, and it’s quite amazing to see them outside my window. I guess we will just have to be more diligent about bringing our bird feeders inside before it gets dark. (But if you have a better solution, I would love to hear it).

Rant over! My feeders are inside and it’s time for me to go to bed.
See you tomorrow!
Trail Walker

 

 

Posted in Back yard bird buffet, backyard birding

If you can’t beat them…

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I’ve been trying, with a remarkable lack of success,  to discourage the starlings from taking over the Back Yard Buffet. So now I’m beginning to think about changing my attitude toward these pesky colorful birds. Until someone can come up with a good idea for encouraging these invaders to change their behavior and move on to a new habitat, I’m going to change my attitude, and  my new attitude toward the starling invasion is, “If you can’t beat ’em,  JOIN ‘EM.” After all, they do look pretty against the snow and they may even brighten up a drab winter background when the snow has melted and everything is sort of grey and brown. They are persistent critters too, and persistence can be a positive trait.  Right? Especially if you call it perseverance. It’s worth a try at least!

How am I doing friends? Am I convincing anyone that an invasion of starlings is actually something to enjoy? Not sure I am convincing myself, but at least I’m trying. 😏  I’m definitely not ready to celebrate starlings yet, but maybe if I persevere with my new attitude,  I’ll eventually reach that point.

Here are a few more starlings for you to enjoy:

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Starlings like suet.
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Apparently starlings favor chunky peanut butter.
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They love the new hopper feeder.
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Picking up peanuts is a breeze for the starlings.
That’s the news from the Back Yard Bird Buffet today.
Thanks for stopping by!
Trail Walker