Posted in Back yard bird buffet, Baltimore orioles, pileated woodpecker

Breakfast time at the Backyard Buffet

It was a dreary morning, but the Baltimore oriole appears unfazed by the wet weather. His bright orange coat is still looking good and adds a little cheer to the backyard buffet when he landed on the dish that holds his grape jelly.

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On the other hand, the pileated woodpecker struggles to make his usual smooth landing before settling down to eat breakfast.

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My funniest picture ever of a pileated woodpecker.
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However, he recovers his composure and carries on.

The pileated comes around every day for his morning meal, and nothing is going to interfere with it. A bird that big has to have his meals on time. Sometimes a fellow just has to do the best he can, regardless of the weather! Eating is serious business for the birds.

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon.
~Trail Walker
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, backyard birding, Color me Spring!, My trail walks

Spring migration was in full swing…

Two weeks ago, when the annual spring migration was in full swing, birders were all agog over their unique opportunities to see and photograph unusual warblers and other birds rarely seen in our area. Many parks celebrated with special events, and birders planned field trips to prime location along the shoreline. I didn’t have time to take part in the festivities this year, but to my surprise, on Saturday, May 13th, a number of unexpected guests flew into my backyard bird buffet.

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Through the morning and most of the afternoon birds were flying from feeder to feeder and tree to tree, while I stood and gawked in amazement. For me, the most exciting  visitor was the redheaded woodpecker. Downy and red-bellied woodpeckers are common visitors. Even the pileated woodpecker that I blogged about yesterday has become a regular this summer, but seeing that redheaded bird in my backyard was a huge treat and a cause for celebration.

Could I ask for a more photogenic guest? While he may be common in other areas, he is definitely a rarity in my backyard buffet. What an unusual Saturday that was!

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon.
~Trail Walker
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, backyard birding, pileated woodpecker, spring

Woodpecker morning

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A quick look out the kitchen window this morning reassured me that Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird are still around. Both were sitting on the new bluebird nesting box I wrote about in yesterday’s blog post. They didn’t stay long enough for a photo opp, but I was very happy to see them. Next the pileated woodpecker announced his arrival. He was alone. His mate didn’t put in an appearance, but several other woodpeckers did. Take a look:

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A starling shared the hopper feeder with the pileated.
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Pretty soon a red-bellied woodpecker flew in.
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For a while, the red-bellied and the pileated dined on opposite ends of the hopper feeder.
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Just look at the difference in the size of these two woodpeckers!
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And finally a downy came for his breakfast. Mr. and Mrs. Downy are constant guests at the Backyard Buffet.

Breakfast time ended when the pileated woodpecker flew over to the trunk of the huge oak tree on the edge of our property. I took this picture so you could see how high up he was. We think he may be nesting in that hole because he lands there often, and Bob actually saw him fly in to it a few weeks ago. Baby pileated woodpeckers??? Wouldn’t that be a treat!
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See you soon. Thanks for visiting today.
Trail Walker
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, backyard birding, bird photography, Color me Spring!, My trail walks

Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird go house hunting

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My last 10 days have been busy, so busy I haven’t had any time to post my pictures of the drama in our backyard, but Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird have been even busier. Their hunt for suitable housing has been a challenging one.  2017_05_15_Places_backyard buffet_0060

Mr. Bluebird took the initiative in the house hunt. Maybe his mate was nagging him to get out there and find them a place to raise their young. For a few days he was very industrious, while she sat on the sidelines and watched.

He seemed to be really attracted to the brand new box. He tried to enter the door, but halfway in he would change his mind, back out, and fly over to the old, weather-beaten box. Time after time, he repeated that maneuver, going into the old box, then flying over to the new one, but he never could seem to get into the shiny new box. Maybe he had the wrong key? Eventually, the landlord (My husband), decided to lend a hand. Out he went with a drill and a file to make the entrance a little wider, but Mr. Bluebird still didn’t seem to find the entrance satisfactory.

After watching this process for a few days, Mrs. Bluebird must have lost her patience watching him try out first one box, then the other…over and over again, because eventually she flew over to supervise.

Before long she tired of the role of supervisor and flew over to a nearby tree where the goldfinch must have given a sympathetic ear to her complaints. Then for a while she simply sat on the sidelines and watched.

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However, her mate wasn’t finished yet. Back he flew to the new nesting box for another go at getting inside.  He tried and tried. He was determined!2017_05_15_Places_backyard buffet_01492017_05_15_Places_backyard buffet_01462017_05_15_Places_backyard buffet_00732017_05_12_Places_backyard buffet_0167

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Mr. Bluebird looks with longing at the beautiful nesting box. He really wanted it, and he put his heart into getting in, but it was not to be.

For several days, I spent a lot of time at my kitchen window, watching this drama unfold. The hapless house hunter never did get into the new home he had set his heart on. I thought they may decide to settle for the run-down box I won at a raffle several years ago, but I’m not sure. He persevered and made a valiant attempt, but at this point, it doesn’t look as if he succeeded.  It would be exciting to see their little family hatch and fledge. I’m not giving up hope yet, but I didn’t see them today, so it is possible they have moved in somewhere else. When I have some news, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for visiting the backyard buffet today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
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