Idle observations at the hopper feeder

2019_05_30__Summer morning trail walks_0108

When the pileated woodpeckers visit the backyard buffet, they are mostly ignored by the other birds. Despite their size and fearsome-looking beak, they don’t seem to be feared, but they are certainly not included in the community activities. They operate solo! The pileated pictured here is a male who is interested in food, but isn’t looking to enjoy a friendly meal with his neighbors.

On the other hand, the smaller birds like the sparrows and finches are more community-minded (although not always friendly). At least as far as I have observed. Here they are, during their social hour at the hopper-feeder on a sunny morning:

2019_05_31__Summer morning trail walks_01352019_05_31__Summer morning trail walks_01372019_05_31__Summer morning trail walks_01382019_05_31__Summer morning trail walks_01402019_05_31__Summer morning trail walks_0142

Now don’t take this seriously, but do you know any people who act like that? Are any neighbors in your community isolated or do they all share the communal space? Are they accepting of strangers or openly hostile? Do you see any familiar behavior in these pictures?  This is just a non-scientific, layman’s observation, based on the body language and the expressions on some of those beaks, but I’m wondering if, like some humans, not all little birds are friendly and welcoming during their social gatherings. Can we learn anything from the birds? As I said, this is strictly non-scientific, so don’t take it seriously! Just have fun watching the behavior of the birds in your neighborhood.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

 

Return of the bluebirds

2017_04_28_Places_Backyard birding0005-Edit
Way back in mid-winter, a little flock of Eastern Bluebirds vacationed for a week in our backyard buffet. I was totally surprised because, although bluebirds do winter over in northeast Ohio, none had ever done so in our neighborhood. Sadly, after delighting us for a week, they were suddenly gone, and we haven’t seen them for months.

However, last week the lovely lady bluebird pictured at the top of this post put in another appearance. So, for the last five days, I have sprinkled their favorite treat (mealworms) on the tree stump, hoping she was the forerunner of another bluebird blitz, one that would be permanent this time. To my delight, they returned again yesterday. This time I captured a few pictures, and they were showing a little interest in the lovely new bluebird nesting box we recently added to the backyard.

2017_05_02_Places_Backyard birding0067-Edit-2
Sitting on the woodpile
2017_05_02_Places_Backyard birding0062
Closer to the new bluebird house
2017_05_02_Places_Backyard birding0063
Feathers ruffled by the wind

Will they move into the nesting box and become permanent residents? Although I’m trying not to count on it too much, I’ll keep my fingers crossed, and I’ll let you know what happens. Meanwhile, if you have any advice about how to encourage them to stay, all suggestions will be welcome.

See you soon for another spring migration saga.
~Trail Walker

I never would have seen…

2017_04_18_Places_Chagrin River Park0182
Peek-a-boo! I see you, but you don’t see me!

I really wouldn’t have noticed the little red-bellied woodpecker peering out from its nesting hole, but another, sharper-eyed photographer had located the nesting hole high up in a tree in the middle of the bog. He pointed it out as we walked past the tree a few days ago. So I have Randy to thank for this set of pictures, and I am delighted to give him credit for his generosity in pointing it out so I could take these shots.

2017_04_18_Places_Chagrin River Park0194
Peering back into the nesting hole
2017_04_18_Places_Chagrin River Park0191
I zoomed in closer for a better look.
2017_04_18_Places_Chagrin River Park0195
I’m not sure this is the same bird. Could it be a female?

I’m not absolutely certain if there is one bird or two, so today I returned for another look, but nobody was home. I guess I will just have to keep checking out the nest on future trail walks.

To be updated if there is more to share.
See you soon with more tales from the trail! ~Trail Walker

He’s still here, and guess what…

2017_04_19_Places_back yard buffet0066

…He’s not alone! He brought a friend.

Yesterday morning I heard the distinctive call the pileated woodpecker makes when he swoops in for a landing at the backyard buffet. So of course I picked up my camera and headed for my post at the kitchen window (It actually makes a good bird shooting blind, although I do my shooting with a Nikon D7100 instead of a gun). Sure enough there he was at his favorite suet feeder, and for the next 10 minutes, I tracked him from feeder to feeder and even over to our neighbor’s apple tree. I shot lots of pictures! Here’s a sampling:

2017_04_19_Places_back yard buffet0093
Next to the oriole feeder
2017_04_19_Places_back yard buffet0059
On our neighbor’s apple tree
2017_04_19_Places_back yard buffet0041
Scanning the neighborhood from the top of the hopper feeder
2017_04_19_Places_back yard buffet0021
Still scanning
2017_04_19_Places_back yard buffet0069
Leaning over to grab a bite of suet
2017_04_19_Places_back yard buffet0091
Hanging on the trunk of our tallest tree
2017_04_19_Places_back yard buffet0114
Swinging from the feeder on the old swing set

Now how observant are you? Can you tell which bird is our usual P.W. and which one is the “friend?” Here’s a hint: the friend is a female. Take another look at the pictures. Three are of the female friend. Can you pick them out?

Here’s another hint: the male has a red mustache and a full head of red hair.

Are you an expert on pileated woodpeckers or were you as surprised as I was to discover that our guest is actually two different birds? (The female is sitting next to the oriole feeder, hanging on the trunk of our tallest tree, and swinging from the feeder on the old swing set.) S/he had me fooled! What a surprise.

Hope you enjoyed this visit to our backyard bird buffet.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker

2016_12_15_places_back-yard-birding_0015

A few minutes ago, while I was in the Back Yard Buffet, refilling the water bowl and keeping an eye on Gulliver as he wandered around the yard, a small hawk zoomed into the Buffet. It paused very briefly right in front of me as I stood near the brush pile, but thankfully didn’t linger. The Buffet, which a minute earlier had been filled with patrons little birds, was suddenly empty. Gulliver and I were alone. Obviously something had set off an alarm. The little birds vanished, and I saw the hawk fly off into one of the tall trees. Standing there in amazement, I wondered if I had conjured up the hawk, it had all happened so quickly.

Here are some of the birds that were feasting on the peanuts, suet,  and other premium seeds at the Bird Buffet until the hawk did his fly-by.

I’m sure they’ll return. The air is very cold this week with wind chills in the single digits; the ground is frozen; the birds are hungry; and Skip’s Back Yard Buffet serves up a good menu. I just hope my patrons continue to be on the alert against further hawk incursions. This is the second one I’ve seen this week. Apparently the hawk is hungry too.

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon!
Trail Walker

P.S. If anyone knows how to discourage the starlings from taking over the Buffet, please leave your suggestion in the comments. They are pretty birds but pesky, and they invade like the Huns.

 

First snowfall

2016_12_08_back-yard-birding_015

Put together the first snowfall of the season with blustery wind and very cold temperatures. Then throw in a brand new brush pile that the birds are absolutely loving, and suddenly you have open house at the Bird Buffet. The juncos, mourning doves, blue jays, sparrows, titmice, chickadees, and more all spent an exciting day gathered around the brush pile and other new additions to the back yard bird buffet. The red-bellied woodpecker made its first visit in a long time, and the downy woodpecker was enjoying the suet. Watching them was great fun. Here are just a few pictures, and there will be plenty more coming because I have pictures I haven’t even had time to process. Eventually they will make their way to the blog. I hope you will come back to see them.

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon!
Trail Walker

Back to the birds

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you are probably aware that one of my favorite photo subjects is birds. Not extraordinary birds, just those that show up at our feeders or along the trail in the park. For the last several months I have only posted birds occasionally because I have been too busy working on my blog. Today I returned to my “roots” and went back to the birds. Here are three that posed for me today. I hope you like them.

That golden glow surrounding the birds was produced by the late afternoon sun shining on the Autumn colored grasses in the background. I call it serendipity!

Thanks for stopping by today. Come back soon.
Trailwalker

My new photo walking assistant

When I set out on my photowalk this morning, my dog Gulliver was with me. Gulliver is almost 13 years old, and, as happens with age, he is slowing down, but he still enjoys his daily walk in the park. Usually my husband is in charge of dog walking, but today, I hooked the leash on Gulliver, and off we went. Although I was doubtful about taking pictures while holding the leash, expecting to capture a lot of out-of-focus birds, I carried my camera over my shoulder, determined to do my best. I was amazed at the outcome, and that is what I want to share with you today. (Click a picture to scroll through the gallery.)

That’s the lot for today, and I am more than happy with my new photo walking assistant. I was especially delighted to capture the grosbeak, yellow warbler, and indigo bunting. Maybe Gulliver was my lucky charm today. What do you think?

Thanks for visiting.
I hope you like the pictures.
Carolyn aka Skip

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: