Spring is here! I have been busy filling up a couple dozen lawn waste bags to put on the curb for pickup the last few weeks. So, I’ve had the opportunity to spy on several pairs of birds who have picked our birdhouses to build nests in and raise a mess of babies.
This is a ceramic birdhouse that I bought when we visited Louisville Stoneware a couple years ago. I hung it up last year with no takers, but a cute Carolina Wren couple have moved in this Spring.
I built and installed two bluebird houses last year, again, with no takers. It’s a bit of wishful thinking that I might attract a bluebird since they really prefer a more rural setting. But a girl can hope! This year they won’t be empty, though! A Bewick’s Wren couple is building a nest in this one…
And a Black-Crested Titmouse couple is in the other one…
I have seen a few other birds enter some of the other houses/holes around the yard. But I’ll have to stake them out to see if anyone moves in.
I’m just thrilled to know where several nests are, and will anxiously watch for signs of babies hatching and fledging.
I spied this crested caracara atop the telephone pole at the end of my driveway. I had just enough time to go back in the house for my camera and take this shot before he flew away. It’s not a terribly clear photo, but the best I’ve gotten of one of these big birds so far. Caracaras are in the falcon family, but they often hang out with vultures. You may have seen one feeding on a dead animal in a field or on the side of the road. They they also will eat small animals and birds that they can swoop down on and pluck off the ground. I think that is what this guy was scanning the area for.
We spent the morning working on the flower beds along the front of the house. This little guy hung around, feasting on bugs in the dirt – flirting less than a foot away most of the time – an adorable Eastern Phoebe.
On February 20th, we noticed a pair of Carolina wrens making a nest in a planter we have on the patio out back. For the last week or two we have watched them bringing insects all day long, and could hear the babies’ chirps. Today they fledged! I saw the first one jump out. Then called Monte to the window. We watched the second one jump out, and then he reminded me I might want to get a picture or two. 🙂
The last three…
And then there were two…
And then there was one…
And then there were none! Such cuties.
Yay! Now I can finally trim that plant and water it.
Birder’s track the number of bird species seen in their lifetime (a life list), and also keep track of those seen in a given year. Sometimes, a birder sees an incredibly large number of species in a year, which is lauded as a “big year.” This past year, 2017, was my first year of really paying attention to birds. I have sought them out, listened to them, tried to lay eyes on them, and have learned much. And…I am happy to tally 167 species that I have seen in 2017. Not a big year, really, but a fantastic one in my book. I can recall where I saw each of these birds this year; some, but not all, captured on film. I look forward to more birding in 2018.
Here is a pic of a some of my common backyard birds on the fountain today. Temperatures have been in the 20s for a couple of days. Since the pump keeps the water moving, it is the only unfrozen source of water in the yard. I see two female house finches, three male lesser goldfinches, and a female northern cardinal.
And, there they go. You have to be quick to capture the birdies.
Nearly every day I see a Cooper’s Hawk in the backyard. I think there is a juvenile and an adult that visit. I watched this adult in the birdbath on Thanksgiving Day Eve. It may be a female, as they are larger than a male, and this bird is pretty big. Not a great quality photo because it was taken through a window, but what a beautiful bird.
I have shared my excitement throughout this entire Spring for our nesting Bewick’s wrens. The same pair have nested in two different houses on the patio. Their first brood was four babies. A second brood fledged Thursday; three more! The birdhouse is about 5 feet from where I sit while drinking my coffee each morning outside. The little wren parents were used to me and would fly back and forth to feed the babies while I was sitting there. So sweet.
We have birds nesting in a number of places in our yard. You’ve already heard a lot about the Bewick’s Wrens. A Carolina Wren also nested – in one of the aloe plants out back. The babies are out of the nest today, and I got a picture of mom/dad feeding one of the fledglings. I counted four babies at one point. You can see another one on the left edge of the bench in this shot. I hung the bark butter up again nearby and the parent bird is going to it every few minutes to feed the little ones. Such cuties. Their tails are so stubby right now, I don’t know how they get around.