Birding Around Home

I haven’t gotten out much these past few weeks.  All I’ve been doing is work, work, work….booorrriiinnngggg!!!   But that’s the price you pay sometimes to be self employed.

So I’ve had to satisfy myself with short outings in my yard and in the neighborhoods around me.  Poor Scarlett has been missing our long hikes.  These short walks just aren’t keeping her satisfied.  It’s tough burning off the energy of a not quite 1.5 year old german shepherd.  But thankfully she’s a sweet dog and makes the most of her time out.

The sunflowers are in full bloom now.  And I’ve noticed a lot of birds love them.  Most especially the Lesser Goldfinches.  They actually wait to breed until later in the summer so they can feed their young on the sunflower seeds.  I let several sunflowers germinate from the cast off seed from the feeders.  It’s fun to watch several of these tiny yellow birds feeding on the seed pods.  I’ve noticed they eat the leaves as well.


Lesser Goldfinch


Hard to get pics as they were flying from flower to flower


They are adept at hanging upside down to get to the seeds


Looks like this one had recently taken a bath


Lesser Goldfinch – female


Many other birds have been enjoying the sunflowers around my home.  I even noticed a hummingbird feeding at one.


They avoid the bees!!


Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

There is a meadow near my house that has a lot of wildflowers and sunflowers blooming right now.  One morning I drove over and parked my car so I could use it as a blind.  I was thrilled to see warblers working their way among the wildflowers.  Warblers are the most difficult bird for me to see and photograph.  Here’s an example of why…


A camouflaged Wilson’s Warbler – you can just see the eye

I did manage to get a couple decent photos of the warblers about that morning.


Wilson’s Warbler


Wilson’s Warbler


Orange-Crowned Warbler


Virginia’s Warbler


Yellow-Rumped Warbler

One morning I noticed a young Black-Headed Grosbeak stuck in my garden.  We were overrun with grass in the garden last summer.  So this year we covered the entire area with black plastic to kill all the seeds.  This young Grosbeak was trying to fly out of the fenced area but just hadn’t mastered the skill of flying yet.  I was afraid it would get too much exposure to hot sun on black plastic, so I caught it and put it in a nearby oak tree.  He seemed much happier.  Soon after I released him he started calling for his parents.


Black-Headed Grosbeak juvenile.  I can never resist taking a close-up pic when I catch a bird!


Safely in the oak tree now

A couple weeks later I saw the same bird.  I have noticed over the years that when I catch a young bird and release it, they have a lot less fear of me.  This guy was like that.  He lets me get real close now.  I had rescued a baby American Robin one summer and it followed me around the yard for weeks.


Black-Headed Grosbeak – I’m glad to see it got its wings!

I have a flock of Bushtits that live around my home.  They have built their nest in our yard for several summers now.  I’ve never been able to find the active nest, but one year I saw an old nest.  They love the bark butter I put on my tree.


Bushtits greedily eating the bark butter


These guys are so tiny.  They are difficult to photograph as they are very quick!

A few other visitors to the feeders at my house.


House Finch – female


Juvenile Chipping Sparrow


White-Breasted Nuthatch


Mountain Chickadee


House Finch – male


Canyon Towhee

A little further afield from home there are some open meadows that attract a different variety of birds than I get at home.


Northern Mockingbird – they still had two young ones begging for food


Swainson’s Hawk – juvenile


Turkey Vulture – I swear it has maggots stuck to its face.  And there was a very dead skunk odor too!  Eeeewwww!!!


Shy American Kestrals


Common Raven


Curve-Billed Thrasher


Swainson’s Hawk – juvenile


Swainson’s Hawk – juvenile

One day I had to go to the office in Cedar Crest – just a few miles from home.  I had my camera with me (surprised?).  It was a very cool morning after a rainy night.  The birds were very active.  Most weren’t very cooperative for photos.  But I did get a good shot of a Blue Grosbeak.  And I saw a very puffy hummingbird!


Blue Grosbeak – juvenile male getting adult plumage


Broad-Tailed Hummingbird


Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

In late June I wrote about a Cooper’s Hawk nesting in my yard.  I had taken some photos in Late July of the baby hawk.  But I had misplaced the photos.  I was very upset with myself thinking I had accidentally deleted them.  But happily I found those photos this morning! Though a little late, I thought you might enjoy seeing pics of this hawk.  It had left the nest but was hanging out in the trees nearby.  Not long after taking these photos, it was flying much better and was more difficult to see for photos.  But I did hear it call for its parent most every evening for several weeks.


Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk


Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk

While I’m writing this Scarlett has her head on my lap, looking at me with those big brown eyes, willing me to take her out for a walk.  So I guess that’s what I will do!







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