It felt great to get out in the backyard with my camera a few days ago. The backyard has been very active this summer, more active than usual. At least two pairs of Northern Cardinals nested nearby – and spent hours chasing each other out of the backyard! Two pairs of Brown Thrashers nested nearby also, and had a late second clutch. Often by now the yard is rather empty, with the birds off taking care of themselves (being “real birds”, as my mom likes to say). But this year, we still have birds. In the case of the Brown Thrashers, it’s probably because of the mealworms that I offer at the feeders! :)
Meet one of this year’s juvenile cardinals. He’s been very adventurous in the backyard, hopping from bush to feeder to find himself food. I haven’t seen his parents feed him in a quite a while. He loves to hang out in the big hummingbird bush. It’s turned out to be a wonderful cover for all the birds, as well as a great nectar plant for the hummingbirds that visit occasionally.
This House Finch thought he’d sit next to the fake bird on the top of the pole. We’ve had a family of House Finches in the yard lately, with the juveniles making quite a racket as they beg for food from their parents. I think they nest in the oak trees around the neighborhood.
The Mourning Doves have certainly been the most numerous species this summer. I walk out in the middle of the afternoon and startle 6-8 of them from their napping places in the shade. In the evening, they fly in to the feeders and throw all the sunflower on the ground. I liked how this mom brought her juvenile in to the feeder. He didn’t seem quite sure about the sunflower-throwing business. He’ll learn!
The American Beautyberry is starting to ripen now. The birds love it. I see everybody coming in to feed – cardinals, mockingbirds, finches, thrashers. It’s amazing how they only take what they need. One berry, chewed daintily, and then they are off. My bushes have lots of berries and will feed them for a long time. On this particular afternoon, I positioned myself to photograph birds feasting on berries…and alas, they went to other bushes! Next time…
Yep, much more photogenic…a bird on a feeder! (haha) This scruffy looking cardinal is molting. He enjoyed the safflower seeds from my feeder as he watched me watching him. Lots of birds are wary of me looking at them through my big lens. He wasn’t.
Yay! Bow Tie is back! Bow Tie is the name we gave to our little Yellow-throated Warbler that visits every winter. His black and white feathers are all fancy like a tuxedo, with a yellow bow tie under his chin. I was very happy to see him return to the backyard. He doesn’t often come to my feeders, but I know he’s around because I hear his chip! call note.
One last cardinal shot for my dad (cardinals are his favorite bird). The little juvie was hopping around in the grass, pulling sunflower seeds that had fallen from the feeders. He looks pretty happy as he eats his dinner. He also shows how much I needed to mow the grass!