I had an especially good morning birding in my own backyard last Saturday. There’s no place like home!
One of my first visitors was this bright yellow American Goldfinch. It makes me happy to see them changing color – but at the same time, I want to say “no! You’re changing colors too fast! Then you’ll leave us and fly away and we won’t see you again till November!” Such is springtime birding in Florida…
Have you ever seen the inside of a Painted Bunting’s throat? Me, neither, till today! It looks like this greenie was singing, but she actually seemed to be yawning or stretching instead. All the buntings love this particular perch in my firebush. It provides them a safe spot to sit while they wait their turn at the feeder.
A bright red male Northern Cardinal made me chuckle when he perched on top of the bird feeder finial. Bird sitting on bird!
The greenie Painted Buntings have started hanging out in my purple firespike bush again, just like in previous springs. They like to drink the nectar from the flowers. It’s interesting how the greenies seem attracted to the purple firespike, and the males seem to prefer the red firespike. I think they naturally prefer the bushes that best camouflage them.
This little Palm Warbler visited often to steal mealworms from my dish. He posed briefly on top of the Painted Bunting feeder, showing off the brighter feathers that he too is starting to sport. I wonder why people ever started the tradition of listening to the groundhog for a prognostication of an early spring. It seems more reliable to me to watch the birds! :)
A small flock of American Goldfinches flew in, posing nicely on bushes (natural perches instead of bird feeders, good going little guys!). This guy is starting to turn yellow too, but not quite as fast as the one above. They continue to empty my niger feeder regularly, and I hope they will stay for as long as they want.
We don’t often have Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in our backyard, so when I heard the calls of one, I quickly started focusing my camera on him. He sure moved around quickly! He hopped from bush to bush and I camera-chased him halfway around the yard before I caught him in the coral honeysuckle growing on my blind. (The birds love that blind as much as I do!). I noticed something on this bird that I’ve never photographed before – see the black line over his eye? He was all decked out in breeding colors, too!
Oh! A two-for-one Painted Bunting shot! It’s not often that the male and female pose together for my camera…
A female cardinal came into the yard. The cardinals are definitely a pair – I’ve seen the male feeding the female recently, a sure sign of upcoming nesting and this spring’s baby cardinals. On this day, though, the male let the female find her own food. She hopped over to the honeysuckle vine and picked up a spent bloom, biting it to get at the nectar inside. Now I know why I like birding so much – the birds and I seem to share a sweet tooth!
I’ll leave you with a video. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth at least a thousand pictures, right? The Painted Buntings were hard at work that morning feeding in my native salvia plants. They love to eat the seeds. I got some great shots of the males perched among the red flowers, but it’s even more fun to see them eating yourself…