I hope you’re not getting tired of all my posts about my own backyard. All these years of gardening for the birds (and more gardening for the birds), and this year is the first year I’ve really spent significant time enjoying the results of my efforts. Early April is definitely my favorite time in the backyard!
My firebushes have grown into tall, dense trees, and the birds love their cover. There’s a particular branch that I call the “waiting perch.” It stands out from the rest of the bush and is close to the feeder, but the birds feel safe as they sit on it waiting for a turn at the feeder.
It’s quite convenient when beautiful birds have such predictable places to perch!
Across the yard, one of my Brown Thrashers took a bath. He proceeded to preen and shake out his feathers in a firespike bush. Notice anything funny? Yep, he got photobombed by a male bunting!
I’ve seen several hummingbirds in the early mornings. They fly in, nectar for a little while, and then move on. Migration is tough on these tiny birds and I’m happy to think that my yard helps them on their journey.
We’ve had a couple of Prairie Warblers this spring (or the same one that stayed for several weeks). I love seeing them in the springtime when their colors are so bright and vibrant. This year I got to hear one singing for the better part of one morning. Such a treat!
Of course, backyard life isn’t always perfect. When a hawk flies through, everybody scatters. The small birds head for the cover of my viburnum “fence” and the doves freeze in their tracks. The squirrels disappear and the bunnies hop to safety. It stays very quiet for 20-30 minutes afterward. Sometimes the hawk even has the nerve to sit on top of the bird feeder to survey the yard!
Some of the first birds to come back are the Red-winged Blackbirds. They send in a sentinel to check things out, then that bird calls all his friends. “All clear! The hawk is gone! Birdseed in the feeders, come and get it!”
I was in the blind one afternoon when I was surprised to see a juvenile Mourning Dove with his parents. They milled about beneath my biggest feeder. It seemed a little early for a juvie. He seemed to know his way around the yard pretty well already.
Not far from the doves was one of our neighborhood squirrels. I have baffles on my feeders and the squirrels (knock wood!) pretty much stay on the ground. But never fear, the birds knock down so much seed that I am quite confident that our squirrels are not going hungry!
You haven’t forgotten my migrant blue-gray gnatcatchers, have you? Turns out they have stayed for several weeks. Their song really brightens up the backyard, as do their antics when they chase each other from branch to branch. I think they’ve seen me photographing other birds on pretty perches, and they wanted to participate. This gnatcatcher found a discarded day-old perch on the ground and sat on it – but he forgot one important part of posing for his portrait: you’re supposed to open your eyes! ;-)
As sad as I am to see our winter feathered friends start to leave, it’s also fun to welcome our summer friends back to the neighborhood. This was the morning that I heard our first Common Nighthawk! :)
Find my birding list from today on eBird.