It’s been a while since I just hung out in the backyard with my camera. Since the yard is full of wintering birds, now is a perfect time of year to do that – especially when it’s cloudy or icky outside!
I’ve been noticing a Palm Warbler with a light-colored beak this year. Normally Palm Warblers have dark beaks, so this one is a little rare. I’ve nicknamed him “Blondie.” Having a Palm that I can easily distinguish from all his friends makes me realize how much I see the same bird in a single day. Where I’ve previously thought I might have, say, 3 Palms in the backyard because I see them in 3 separate places, I’m having to reconsider that counting philosophy. Blondie sure gets around!
My most colorful wintering birds are, of course, my Painted Buntings. This year we’re seeing more of them earlier in the year. Over the holidays, I was amazed to look out and see the feeder full with four males feeding together. At least five greenies were perched in the nearby bushes, waiting for a feeder port to become available.
I’ve seen a single American Goldfinch in the yard this winter. Normally the air is full of their cheerful calls – “potato chip! Baby!” But this year the small flock just isn’t here. The House Finches are eating the millet this winter.
The giant Coral Porterweeds are among the most popular plants in my backyard. Although I planted them for the hummingbirds, they are popular among all the nectar-eaters. Apparently the Painted Buntings have a sweet tooth. They like to bite off the porterweed blooms and then drink the nectar from the base. Yum!