Winter Backyard Visitors

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Cloudy days are perfect for backyard birding. With the absence of sun, I can aim the camera in any direction. On New Year’s Eve, I headed out to hang out with my new backyard celebrity – the tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbird who has been with us since Hurricane Ian. After the Christmas cold snap, the hummer was paying more attention than usual to my feeder. This is the first time I’ve gotten to photograph a hummingbird at a feeder in my own backyard!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

If you look closely at the photo above, you can see a tiny red dot at the base of the bird’s gorget. Yep, “Ruby” is definitely a juvenile male! I guess I’d better get used to calling “him” Zippy…

My Painted Buntings are not used to sharing my attention. After all these years, I still can’t believe I get buntings in my own backyard! On this particular afternoon, it was getting ready to rain. So the birds were more interested in feeding than in posing nicely for the camera. There were a few squabbles…

Painted Buntings at Feeder
Painted Buntings at Feeder

In the past few years, some Tufted Titmice have moved into the neighborhood. I love how they come to the feeder, grab a seed, and quickly fly off with their prize. This one posed with the finial on top of my feeder pole.

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

I put out a peanut feeder this fall, and the Pine Warblers have been appreciative. The photo below is a male. His wife also came to snack.

Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler

I can’t watch a male cardinal without taking a few snapshots for my dad. He loves these bright red birds. Mrs. Cardinal is also starting to look quite spiffy. Despite the freezing weather this week, the birds know that springtime and nesting are right around the corner.

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

A couple of days before my backyard photo session, I noticed this small hawk sitting in the backyard. I grabbed the camera and got a few shots through the kitchen window. Due to the small size, I knew this was a Sharp-shinned Hawk instead of the normal Cooper’s Hawks that keep an eye on my yard. He looked for lizards for a few minutes, then got bored and flew off.

Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk

It felt great to get out in the yard with a camera again. It’s been a while! As it started to rain, I packed up my bag – but not before capturing a final farewell from Zippy. Here’s a tongue out to celebrate the start of 2023!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

4 thoughts on “Winter Backyard Visitors

    1. Thanks Wally! We’re super-excited to have Zippy hanging out with us this winter. Although today he had a problem: the bees were hogging his feeder!

      Tell Gini that you need to plant a firebush in your backyard ;-)

    1. Dina, from what you’ve posted on your blog about your backyard, I suspect you might get buntings if you put out a millet feeder. My buntings are also big fans of my salvia plants. They eat the bugs on the salvias, nectar from the flowers, and eat the seeds

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