Backyard photography

Hurricane Matthew Update

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We were very fortunate that Hurricane Matthew stayed offshore.  We got 4 inches of rain and a long, boring day of wind.  The cats thought it was great because we brought all the patio furniture inside, giving them ample new places to hide.  Gosh they look small out on the empty porch… The doves didn’t understand why the bird feeders were gone, either.  This dove kept landing on the empty post where my tray feeder usually resides.  I guess I was supposed to serve Birdy Breakfast on Friday morning, winds or no winds! Today was a beautiful clear day, perfect for yard clean-up.  Don’t worry, all the bird feeders are cleaned, restocked, and back outside! We hope everyone else came through the storm ok.

Backyard photography

Bow Tie is Back!

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Bow Tie

Our neighborhood Yellow-throated Warbler is back!  We call him Bow Tie because his black and white colors remind me of a tuxedo, and his bright yellow tummy is his bow tie.  We’ve seen him for the past couple of winters.  He’s one of my regular suet customers, although my first shot of him this year was on my mixed seed feeder.  He comes in and eats when the Cardinals and House Finches take a break from the food.  Poor little Bow Tie always gets shoved away when the bigger birds are around. I’m pretty sure he’s the same bird from year to year.  He’s not banded, so I can’t know for sure, but what other bird does this on my window every morning? :) The cats love it when Bow Tie is around.  They hear him tapping and go running to see him at the window. We’ve had fewer birds than usual this winter.  Previously we’d get huge flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds.  This year we haven’t seen the first flock.  Occasionally I’ll see one or two Red-wings.  The yard is surprisingly quiet.  The birds we see the most are the Mourning Doves.  They love my new feeder […]

Backyard photography

Ornithology 101

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This is a special guest post by our cat Goldilocks.  We call Goldy our resident ornithologist.  She spends most of her days at our windows, watching outside to see the birds there.  When she was younger, a call of “bird bird bird!” from anywhere in the house would bring her running.  Now she is training our kitten Whiskey in the beginnings of bird-watching… Now, Whiskey, stop chasing after kitten toys and come sit in the window with me.  The outside world is full of wondrous things, like dragonflies and insects and birds.  The birds are the best. Now the ones on the ground are called doves.  They don’t move much.  Be careful not to disturb them by moving too quickly in our window.  They are very skittish!  They like to eat the seed on the ground.  They’re not the greatest fliers…their wings rub together as they fly, and it sounds like they are saying “look out below!” The big red ones are called cardinals.  They make nests in our neighborhood, so we get to see babies a couple times a year.  The bright red ones are the boys, the lighter red ones with bright beaks are the girls, and the […]

Backyard photography

Happy Doves

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The Mourning Doves love this time of year. Very few other birds compete with them to access the birdseed in my feeders! My backyard flower beds are full of tall Mexican sunflowers in bloom right now. You can see some of them in the background of this picture:

Backyard photography

Mourning Dove Family

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It was well past sunset a few nights ago when Rich and I came across this little family of Mourning Doves down the street. The parents were feeding their baby, who looked like a recent fledgling. The baby was fun to watch as he flapped his wings and stuck his beak up Mom’s throat. After watching wading birds at rookeries this spring, it was a little different to see how birds with shorter necks feed. There isn’t nearly as much head-bobbing or flailing. Baby ran back and forth between Mom and Dad, getting food from both of them. Then the parents flew away, and Baby followed. A nice end to our evening walk!

Backyard photography

Such a Tame Dove

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An incredibly tame dove found the extra birdseed under my seed cake feeder tonight.  I wonder if she’s the baby dove that we saw a few weeks ago in a nest at Ian’s house?  I know Mourning Doves are common, but this bird intrigued me.  She let me crouch down and use my 70-200mm lens to get eye-level shots of her.  I wish the rain lily hadn’t been in the way.  Rich found me stretched out on the grass, and decided that this was more supporting evidence in the case for “Jess is going crazy”.  Squirt, on the other paw, was happy to stay out on the porch for longer while I photographed!  

Backyard photography

Silly Doves

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We came across two Mourning Doves on our walk tonight.  One was bigger, seemed wary of us, and flew off as we approached (“look out below!!”)  The other was smaller, and he sat watching as I squatted down to take his picture.  I wonder if he’s a relatively young dove.  He wasn’t bothered by our presence at all.  I know these birds are common, but they are pretty in their own way.

Backyard photography

Our Newest Neighbor

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Ian introduced us to our newest neighbor tonight.  The Mourning Dove nest at Kathy and Sean’s has hatched and there is a small baby on the nest.  Rich and I wonder how the mother manages to come and go from the nest to bring it food, without knocking the poor little guy out of the nest!  Mourning Doves are not exactly known for their agility. I wonder how long it will take Baby Dove to meet Baby Mockingbird?  I’ve seen the baby mockingbird for three nights straight now.  It’s easy to find them before they learn how to fly!