Saturday, August 01, 2015

Backyard Birding

Male Blue Jay keeping an eye on American Tree Sparrow. (7/30/15)
I spend many hours a day during the summer watching the aviary (and rabbit) activity in our backyard from either the large windows in the kitchen or from our recently reconstructed open back porch. My wife, who is much more observant (and knowledgeable of bird-types), will often call me to the window if I am elsewhere in the house to tell me that "there is a Gold Finch on the feeder!" or "the rabbits are playing in the backyard!" Contrary to popular misinformation, despite living in a city, there is quite a bit of beauty to observe in the natural world daily. You do, however, need to look for it.

Blue Jays and squirrel vie for position. (7/30/15)
Over the course of the past week or so, I am happy to report a slight uptick in activity around our backyard bird feeders, of which we have three: one cylindrical feeder with traditional variety mix of seed, a second smaller cylinder with Nyjer seed and a third suet feeder. While a personal goal is to lure the more "exotic" (i.e. colorful) birds into range of my shaky lens, it is quite relaxing to observe any birds (yes, even the Sparrow mobs) stop by to interact with one another and the environment.

Female Northern Cardinal glides past squirrel on way to feeder. (7/22/15)
The uppity recreational backyard birder in me would LOVE to see more Woodpeckers and Gold Finches, but the truth is that all birds "gotta eat." As much as I love seeing rabbits in the yard (and they are often within the field of vision of the frames shared here), it would be unfair for me to begrudge the squirrels their due too. This of course, doesn't deter me from attempting to minimize their gorging by using peppered feed and suet (which works better than you'd expect).

Tree Sparrow rests amid conifer branches. (7/23/15)
Downy Woodpecker makes an appearance! (7/31/15)
Downy Woodpecker observes... (7/31/15)
... a mob of gorging Tree Sparrows, which chase him 
from the feeder! (7/31/15)
Male (upper) and Female (lower) Northern Cardinals assess the situation 
from electrical wires. (7/22/15)
Common Male Grackle stops by for a set. (7/17/15)
Female Northern Cardinal, striking in a subdued, earthy way. (7/22/15)
From coloring to call, nothing subtle about the Male Northern Cardinal.(7/22/15)
Gray Catbird--the angler minimizes the generally longer , 
narrow beak.(7/25/15)
The ubiquitous but sharp American Robin. (7/22/15)
Omnipresent visitors: Tree Sparrows and squirrels. (7/22/15)
In a few short weeks, I will return to coaching and school, and with the change of scenery will come a shift in lens. Rather than staring out into our backyard, I will have the parks the girls team and I train at, as well as the courtyard my second-floor classroom window looks out into. There I will attempt to sneak peaks into the trees during the day. Whether at home or t school I look very forward to catching a glimpse of an uncommonly, beautiful bird or the beautiful in the common bird.

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