In addition to Northern Cardinals, other regular birds at our bird feeder include Carolina Chickadees and two kinds of Woodpeckers. On the same cloudy days that brightly lit the cardinals, I was able to get several good shots of these other birds.
One more photo taken on January 1st, 2019.
Like others on WordPress, I have been going through photos taken in 2016 to see whether some of them could be displayed here. Several are shown below, and others will probably follow in the last three days of this year. As you can tell, there is no rhyme or reason to the order of these images.
Gluttony is the third deadly sin, but that’s for humans. Blue Jays don’t care, they practice gluttony with abandon, as evidenced by the way they swoop down on the peanuts I put out for the birds.
Most birds take one then fly away. Not Blue Jays.
There was an older Blue Jay, who began by scaring away everyone else.
In the meantime, the Red-bellied Woodpecker was the model of bird table manners.
The blizzard of 2016, Jonas, turned out to be one for the records. The amount of snow dumped on our region approached or even exceeded all-time records dating back to the 19th century. I did not measure it at our house, but it took us three and a half hours to clear our driveway, even with a snowblower and three of us working.
Here are a few photos of some of the birds that came to our backyard during the blizzard, with all photos taken through the patio glass door, not an optimal setting.
Finally, another shot of that cute Blue Jay.
Another cold day –so what else is new this winter?– and we got a visit from at least half a dozen starlings. They suddenly appeared and mobbed the bird feeder, sending the other birds fleeing, except for our female Red-bellied Woodpecker which usually yields to no one.
Starlings are larger than our usual guests. When more than two of them perched on the bird feeder, their combined weight closed the feeding holes. They still tried to get at the seeds, but eventually most gave up and left. Only one remained to keep company with our Red-bellied Woodpecker.
The last one eventually left. Total time these Starlings stuck around: 2 minutes.
It warmed up to a few degrees before freezing for one day, before dipping again. For some unknown reason, the birds all went away when it got warmer, then came back yesterday.
When they came back, the male and female Red-bellied Woodpeckers took turns at the the bird feeder. Only once, for less than a second, were they perched side by side, but I wasn’t fast enough to get that shot.
Yesterday, while snow was coming down, the female Red-Bellied Woodpecker finally perched on a magnolia branch for a few minutes, looking around to see where the male was.
I took that opportunity to shoot this entry to the rule-of-thirds challenge: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/rule-of-thirds/
Here’s another shot that I took for the banner image of this post. This one does not follow the rule of thirds.
Yesterday was a cold but sunny day, with good light for photos. A pair of Red-Bellied Woodpeckers took turns coming to the bird feeder, and I tried to photograph them flying. I was not successful because they were too fast, but I will keep trying! In the meantime, here are some of yesterday’s shots.
Cardinals, due to their colors and shapes, are arguably the favorite backyard birds of many of us. Yesterday was a cold and very windy day with a bit of snow, which may explain why we had so many of them come to our bird feeder. At one time I counted as many as seven, both males and females, and there could have been others unseen as they gleaned sunflower seeds that had fallen to the ground.
Normally, if a male Cardinal is at the feeder, the females keep a respectful distance, waiting until he leaves. He is only deterred by the Red-bellied Woodpecker which is slightly larger.
On the other hand, female cardinals are not averse to fighting others of their kind for a seat.
The Red-bellied Woodpecker is bigger than a Cardinal but smaller than a Blue Jay, yet it manages to bump most other birds off when it comes to our bird feeder.
It has an undulating flight, much like a roller coaster wave, which makes it hard to photograph. I’ve been trying to catch it in my viewfinder as it jumps off an oak branch and dives toward the bird feeder. However, it always comes below my line of sight before coming to a stop in the back of the feeder. After many tries, I was able to more or less capture it in flight in the following photos.
A Nuthatch and Cardinal were perched on our bird feeder.
The Nuthatch made many trips, each time flying away with a sunflower seed.
Next a Downy Woodpecker did the same thing, under the benign eyes of His Eminence.
A Red-Bellied Woodpecker displaced the Cardinal, but that did not seem to bother the Air Woodpecker pilot.
Two days ago, I again hung out our squirrel-proof feeder after I had rebuilt its inside. For two days no bird showed up! It could have been the result of the storm which dumped 5 inches of snow on us. Or did the birds give up on us and moved away?
Today, at about lunch time, I looked out and all the birds were back, from cardinals to woodpeckers. A squirrel also investigated, but gave up in less than a minute.
I know the bird feeder looks “war-ravaged”, but its innards are brand new and work perfectly. After the woodpecker got her seed, she flew to a nearby oak branch to work on it.
Meanwhile, from our yellow magnolia tree, a nuthatch eyed the feeder before flying there for a quick snatch.
A little more than a year ago, I acquired a squirrel-proof bird feeder from a company called Brome. It worked by shutting down the feed holes every time a squirrel climbs on the cardinal ring surrounding the bottom of the feeder. The squirrels launched many attacks against it from every possible direction, in more ways than one can possibly imagine.
Here’s how the bird feeder looked at the beginning of last week. Note that shiny, silvery metal was showing in several places. That’s where the squirrels were trying to bite through metal to get at the seeds, without success.
Last Friday, I came home to find the bird feeder lying on the ground in several pieces. Somehow the squirrels had managed to bring it down, or it could even have been the strong wind we had last week. Anyhow, they promptly ate all the seeds!
I called Brome and they immediately shipped me the internal parts needed to rebuild the feeder. It is now almost rebuilt. The cardinal ring was broken in half and had to be glued back together. I am just waiting for the glue to dry overnight before hanging the feeder outside again.
Another cold day as our bird feeder continues to be the gathering place for our feathered friends: juncos, chicadees, sparrows, tufted titmice, woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays.
Suddenly all the birds flew up and scattered in every direction. A brown shape landed on our yellow magnolia tree. It was a Cooper’s Hawk. This was the first time I have been able to take photos of this bird of prey.
The hawk stayed perched on a magnolia branch, gazing intently at the bird feeder, but all the medium and small birds had flown into hiding. After a couple of minutes, it gave up and flew back into the sky. It wasn’t until about half an hour later that our usual contingent of birds returned to our backyard.
The past few days were the coldest ones of this winter, with temperatures in the twenties or below (around -5 degrees C). The windchill temperatures were worse, forcing many schools to close. I filled up the bird feeder with sunflower seeds and more birds took advantage of it than usual. There must not have been too much for them to eat elsewhere because they emptied half of the large feeder in less than a day.
There was at least one Red-bellied Woodpecker that kept coming to the feeder, and yesterday I was able to finally take some pictures of it. Up until now, it had been a very shy bird and I could never get a good shot of it with my camera.
Every time it snatched a seed, it flew to a nearby tree, inserted the seed in the bark and pecked at it. The following photo shows that behavior, even though I could not get any closer with my lens.
Meanwhile, the Downy Woodpecker also made its appearance. We usually see more of them than of the Red-Bellied kind.