Fluffy Flirtatiousness

This cute little Titmouse was very attentive to a second Titmouse that was perched the next tree over.

He seemed to be doing his best to impress her – first trying the fluffy feather approach…

…and then striking an oh so flirtatious pose.

He was definitely keeping a close eye on her, and followed her in full pursuit when she flew off.

It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if their are tiny titmice flitting about the backyard in the near future!

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Middle School Mentality

When I was in middle school (or junior high, as it was called back then) our cafeteria used to sell packets that contained two large chocolate chip cookies – a favorite of most everyone in the lunchroom.  Without fail, as soon as someone arrived at the table with one of the coveted packets in hand, others would begin begging for a bite.  In an effort to silence these requests, some students would remove the cookies from the wrapper and promptly lick them on both sides, thus securing for themselves sole ownership.

Well, I believe the Mockingbird that has been visiting my backyard has a similar mentality when it comes to the Bark Butter branch.  Although I haven’t seen him lick it (yet!) I have seen him simply stand in the middle of the coveted spread, thus proclaiming it as his personal possession.

After facing one direction, he will turn his bossy self around and ward off any potential partakers from the other direction.

Back and forth he turns, even giving me a bit of an evil eye.

Occasionally he pauses to grab a quick nibble…

…and then it’s back to guarding his food from intruders.

Yep…pretty sure this fellow would have fit in just fine in middle school!

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Good to the Last Drip

I had just finished refreshing the water dish when this handsome male Pine Warbler dropped in for a drink.

I’m pretty sure if he could use words instead of warbles he would say it was good to the last drip!

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Last Waxwings of Winter

I was walking through my kitchen the other day and happened to glance out the window just in time to see several birds swoop in and land in the backyard branches.  Sure enough, a handful of Cedar Waxwings had descended to soak in the sun.

Of course, as soon as I saw them my mind immediately forgot what I was suppose to be doing (I later remembered to feed the dogs their dinner!) and I quickly reached for the camera. After all, this might be the last chance of the winter to take Waxwing pictures.

The air was downright chilly, and a couple of them poofed themselves up for added insulation, making them look like fat little feather balls.

I think one of the reasons I love Waxwings so much, besides their bandit-style beauty, is because they seem to get along with each other so well.  They tend to show up in a large group (which is called an “ear-full” or a “museum”, by the way) and yet I’ve never seen them fussing or fighting with one another.  They share a sweet sense of community.

Waxwings are prolific berry eaters and can strip a tree clean before you know it.  On occasion, they have been known for “FWI” (yep – flying while intoxicated!) because they chose to eat fermented berries!

I forgot to mention in my last post that my daughter and I brought home a souvenir from our mother-daughter get away – a jeep covered in Waxwing poop!  We made the mistake of parking under some sort of berry tree on our last stop of the journey and Earl ended up a speckled mess.  We tried to stop at a gas station and clean the windshield, but all the squeegees were frozen!  Ah well…I guess prolific berry eaters would have to also be prolific poopers!

I hope these birds keep showing up as spring rolls around, but just in case they leave with the season, here’s one last picture from winter. 🙂


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Adventures In Earl: Last Sleet of the Season

My daughter and I spent the last two days hiking in the North Georgia Mountains.  We had to laugh when the near 70 degree weather we had been enjoying dipped into sub freezing temperatures just in time for our departure.  Ah well, we put on our layers, loaded up Earl, and figured that the weird weather would just add to the fun!

Our first stop was a quick visit to Cane Creek Falls.  It was grey, cold and drizzly – but at least we had the place to ourselves!

Next we ventured to Dicks Creek Falls and…once again…we had the place to ourselves. Go figure! The falls were far lovelier than the photos portray; it was hard to capture their vibrancy since at this point the clouds were now dropping sleet and snow upon us.

Later in the afternoon, we meandered along one of the mountain trails.  By this time our brains were fairly frozen…here is a “selfie” (neither of us knows how to take these!) that shows us looking like a couple of crazed hikers.

On several occasions the sleet was too heavy to bring my camera.  It will come as no surprise that it was on one of those occasions that we saw at least a dozen Ruby-crowned Kinglets flitting about us, displaying their crowns as they ate berries from a tree that I didn’t recognize.  These Kinglets were triple the size of the ones in my backyard, so we labeled that path “The Trail of the Rotund Royalty.” Another time we stood mesmerized for about ten minutes  watching a stunning Pileated Woodpecker who was ferociously pecking at a dead tree. He was so close and we had such a good view of him, but alas, I have no picture proof so you will just have to take my word for it!

As we were getting ready to pitch our tent for the night (okay, as we were heading into our room at the lodge!) the view of the mountains was poetic.

And here we are one last time before we turned up the heat in our room, put on our pj’s, and read our books while watching Chopped.

Memories like these are priceless. 🙂

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Sinister and Sleek

Whether you call it a sinister stare

Or label it more of an ominous glare

One thing’s for sure, he’s in no mood to share.

Although the Grackle can at times appear more than a bit menacing…

…there’s no denying that his sleek, shiny feathers make him a handsome fellow!

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My Favorite Shade Of Blue

When I was a kid, I love love loved the Crayola 64 pack of crayons – the one with the built in sharpener on the back!  I can still remember some of the original shades of blue: turquoise, sky blue, cornflower, aquamarine, midnight blue…yet despite my affection for this selection, they were missing my favorite shade of blue…which might best be called “mating season male bluebird blue.”

This fellow has been showing up for the past several weeks, with his feathers looking their absolute finest.

Mating season is upon us, and he has been doing all he can think of to capture the attention of one particular female.  He has serenaded her with sweet, warbly songs that he sings without even opening his beak.

He has brought her gifts of food.

And he has done a funny little dance where he twirls first one wing in a circle…

…and then twirls his other wing in a circle.  It is cute and comical at the same time!

He seems to be getting rather agitated, which makes me suspect that she has not yet surrendered her feminine favors.  Still, I have a feeling she will soon acquiesce; I mean, not only is he handsome, but he also seems the reflective sort…

…the kind prone to striking pensive poses.

I mean, just look at this fellow!  Have you ever seen such a bold, beautiful shade of blue?
I think Crayola might have missed the mark on this one!

I understand that “mating season male bluebird blue” might have been a bit too long to fit on the label, but they could have opted for “woo-the-woman blue” or “bye bye bachelorhood blue.”  They really may want to consider this for a future color – I’m just sayin’!

Oh…and if you ever want to get me a gift…the 64 pack would still make me smile!

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