Power Outage Pictures

A brief but boisterous storm swept through the area this past weekend, leaving flash flooding, downed trees and a power outage in its wake…which seemed like a perfect picture taking time to me!

As soon as the rain subsided, I filled the feeders and the birds began to arrive.

This bedraggled Blue Jay was the first to drop in and check out the offerings.

A young Thrasher showed up soon after and awkwardly gobbled up Bark Butter…

…while an adult waited in the wings.

My Red-headed Woodpecker couple was quick to show up. I was so hoping they would land together and pose for a shot, but they took turns. He swooped in first and grabbed a peanut from the tray…

…and then she helped herself to some Bark Butter from the branch.

A grey catbird showed up to pose and then grab some grub to go.

My catbird couple has a youngster, but they haven’t let it come to the feeders yet.

A damp-feathered Red-bellied Woodpecker dropped in…

…as did a brilliant male Cardinal.

My favorite visitor of the day was a juvenile male Downy Woodpecker. I’m pretty sure it was his first time venturing forth alone and he acted like he had discovered the land of never-ending delight. It was so fun to watch him explore…

…and discover the peanut pole.

He was such a cutie! You can tell he is a juvenile not just by his behavior, but also because the red patch of feathers is on the top of his head instead of the back of his head.

Picture taking was certainly a lovely way to pass the time during the power outage.

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Backyard Babies

Spring is the season for backyard babies, and the Downy Woodpeckers were the first to bring their little one to the feeders.

Dad had the early feeding duty…

…and later Mom took a turn.

The chickadees were the next to arrive with a demanding youngster.

Several other birds have had babies, but have not yet let them accompany them to the feeders – at least, not when I have been out with a camera.

I’m hoping that Bluebirds will bring their little bundles of joy soon…they are always fun to photograph with their open-beaked, wing-flapping antics.

 

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A Regal Red-head

My Red-headed Woodpecker has returned!

He is always a bit timid whenever he makes his first appearance of the season, hanging out on the trees at the edge of the yard so he can assess the scene.

Eventually, he makes his move to some the branches that hang over the deck…

…cautiously coming closer as he feels less threatened.

Then, once he has deemed me “friend not foe”, he will drop in to partake of peanuts while I am outside with the camera.

Occasionally he even lingers long enough to favor me with a striking pose. Is he not an amazingly beautiful bird!?!

Once my regal Red-head overcomes his timidity he becomes quite territorial. He doesn’t seem to mind the smaller bids joining him in the area, but he lets the Red-bellied Woodpeckers know in no uncertain terms that they are NOT welcome.  These poor guys now need to be hyper-vigilant as they eat, always having an eye to their surroundings lest they get ambushed!

Despite his sometimes bully-ish manners, I find the Red-headed Woodpecker absolutely delightful. He is definitely one of my favorite birds to photograph.

Hopefully, there will be baby Red-heads joining him in the near future!

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The Blue Jay Ballet

In the midst of this quasi-quarantine brought to us courtesy of Corona, many people are missing their preferred entertainment options…movie theaters remain closed, baseball is still postponed, and restaurants are mostly offering curbside cuisine.

But I am blessed that one of my favorite forms of entertainment is found right in my own backyard and is still in full swing. In fact, lately, my Blue Jays have been giving repeat performances of their “Nutpacker” ballet.

These beauties dip and dive, then twist and turn, gracefully (and greedily) packing in the peanuts.

They execute near-perfect pirouettes…

…and if a misstep is made…

…they simply act as if it was always a part of the planned performance!

There is no set schedule for their show, rather, it seems to be an on-demand performance, taking place moments after I fill the feeders.

These ever-so-entertaining birds are always willing to give a curtain call…just replenish the peanuts and then relax and enjoy the show.

Usually, there is a bird or two waiting in the wings for their time to participate. Or perhaps they are just understudies hoping for a chance to perform.

And of course, they are sure to take a bow before departing.

Yes, the Blue Jay ballet is a five star performance for sure!

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Joined By The Juveniles

After the Grosbeak that starred in my previous post fueled up and flew off, another handsome fellow paid a visit to the backyard…

…and this guy brought two juveniles with him, whom we shall call Thing One…

…and Thing Two!

You can see that they are still getting their adult feathers in. For most of their first year these guys look more like their Mama (pictured below) than their Daddy.

This trio stuck around and stocked up on seed for about three days, typically only coming to the feeders in the evening hours when most of the crowd had departed.

Who knows, maybe these youngsters will mark this as a favorite feeding spot and put my backyard buffet on next year’s travel itinerary.

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A Rose-breasted Beauty

Every year, towards the end of April, I start scanning the backyard treetops, hoping for a visit from a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Needless to say, I was thrilled when this fellow dropped in to say hello.

En route to the northern part of the country, these lovely birds often stop for a brief layover in the Atlanta area to get a little R & R – refueling and refreshing! I try to keep my seed trays piled up with sunflower seeds to entice them to treat my backyard as their temporary bed and breakfast.

The Grosbeak is a rather timid bird and is rarely aggressive or overly assertive. When a bossier bird arrives on the scene (think Red-winged Blackbirds and Blue Jays), these guys tend to retreat to the safety of an overhead branch and wait until the coast is a clearer.

Like many of the backyard birds, the Grosbeaks drop down every now and then for a drink from the fountain.

With their bold colors and curious nature, it’s impossible not to fall in love with these beautiful birds!

I wish they were year round residents, but it is always a pleasure to enjoy their brief visit…

…especially when they are willing to pose for a few photos.

 

 

 

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Holly Berry Bandits

Cedar Waxwings are the bird world’s best bandits!


Around the time that my front yard Holly Tree is bursting with berries, these marvelous masked beauties arrive and help themselves to the booty. Since the tree is ginormous, it usually takes them about four days of feasting to strip the tree bare.

The pattern of these “berry-men” (Yes, I am a Robin Hood fan!) is to pillage and plunder and then retreat to the backyard to find a protected place to soak up some sunshine.

Waxwings are highly social and usually hang out as a group…

…often looking like they are enjoying casual conversation with one another.

Because they typically stay in the tree tops, it can be a bit tricky to get a clear shot of them.

Often, just when I think I have one in focus, off he flies!

Along with the plentiful supply of perches, these guys like my backyard because of the water supply. Every now and then one will drop down and take a fountain shower…

…or get a refreshing drink.

They only stick around until the berries are gone and then they move to the next food source, so I was glad to be able to snap a couple of morning shots…

…and a couple where the early evening sun was highlighting their buttery bellies.

These breathtaking bandits are always welcome in my backyard!

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