Woodpecker Warfare

My backyard has become a battlefield!
The Mockingbirds are attacking the Crows; the Blue Jays are harassing one another; and the Robins are constantly perched in fighter pilot poses, ready to strike down any invader who happens to enter their no fly zone!

But the biggest battles are taking place between the Red-headed and the Red-bellied Woodpeckers, as each seems determined to lay claim to the frequently fought over Bark Butter branch.

If the Red-bellied arrives, and the Red-headed happens to not be around, he will land on the branch, look about, and then quickly gobble up some food, all the while staying alert to a possible oncoming attack.

The scene is the same if the Red-headed happens to get there first – land, look about, and then furtively eat with a high degree of awareness.

The Red-bellied is usually the one who gets knocked off the branch, so he has learned to land in battle stance.

The other day, the following three pictures took place in a matter of seconds, as the Red-bellied landed and then was promptly displaced by the Red-headed.

You can see why neither can let their guard down!

The Red-headed fellow seems to be more of the aggressor.  I wonder if he is the reason that this Red-bellied’s beak is looking a little worse for the wear.

I do have to hand it to the Red-bellied bird (kind of funny name since his belly has only a hint of red!) as he has taken to trying a different tactic.  Now he pops his head over the deck rail and quickly grabs a peanut.  Perhaps he thinks it prudent to surrender sole claim to the Bark Butter branch.

I know they’re not fond of one another, but I find them both irresistible.

I’d like to think they’d stop this family feud, but I’m not getting my hopes up; I’m pretty sure they will be aggressively defending their territory until their little ones have hatched and moved on.  I guess all I can do is accept the Woodpecker warfare and enjoy watching these beautiful birds as they battle!

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You Can Call Me Flower If You Want To

Yesterday was a dreary, drizzly kind of day, but in the late afternoon the clouds parted and the sun popped out in all its brilliance.  This pinkish-purple Peony looked so vibrant, still dripping with raindrops, that I had to grab my camera and snap a photo or two.

As I was busy taking Peony pictures, I saw (or rather heard) this baby Mockingbird nestled in the Cyprus.  He seemed like he was begging to have his picture taken (although he was probably begging for more of the Bark Butter that his parents have been busy delivering all week!) and as I shifted my focus from the flower to this little fellow, the classic line from Bambi floated through my head – “You can call me flower if you want to.”

I didn’t stick around long, as Mama seemed agitated by my getting too close to junior and I didn’t want to be the recipient of her anger; I’ve witnessed first hand how she can peck the heck out of a crow!  So I fired off a few quick shots and then left them in peace.

It doesn’t look like it will be long before this little one is making visits to the backyard on his own.  Stay tuned for more baby pictures!

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Common Bird, Uncommon Beauty

The Northern Cardinal is a common bird where I live, so common that it is easy to forget how beautiful they are.  Just look at this fellow –

I sometimes wonder what my reaction would be if I was seeing him for the very first time.  A common bird of uncommon beauty!

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No Better Bather

Birds and water are such a fun combination!

The other day this Brown Thrasher showed up and landed on the edge of the birdbath.

He got a couple sips to drink, but he simply couldn’t resist the allure of the water and before long he was splashing away.

Every once in awhile he would hop out and give his feathers a good shake…

…then head right back in for some more drenching.  It seemed like each time he was more exuberant than the time before!

When he was finally finished, he perched on the edge and gave his feathers one last flap and then flew off to a nearby branch to continue his grooming.

There’s really no better bather than the Brown Thrasher – such wild abandon!

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They’re Back!

Did you hear me squeal yesterday afternoon?  Because I did!
I looked out my family room window and saw a bright red head peeking out from the side of the Dogwood.  He flew away when I went out with my camera, but I spread some Bark Butter (aka – bird bait!) and settled in to wait.  It wasn’t long before he (and his lovely mate) got brave enough to investigate.

I’m fairly sure this is the same pair that showed up last April and visited  into the summer months as these birds are known to stay with the same mate and to occupy the same nesting cavity for several years in a row.

I only managed to get clear pictures of one member of the pair yesterday; the other didn’t land close enough for long enough to get a clear shot.  But isn’t he the definition of breathtaking!

I’m sure they will be back before long, as they have re-discovered the food supply.

So…if you can’t find me, odds are good I’ll be camped out with my camera waiting for these two Red-headed Woodpeckers to bless me with another photo opp.
The joys of being a backyard bird nerd!

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The Hope of Easter

“I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”
John 11:25

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Trying a New Technique

Today I decided to try a new technique while I was outside taking pictures, basically just experimenting with a different metering mode. I wanted to see if I could get the details of the birds to pop a wee bit more.  May I just say that one bird in particular was more than happy to pose while I played with the camera settings.

It wasn’t the American Robin…

It wasn’t the Pine Warbler…

It wasn’t the Common Grackle…

It wasn’t the Tufted Titmouse…

It wasn’t the Red-bellied Woodpecker…

It wasn’t the Eastern Bluebird…

It wasn’t the Red-winged Blackbird…

And it wasn’t the White-breasted Nuthatch.

I actually do think I see a little more clarity in both the color and the details, but I’ll probably need to test it out some more to know for sure.  And I think I know who will be more than happy to help me out…

Pretty sure my Blue Jays come bearing a sign: Will pose for peanuts!

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