“No” to Expectations…”Yes” to Expectancy

When I pick up my camera and head to the backyard, I try not to have expectations. I don’t go out expecting a Red-winged Blackbird to appear and display his epaulets (a fancy word for shoulder patches) or a group of Cedar Waxwings to arrive and splash about in the fountain. If I go out with expectations, I am likely to be disappointed.

But I do go out with a sense of expectancy, ready to receive whatever shows up. I watch and wait and am almost always rewarded. Scratch that – I am always rewarded – because even if no birds show up, the stillness itself is a blessing!

Yesterday, I ventured outside with a sense of expectancy and was not disappointed.

The first to arrive was a handful of bluebirds. One of the males perched on a branch, while another helped himself to a drink of water.



The female bluebird had a bit of a spat with a Downy Woodpecker, but eventually called a truce and agreed to joint occupation of the bark butter log.


This Red-bellied Woodpecker also paid a brief visit. He landed on the limb and quickly surveyed the scene.


Then he scooped up a heaping beakful of food and flew off with the booty.



A White-breasted Nuthatch landed at the water dish on one side of the deck (aren’t his back feathers super cool?)…


while his smaller-sized relative enjoyed a drink on the other side of the deck.


This brown beaked Blue Jay stopped in to search for peanuts…


while this Brown Thrasher (of equally dirty beak) gobbled up some of the food that the Red-bellied left behind.


And amidst the eating and the drinking, a couple of birds took the time to simply pause and pose.

posingrobin posingbluebird

No epaulets or waxwings found their way into the photos, but a bunch of beautiful birds showed up for me to enjoy.

“No” to expectations – “Yes” to expectancy. It’s a good principle for photography and a good principle for life!

10 thoughts on ““No” to Expectations…”Yes” to Expectancy

  1. Hello Kathy,
    Wow, thank you for another amazing series. I agree, a visit to your backyard must be like going on a birding adventure. It’s so exciting for me, to learn about many beautiful birds through your lens. I love your expression “No” to Expectations…”Yes” to Expectancy – I feel the same way too! 🙂
    Have a great week ahead,

  2. What a beautiful assortment of birds in your yard! I’m much further north in Ontario, Canada, but I’m looking forward to spring when some of these birds will return “home”. And your photos are gorgeous, thanks for sharing!

  3. Being newly retirees, we get to spend more time now in the backyard to watch the show ! We have all sorts right now, being in Mass. We have titmouse, robins, sparrows, purple finch, grackles, cowbirds, catbirds, woodpeckers of all sorts, even red bellied, cardinals, chickadees, orioles and blue jays ! Of late we’ve watched new blue jays learning how to make their way around the yard and where ‘their ‘ food is, ( we leave whole peanuts for them ). One in particular took notice of a robin at the bird bath drinking and then taking a bath. Later that morning, we saw what we thought the same blue jay, venturing on its own to take a bath ! We’d never seen that before. And perhaps the same inquisitive jay, watched as many birds were eating suet from the suet cage, then deciding to give that a try ! The Orioles enjoy their meals of grape jelly. After standing and watching this many times, actually took a chance to try it himself ! Now we see one jay eating at the jelly feeder ! That’s a first ever and so exciting to notice that it’s learned behavior of course !

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