Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's All About the Birds.....

- Cold and clear today after recent snow....2-3" in most areas of The Cumberland Plateau, a bit more in other places, like my back yard.
- This change of weather and the snow cover certainly stimulated bird behavior....throughout the day yesterday. While most folks were slipping and sliding and wondering why a measurable snowfall had occurred so early this year, I spent most of the day with a camera, watching my feeding stations. I was rewarded in a big way. So, this one is all about the birds.
Photos......Bottom to Top......
1-2....A Pileated Woodpecker clinging to the bark of a Red Maple near my feeders. Adaptation: it is interesting to note that Woodpeckers have two clawed toes forward/two clawed toes aft.....unlike the perching birds, which have three forward/one aft. Second photo is a rare treat...two adult Pileated Woodpeckers....one seems to prefer suet, the other sunflower seeds.
3- A male Northern Cardinal staring down at an American Crow.
4- Foreground: Male Northern Cardinal ....Background right: Female Northern Cardinal.... Background left: Male Purple Finch
5- The Common Flicker, as taken through my window.......the black V on the upper breast and the red patch at the back of the neck are distinguishing field marks
6- Same bird as # 5, at one of my suet feeders.
7- Striking against the snow....the male Red-Headed Woodpecker. In the foreground is a male Goldfinch, now, in winter, much more drab than the summer plumage of brilliant yellow with black wings.
8- The Slate Colored Junco - seemingly content with its perch on a low limb of a young Norway Spruce....
9- To the left is one of the mainstays of bird feeders all across our area - The Tufted Titmouse. To the right is a male Eastern Towhee....it along with another male and female spent most of the day beneath the young Hemlocks/Spruces scratching in the leaves. Near the end of the day, thanks to the Towhees, there was a semi-circle of brown leaves around some of the trees. Background left is a Downy Woodpecker.
10- Let's give some credit to the smaller, more inconspicuous species that do not get as much notice in this journal....like this House Wren, which appears to be asleep. These energetic birds are fun to watch, and though hard to tell by this photo, they never stay in one place for very long. We also have two close relatives....Bewick's Wren and the Carolina Wren. The latter two, which are often difficult to tell apart, have more facial stripes than the House Wren, and the stripe just above the eye is more white and more broad. All three species nest in this area in the spring.
Enough for now. All this activity was through a 4-hour period...constant traffic to and from...a special day. Other species left out: White-Breasted Nuthatch, Mourning Dove, Carolina Chickadee, Eastern Bluebird, Starling, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, and Song Sparrow.


Blogger Helen said...

Love reading and looking at all your pics.

8:43 AM  

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