Birds through my Office Window

The leaves are starting to swirl…but there are still enough on the trees to block the view of birds there. I’ve been lucky enough to catch some coming to our deck for seed or water. There was a Blue Jay with a scruffy head; most that I see are better looking. Sometimes the birds come alone…sometimes with buddies. They seem to like investigating the contents of the gutters.

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The Carolina Chickadee was in a rush….I barely got one picture!

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My favorite this month was the White-breasted Nuthatch. The birds seemed to be coming to the feeder very frequently. Did they have a late season nestlings they were feeding? They have such distinctive postures….always seem to move with precision.

The Chipping Sparrows also enjoy the feeder. One small one sat at the feeder looking around and I wondered if it was newly fledged.

The juvenile Red-Bellied Woodpecker is still around too. I’ve seen adults but they tend to be faster moving. The juvenile sits for portraits.

Overall – September was a good month for birds through the office window!

Birding through a Window – February 2019

It’s great to see birds from my office window – I take a little break to observe while staying warm…and I get other things done between sightings.

Some kinds of birds I see every day.

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The Blue Jays generally make a lot of noise, so I notice when they are around. They come for the water in the heated bird bath and then for seed if it’s spilled out from the feeder (the feeder itself does not work for jay-sized birds). Somehow, they always seem to be looking in my direction when I take a picture of them.

The Dark-eyed Juncos are also around every day. They come for the seed and, sometimes, the birdbath.

The Northern Cardinal also is a frequent visitor. We have a resident pair that stays around our area. They made their nest in the bushes in front of our house last season. Sometimes more than the pair are around…but not every day.

Mourning Doves are plentiful. One morning we heard one seemingly very close to our breakfast area door but couldn’t see it. My husband opened the door and it flew from it’s hiding place under the deck railing. These birds are also too big for the feeder, but they enjoy any seed on the ground and the bird bath and just sitting around on the deck railing or the roof of the covered deck.

The Tufted Titmouse makes rapid transits between the feeder or birdbath and the red maple. It must feel safer in the maple. We have at least one pair, and maybe more, that frequent our deck.

The Carolina Chickadees are very similar to the titmice in that they don’t linger on the deck. They prefer to get seed and take it back to the maple.

This year we have more American Gold Finches coming to the feeder. In previous years we’ve had more House Finches but I’ve only seen one this year and I didn’t get a picture.

And there are birds I don’t see as frequently.

One American Robin came to the bird bath – and I got a picture. There will be a lot more of them around soon.

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Sometimes we have Northern Flickers visit – usually as a pair. They like the heated bird bath in very cold weather. The area under the pines appears to be a good place for them to find insects.

The Downy Woodpecker returns again and again to some damaged branches not that far from my window. I’ve seen a male and female…only got pictures of the female this month.

European Starlings are not an everyday occurrence in our yard. There must be better food sources for them elsewhere. That’s probably a good thing.

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We have a White-Breasted Nuthatch that comes to our feeder occasionally. It moves very quickly and goes back to the forest.

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There are birds that I remember seeing but didn’t manage to photograph this month: Red-winged blackbirds, Turkey vultures, Black Vultures, Pileated woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, and House sparrow. Overall – not a bad month for birding through window.

Birding through a Window – February 2018

I’ve posted many of my bird pictures for the month already (bluebirds bathingbefore (woodpeckers) and after the Great Backyard Bird Count) so this post will have the ‘best of the rest.’ There were birds that just come to the birdbath – like the blue jays (we have a small flock that makes the rounds in our neighborhood most days with a stop at our bird bath…one bird at a time)

And the flickers (sporadically).

Sometimes the little birds visit the bird bath together. I managed to photograph a chickadee, goldfinch, and nuthatch together. It’s interesting to see how chunky the nuthatch is compared to the other two birds.

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I saw the nuthatch and chickadee several times during the month…but didn’t get any more worthwhile pictures. The goldfinches comes to the feeder and bird bath more frequently. They are still in their winter plumage…I keep looking for the more brilliant yellow feathers to appear.

At the bird feeder – a house finch and downy woodpecker shared for a few seconds. The woodpecker is a little bigger than the finch…but they both are light enough that their combined weight does not pull down the metal ‘flowers’ to cover the seed holes (the squirrel proofing of the feeder).

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The house finches are probably the most frequent visitors to the feeder. We have a resident group that makes rounds in our neighborhood.

The resident cardinal pair prefers seed on the ground but has developed a technique to flutter near the feeder and get seed when there is not enough scattered around underneath.

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A mockingbird came to the bird bath recently….which is unusual for us. They are around our neighborhood (I hear them and see them) but we haven’t had one that frequents our deck…maybe this one will stick around.

Skunk Cabbage

Last week I hiked down to the marshy area where the skunk cabbage usually grows at Howard County Conservancy’s Mt. Pleasant Farm – and it was already coming up out of the muck. There were no blooms yet; those will be left for February. I used the zoom to get pictures since the area was muddy both from rain the previous day and the usual water from the small spring. It was warm enough that there was no ice in the area where the skunk cabbage was sprouting.

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In other areas there was more ice – further from the spring (the water that emerges from the ground must be a little warmer) or where ice got thicker when the temperature was very low and it takes longer to thaw. It wasn’t freezing on the day I was hiking so part of the stream that has accumulated more water and the flowing more rapidly was entirely melted.

Other highlights from the leisurely hike: the stump for the elementary school hiking groups to climb and count tree rings is surviving the winter…will still be good for the spring field trips,

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Shelf fungus group just about everywhere – even on stumps of invasive trees (these were probably Callery pear).

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The bird feeders in the Honors Garden were active: nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, and goldfinches beginning to get their spring plumage were the ones I managed to photograph.