Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Return of the Painted Buntings

I'm so happy that the Painted Buntings have returned to the yard.  I am not so happy however, with my photography skills of late!  I haven't used my Nikon all summer and it obviously shows!  Well, I'll keep practising and while doing so, hopefully discover some new birds in the yard this winter.  We get a lot of species passing through on their way farther south and it's always fun to see something different!

He just loves the white millet!  Last year I found a huge bag of all white millet at the Big Lots store, for only $7 which is a great price for such a big bag.  And it wasn't expired or damaged in any way.  Hope I can find it again this year.  I usually buy a small bag of mixed seeds with the first ingredient of white millet and it costs almost $10.  So.....here's hoping!

What a festival of colors!  Love these little birds so much!  And they sing beautifully too!  If you're in the area of Corkscrew Swamp near Naples, Florida, they have feeders out front during the fall and winter and they regularly get lots of Painted Buntings.

The Catbird has arrived for the season as well.  This is another of my favorite birds to visit the yard.  They make the most delightful noise.  Well.....some may not think it's delightful.  We have nicked-named him the "Roger Bird" because one of the sounds that he makes mimics the Roger the alien character on the TV show American Dad - one episode where he makes a very annoying whining sound.  And in case you watch that show its the episode where Jeff and Haley escape with Stans money and Roger follows them.   OKAY - anyway, sorry about that if you're not familiar, you've just been completely bored and probably a bit annoyed.

The Mourning Doves are always around, but in the winter the gang increases and there's usually numbers in the teens that hang around the yard.  They know where a good meal is to be found.  I love their beautiful voices - and always welcome them to visit.

These little guys are very hard to capture with the camera.  They flit around and zoom in and out of the branches.  And they're confusing to identify - at least for me.  I have no idea what this is.  I looked in my book and figure it's either a warbler or a vireo.  And of course, if it's a female or an immature bird, that makes it even harder to ID.  I'm leaning toward Philadelphia Vireo or a Tennessee Warbler - but honestly, I'm just guessing.  Let me know if you have any ideas, thanks!  UPDATE:  I truly don't know how I missed this as being the Yellow Rumped Warbler aka Butter Butt!  It's the most common warbler in my area - guess I had a 'momentary lapse of reason'...and since I'm quoting Pink Floyd - I'll just mention that their latest album is now out - Hurray!

Here's a recent photo of my friend Chirpy the Cardinal.  He still comes to the breakfast nook window every day to chirp for seed.  I then take out a scoop and he flies over to the ficus hedge and sits either on a branch or on my hand and eats sunflower seeds from the seed scoop.  I'm still amazed every day that he does this.  It's been almost two years he's been coming to visit and he sometimes brings his wife or one of the kids with him, but they are more wary and stay in the background.  Now, please know that I see him hunting in the yard all the time and I've seen one of his male offspring doing the same.  I was worried at first he might get dependent upon my feeding him, but he takes out a dragonfly like a pro.  (Poor dragonfly).

Here is Chirpys wife, Mrs. C.  She is quite timid, but she does sometimes stay nearby Chirps when he visits.  I'll go days without seeing her and worry a bit, but then suddenly I start seeing the kids and know she's busy being a mom.  They've had three broods since Chirpy started visiting.  It's fun to watch them grow up.

The Red Shouldered Hawk is around a lot.  What a beauty!  They get screeching and wow, it's so loud -  I love it!  We have tons of screeching birds in the backyard.  We live next to a huge preserve and it is extremely active.  I've been hearing the Great Horned Owl at night lately.  Love that!

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