Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Backyard Birds

It was pretty chilly this morning (about 9 degrees when I got home from work at 10:45), but the wind wasn't blowing too hard and the sun was shining, so all in all, it was a pretty decent morning. (I can always tell when I've finally adjusted to winter when I'm happy about a daytime high in the 20's!)

So I had just gotten home and let Sophie out the back door and was getting ready to fill the birdfeeders when I had a "holy crap" bird moment: A robin in the backyard! Some of you may already know that I'm hyper aware of bird calls and when I heard that robin's chirp, I said to myself, "Holy crap, that's a robin!" and then I saw it fly away from one of the apple trees. I know some really hardy robins spend their winters in Minnesota, but I've never seen them in my backyard on December 29th! I ran in the house for the camera, but the robin was already gone. Oh well, as long as I had the camera out, I decided to take some more backyard bird pictures to add to the ones that I've been saving for the last couple weeks and I'll inundate you with bird photos today.

I have a bunch of little house finches hanging around again (no purple finches though). This old stump is a great birdfeeder in the wintertime.

The American Tree Sparrows started showing up in the backyard about 10 days ago. They're so cute that I had to take pictures of 2 different ones!

I really like their little two-colored beaks and watching them hop backwards when they're looking for seeds! I'm always amazed by such tough little birds like these guys and the juncos who call Minnesota their "southern" home for the winter!

Since the snow, I'm starting to see more of the goldfinches back at my birdfeeders again too. No Pine Siskens or Common Redpolls yet though.

Last Sunday morning I was amazed to see a Common Grackle at the backyard feeder.

And then I was even MORE amazed to see two! There was still one here yesterday, but haven't seen any today. I'm really hoping they stay around at least through the weekend so I can count them for my Project FeederWatch and one of my birding buddies has a chance to count them on his New Year's Big Day bird count.

About a week before Christmas when we still had some mild weather, there was a flock of Cedar Waxwings in the backyard cleaning off my crabapple trees one morning. I was lucky enough to capture this shot of a pretty little juvenile Cedar Waxwing who landed on the deck railing on her way to the birdbath. It looks as though the bird is looking at me through the window, but I think she's actually scoping out the birdbath on the deck just below her. Regardless, I loved the fact that I can see one of the little red "waxy" red feather tips on her wing. Cedar Waxwings are one of my favorite birds!

I think I posted this picture for Christmas, but you'll see it here again just because it's one of the best cardinal pictures I've ever taken. It really looks fabulous as my desktop wallpaper too! We've got bunches of cardinals in the backyard again this winter. Late in the afternoon, it's not unusual to see up to 15 total at the different birdfeeders around the house!

Silly Corvids.......Suet is for woodpeckers!

Hope you're all enjoying winter and seeing some good birds in your backyard too.


eileeninmd said...

Great yardbirds, I would love to see the Waxwing more often aqnd a Tree Sparrow. Love the Cardinal, very pretty.
I enjoyed your photos.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Eileen!

Richard said...

You can add my one Grackle to your count and might as well add the one Starling also.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

That is one grumpy looking cedar waxwing. Great birds in your garden. That is another good thing about snow.

Mama Pea said...

Bunches of cardinals! Holy Cow, we'll never see that up here in NE Minnesota . . . but we still have our one pair that has been with us for three years now year 'round. And we're very happy to have them stay with us.

We saw our Pileated Woodpecker today for the first time this winter. Did not see hide nor hair of him (I think it's a "her" actually) all summer long. He/she must be living in our woods somewhere.

Thanks for all the great bird pictures, Ruthie.

RuthieJ said...

Only 1 starling Richard? My flock here seems to be growing for winter again, so just say the word and I'll send some your way!

Hi Lisa,
I think that Cedar Waxwing didn't appreciate the paparazzi! And you're right, the bird activity definitely increases with snow too.

Hi Mama Pea,
I'm still amazed when I hear of cardinals so far north in the state. It's good that you're feeding them. Haven't seen a pileated in my yard for at least 9 years, but I'm always hopeful. That would be even better than 15 cardinals!

Mary said...

Whatever you do, you do it right. You get the birds! I have Common Grackles in the spring and I really don't mind them although they tend to bully a bit. Aren't they striking?

9 degrees. In all my years in the mid-atlantic region, I remember being below 10 degrees maybe a dozen times each winter. I guess you are used to it.

Here in Charlotte, we are expecting much lower than normal temps this winter and we might not get above freezing in the next two weeks! I'll need to get my hair and gloves from storage! LOL!

Didn't mean to ramble on so... I just admire your backyard so much, Ruthie.

Happy New Year!

Kelly said...

Love your backyard birds. I've done a lot of birding in my back yard over the holidays. It makes me happy to just look out and see them. Our Tree Sparrows have not yet arrived. Temps are in the teens now, so maybe that will push them down. I miss them. They are one of my favorite winter birds. Happy, happy New Year--and happy birding too!

Anonymous said...

So much going on in your backyard!

I think I like this cardinal picture even better than your earlier one. It's Christmas card-worthy for sure!

Mary's right--it's plenty cold here in Charlotte. We don't need no stinkin' single digit weather. :)

Happy New Year to you and Mr. J!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mare,
Rambling is always encouraged - don't feel bad about that! I thought it was funny that I was so excited about Grackles in December, but April thru July I hate them!
I hope your cold weather doesn't last.

Happy New Year to you also Kelly. Hope you stay warm and enjoy watching your birds.

Happy New Year to you Mary Lee. Hope the single digit temps stay north of you too.