Thursday, April 8, 2010

Project FeederWatch Season Concludes

April 9th marks the conclusion of the 2009-2010 Project FeederWatch season. I haven't been very faithful in my FeederWatch activities for the past few weeks, but decided since I was off work yesterday I would make an effort to watch for and document the birds visiting my backyard birdfeeders. I even filled the peanut feeder for my bluejays who rewarded me with their presence less than a minute after I'd hung the peanut wreath back outside. I know there are some people out there who like bluejays as much as I do, so enjoy these photos!

One of my fondest wishes would be to have a bluejay take peanuts from my hand, but my bluejays are much too shy for that. I even have to be careful to avoid any sudden movements near the window when I'm taking pictures from inside the house.

Although I'm not a fan of the Common Grackle, they find my backyard habitat and food offerings particularly appealing, so unless I stop filling my birdfeeders and cut down all the evergreen trees, I just try to tolerate them for a few months. If nothing else, they're interesting to watch.
And I'm always on the lookout for something unusual to show up, like a Rusty Blackbird or Brewer's Blackbird. The blackbird on the right side of this tray was a little bit different looking than the others on the feeder at the same time, but I think it was either a late juvenile or maybe a "bronzed" Common Grackle. And as much as I hate to admit it, the iridescence of their feathers is really quite beautiful.

Cardinals continue to visit the feeders throughout the day. I haven't noticed any males and females paired up yet and there still appears to be quite a lot of territorial battles taking place among the males. Fortunately (for me and my camera), this handsome male was able to enjoy a few minutes of peaceful dining at the feeder outside my dining room window.

I haven't had a chance to clean out my little backyard pond yet, but the leaves and debris still in the pond doesn't seem to bother the birds. I was delighted to see Mrs. Bluebird stop by for a visit to the pond (apparently she hasn't noticed the 6 other clean birdbaths strategically located throughout the backyard!)

The nice thing about the long FeederWatch season is that there is usually some overlapping between the winter and summer birdie visitors. I saw the little Red-Breasted Nuthatch at my feeder yesterday morning and still have a few Dark-Eyed Juncos hanging around too.

Red-Winged Blackbird is also a summer bird for us here in Minnesota. I previously recorded my first one for Project FeederWatch on March 10th. I usually think of them as grassland and wetland birds, so I'm always happy to have them come to the birdfeeders close to the house. I never get tired of hearing their pretty call and seeing that showy patch of color on the male's wings.

The Goldfinches are really starting to show their summer colors again now. He's especially beautiful in the sunshine, don't you think?

When I was editing the pictures for this post, I found this one I had taken last week when we were out looking for ducks at the reservoir. There was a Bald Eagle across the lake that had just caught and was eating this huge fish! We could see through the spotting scope that the fish was still alive and squirming around, so the eagle was really having to hold on tight to the fish and the branch at the same time. It was really neat to see this and the eagle managed to eat that entire fish in about 10 minutes.


Cathy said...

Oh maaaaan . . . I was gonna post pictures like this but yours are soooo much better ;-D

Good job, Ruthie!

Don't you love the pluck of jays?!

Richard said...

I'll trade you 10 RWB's for 1 BB. What a deal!!!

Mama Pea said...

Your pictures of all the different birds are fantastic as usual, Ruthie. What a haven you provide for them all.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

If you give Richard a Bluebird, I WANT A BLUEBIRD!!!

I rarely see them in town and never in my yard.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Great photos. I think your goldfinches are more yellow than ours.

Gaelyn said...

I think the Jays are beautiful with that checkered backside. Our scrub jays are nearly as deep a blue. So fun to find time to watch the birds. It's been a while for me. But the best was seeing the Eagle with the fish. Very cool!

Anonymous said...

The last few days I haven't had a lot of time to watch my birds. I still have rose-breasted nuthatchs, chickadees, lots of finches in various stages of moult and color changing, my 2 pr of cardinals, and lots of juncos. I really like your pictures of what's in your yard. That eagle is one in a million and he sure was hungry.


RuthieJ said...

Thanks Cathy. Glad to know you're a fan of Bluejays too!

Hi Richard,
Throw in a couple Yellow-Headed Blackbirds and then we'll deal!

Thanks Mama Pea. The really cool thing is that all of those pictures (except for the eagle) were from my dining room window!

Hi Lynne,
I'll swap you the bluebird for a screech owl. ;-)

Hi Lisa,
I was surprised to see how yellow the goldfinches seemed to have gotten in just the last week or so.

Thanks Gaelyn. I haven't taken much time to just sit and watch birds lately either, but I'm glad I did this day (got some knitting done at the same time too!)

Hi Mom,
Glad you got a chance to read this post and leave a comment. I will excuse you from commenting since I know you've got much more important things going on with Dad right now and for the next few weeks.

Heather said...

I'm always sad when FeederWatch season comes to an end, but it's probably just as well, b/c I start getting busy with other stuff this time of year anyway. Do you ever do the NestWatch project? I love your Blue Jay photos. We didn't have near the showing of Jays this year like we did last year. Maybe the peanuts weren't fresh enough! I hung out my hummingbird feeder today in hopes of luring in some early migrants! Take care, Ruthie!

Bonnie said...

I have been trying very hard to get a bluebird to my yard. Love the photo of him!

Meggie said...

That is quite an assortment of beautiful birds, Ruthie. Aren't we lucky to have them in our own backyards?

Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL bluebird picture! Do you have any feeder food that they like?

Jayne said...

Love seeing all your spring birds Ruthie! My mom Bluebird is finally incubating her eggs, though she still persists in fighting her shadow in my window occasionally.