Sunday, May 22, 2011

I'm so glad it's finally spring

There are some really good reasons for living in Minnesota......winter isn't one of them!
However, once winter finally departs (this year after staying too long!) spring finally arrives and with it come the beautiful birds that we dream about all this Baltimore Oriole

And how about a pair of Indigo Buntings!

There's nothing like the intense colors of the spring and summer migrants arriving in the backyard to make us forget winter nightmares like this.......

.....and enjoy the beauty of male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak with the promise of crabapple blossoms in the background.

Here's a little visitor I usually expect during the winter, but he didn't show up in my backyard until just last week -- the Red-Breasted Nuthatch.

I heard an unusual bird call in the backyard last weekend and finally spotted this Eastern Towhee hanging out with some other ground feeding birds in the backyard. This was a marvelous sighting for me -- haven't seen an Eastern Towhee for at least 10 years and this is a FIRST for my backyard!
It even flew close to the house and perched in the crabapple tree for a few minutes so I was able to snap a photo of him from my patio too!

Last weekend's weather provided some sort of migration fall-out, because in addition to the towhee and red-breasted nuthatch, some Cap May Warblers also showed up and feasted at the suet log.

Did she say Cape May Warblers?? Yes I did! Another first for my backyard PLUS a life bird for me!

What gorgeous little birds! They hung around for several days, flitting in and out of the cage protecting the suet from starlings and then they were gone, no doubt heading to somewhere in northeastern Minnesota.

The brilliant yellow feathers of the goldfinch are always a welcome sign of spring around here too. I started seeing a few yellow feathers on these finches in March, and then it seems like all of a sudden they've all turned completely yellow.

The best surprise of last weekend also hung around for several days. See him in the background there? (hint: that ain't no cardinal!)

OHMIGOSH, IT'S A MALE SCARLET TANAGER! I'm surprised my yelling didn't scare him away!

He loved the grape jelly which the orioles grudgingly allowed him to share.

What a contrast to what I saw on this deck from December until March!

Once the orioles arrived, they were back to stay. Here are the male and female Baltimore Orioles.

The males are not very tolerant of each other's presence at the jelly dishes. Grape jelly has become one of the scarcest items on Rochester's grocery store shelves in the last couple weeks.
Here's a good example of tolerance with an Orchard Oriole enjoying some jelly while the Baltimore Oriole visits the nectar feeder.

I was surprised to see the Orchard Oriole visiting the suet log too. He didn't seem to have any problems getting through the starling-proof cage.
Such a beautiful bird. (I put dried mealworms on top of their grape jelly and that's what you see hanging out the tip of his beak.)

I even got to see the female Orchard Oriole perched in the backyard swamp white oak tree.
The Orchard Orioles usually don't hang around for very long, so last weekend was probably the only time I'll see them this spring also. But at least the Baltimore Orioles are still sticking around, feasting on grape jelly and singing their beautiful songs for me every morning. Hopefully they'll nest somewhere nearby and bring their little ones to visit before their departure again in August. But I'm not even going to think about that and simply enjoy the colors and sounds of spring in Minnesota.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you got a picture of the CM Warbler. Aren't the gorgeous?! Yours got much close than the one I saw. Jane and I both got some good pics of the Pileated this week :)

Deb said...

Nice birds! We don't get orchard orioles around here. I'd like to see one some time.

judy said...

Beautiful pictures as usual----my baby robins are getting there features! but we really had to make sure they had good cover through out the storms all week-end. you know if they were up in a tree I wouldn't even worry to much because I know momma robin will take care of them. but since they were right under my deck---well.Grape jelly,huh.

Mama Pea said...

My gosh, Ruthie, your post looks like pictures from a bird book! And the contrast with the winter pictures was fun to see. I can't believe the huge variety of colorful birds you attract in your yard!

Beyond My Garden said...

What great bird shots! It has been a rough rainy, cold spring for birds around here.

Beyond My Garden said...

These orioles together are such good photos. I've seen more orioles this spring than in about 10 years. Also the Scarlet tanager is back after about the same number of years.
I am going to go get some grape jelly!

Anonymous said...

I hurried past the winter pictures really fast cuz it wasn't that long ago it was like that. I love the bird pictures they are so beautiful and they pose so nice for you. How do you get them to do that?


RuthieJ said...

They are gorgeous warblers Sissy. One actually stuck around until Tuesday morning and then they were all gone and I wonder if I'll ever see them in my backyard again.....

Thanks Deb. The Orchard Orioles aren't flamboyant or loud like the Baltimores, but I'm always happy to see them and wish they would stay longer.

Thanks Judy. I hope your baby robins are still doing OK. I found a nest of them in the evergreen by my clothesline yesterday -- very tiny yet. BTW, robins like grape jelly too! (at least mine do)

Thank you Mama Pea. It's been a really unusual spring migration this year, and I'm lucky to be home to enjoy it. But the trees are leafing out fast, so good views of the birds are almost over for this spring.

Thanks Nellie. It's been awful spring weather for birds all over the place! But the birds seems to be coping with it as best as they can. Everyone around here is seeing lots of orioles this year too and I've still got pairs of them coming to the grape jelly, so I'm hoping they'll nest nearby!

Hi Mom, it's hard to believe that only 6 months ago we were freezing our butts off and buried in snow, but I couldn't resist putting those pictures in because they just make spring seem that much better! I'm glad you like the bird pictures (they work for food!)

Dave Dorsey said...

I'm glad it's spring too!

Ruth said...

Word must be getting around about your welcoming yard. What a great assortment of birds!