Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pileated Love

For the first time in many weeks, I didn't have to work last Saturday morning, so I got to be home and watch some birds.  I had just gotten done starting a load of laundry and I heard the unmistakable call of a Pileated Woodpecker.  I looked out the patio door and there he was -- on the suet feeder about 3 yards away!

I dashed upstairs for my camera and got some good photos of him on the tree nearby.  (See that nice red "mustache?"  That's how you tell the males from the females -- females have a black mustache.)

And on one of the other big suet feeders in the backyard.

A female Pileated Woodpecker has been an infrequent backyard visitor in the past, but this is the first time I've seen a male here.

I'm always amazed at how huge these birds are!  This suet feeder is about 12 inches long.  The long tail prop on this suet feeder makes it really easy for big woodpeckers like this to spend lots of time enjoying a suet treat.

This afternoon Mr. Pileated was back again and decided to check out the "upside down" suet feeder.  He had a little bit of trouble figuring out the best way to get suet from this feeder....

But he eventually managed to hang upside down and satisfy his suet cravings.

I really love these big woodpeckers and I'm so glad this guy has decided to start frequenting my backyard.  He always announces his arrival with his loud call, so we get some good chances to watch him for the few minutes he's here.  Fortunately I stocked up on suet a couple weeks ago and will be watching the ads for future suet sales.  I would gladly spend my last dollar on suet if it guaranteed daily sightings of these awesome woodpeckers. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bluebird Oasis

A few weeks ago while we were eating supper, some migrating bluebirds showed up at the birdbath on my deck.  It was still warm and dry then, so my birdbath was getting lots of use and had gone almost empty while I was at work. You could almost see the concern on these bluebird's faces when they realized how low the water was. 

"Good grief, there's not even enough here to make a splash!" they seemed to be saying.....

"We might as well leave now if this is all she's got for us!"  "Wait, don't go yet," I pleaded from inside the house.  "I'll leave my supper to fill the birdbath for you, if you'll just let me take a few more pictures!"

So I grabbed the water jug and slowly stepped out onto the deck and of course, they all flew away.....

But almost before I got back into the house, the bluebirds were back again!

"Oh, look how nice and full this birbath is now.  Let's get cleaned up a little!"

A bright sunny afternoon turned the splashes into diamonds. 

And even bluebirds can share a few cross words when it comes to sharing the bath!

But hey, that birdbath really is big enough for both of you, isn't it?

Super Splash!!

House Finch thought he needed to join the pool party, but look in the background -- more bluebirds!

And even MORE bluebirds!  There were a total of 6 on my deck for a few minutes.  I'm guessing it was probably a family group on their southern migration journey.

A few more splashes with chickadee enjoying a sidelines shower, and then the bluebirds were gone. 
Farewell Bluebirds and safe travels to you.  I'll be looking forward to your return next spring....