Friday, October 18, 2013

Bird Watching

Besides the usual birds, we've had quite a few newcomers to our backyard the past couple of weeks.  This towhee hung around for two days, making a complete mess of the feeding station.  He hopped around, scattering safflower seeds all over the place.  Evelyn commented that the cardinals appreciated what he was doing since they prefer to eat on the ground (where most of his mess ended up).
 Look closely at the picture below for a Northern flicker (big woodpecker).  It's on the left side of the tree trunk, blending in with some of the red-tipped leaves.  Flickers prefer to eat ants, but since the weather has gotten cooler, we've had them at our suet feeder.
 Speaking of the suet feeder, here's a regular customer - the little downy woodpecker.  The girls love looking at the back of the bird's head to see if a girl or boy is eating; this one is a girl because she does not have a red spot (males have a bright red spot on the back of their neck).

We were pleasantly surprised to hear (and then see) a kingfisher flying around the creek a couple of days ago.  It's call was so loud and unusual, that we ran out onto the deck to see what was making all that noise.  This one didn't let me get a good picture of its face, but it sure was fun watching it zip around the branches.
 When we have a variety of birds in the house feeder, the girls call out, "Bird party!"  Then they wait to see if there's a spat...
 The girls also enjoy counting how many goldfinches are on the niger feeder at one time.  There were six here (one is hiding on the other side).  Only the females get along this well; the males will only let their mate on the feeder with them.
 And how can I forget our star birdwatcher?  Rosie was watching nuthatches zip around the tree trunk - they're one of her favorite birds to watch.