Welcome to Week #20 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #20 challenge is showcasing the birds that visit your yard, garden, land….your close space.
All of us are going to have a different variety for this week so I can’t wait to see what everyone else is seeing from their window, front porch, back patio area or wherever you enjoy the likes of our feathered friends near and around your home.
The feature image is a Swallow-tailed Kite that flew right over our house in September. I haven’t seen the Kites in about 3 weeks so I think they have headed south for the winter. In the summer months, they will soar in close to the ground near the feeders and the tops of the trees looking for other birds. We don’t put food out in the feeders while they are here (about 3-4 months) because of the kites.
I have so many other species in my yard that I have yet to get clean shots of like the Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse and there was a Gray-cheeked Thrush in the yard a few days ago that when I went to grab my camera flew away. That thrush was the first time we’ve had one in our yard ever!
Red-bellied Woodpeckers are quite common and are year-round residence in the Eastern & Central United States. They have wondered into parts of Canada, possibly expanding their territory. You will find them in large old growth oak & hickory trees. They will come to your feeder like this one stopped by for a nugget a couple of days ago. They are quite the acrobat, hanging upside down while feeding if need be.
The Palm Warbler is a different kind of warbler that doesn’t act like most of its species. They will hop around the ground, flitting its tail up and down while being in the open. Most warblers take cover in the trees. You would think this would be a tropical bird given its name, but they are one of the northernmost breeding birds of all warblers. Only the Blackpoll Warbler breeds further north. This small bird breeds in parts of the northern United States and in Canada, but the non-breeding kind like here in Florida can be found further south in the Caribbean and Mexico. This bird did get its name by J.P. Gmelin who named it from a specimen collected on Hispaniola, a Caribbean Island with a lot of palm trees.
If you are not careful, doves will eat you out of house and home. They are social birds who will easily share a meal, but their patience in taking turns is short lived. Often you may see 3 of them flying in a formation. Typically the lead bird is a mated male escorting an unmated male & female. The second bird is the unmated male chasing his rival from the area and the third is the female of the mated pair that just seems to go along for the ride.
Last summer, 2019, my hubby had to trim a tree limb that was almost hitting the roof of our house. Unfortunately, there was a dove nest in it that he did not see upon inspection prior to cutting. There were 2 chicks in the nest. My granddaughter was visiting at the time so the two of them took the baby birds to the animal hospital so they could be cared for until BEAKS (Bird Emergency Aid & Kare Sanctuary) could pick them up. The momma dove sat in that tree for 5 days in a panic looking for her babies. It was the saddest thing I have ever witnessed in the bird world. Was she mourning? ABSOLUTELY….NO DOUBT!
The Eastern Phoebe is one of North America’s most familiar flycatchers. It is 5.5-6.7 inch (14-17 cm) in length with a medium length tail. Their dark head seems flat but they will often tuft it in a peak making it look similar to a Wood-Pewee. Up until this week, we had only seen this bird in our yard a couple of times in 9 years. There have been at least two hanging out in the front and backyard, making this one of the unique birds in my yard for this challenge. This one kept flying towards the window and fluttering back to the perch. This went on for about 2 hours. We were entertained! The video below is just a small portion of our observation.
Interesting fact: The Eastern Phoebe became the first banded bird in North America by John James Audubon in 1804. Audubon attached a silver thread to the leg to track its return in successive years.
This female Northern Cardinal had found a seed in the feeder in the front yard and flew over the house to enjoy it in the backyard where this photo was taken. Did you know, Cardinals do not migrate and they don’t molt? This is probably why they are a birder’s fan favorite!
The Black-throated Blue Warbler has been coming back for weeks now. A 1/2 mile away at Tree Hill Nature Center we counted 10 in one area. The most ever for us! I know I featured this bird a few weeks ago, but I’m amazed at how many we have seen this year and the extended visitations to our yard. I don’t have a photo of a female, but they are so different that originally they were thought to be two different species.
EYE SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE something green! Do you see it? Look very closely as this little bird is as fast as fast can be.
I cropped it about as far as I could. The best Ruby-throated Hummingbird photo I’ve ever gotten. I haven’t quite gotten this down to where I can see them after I come out of my house. I snuck around the side to get this shot and it was done. Finished! Didn’t come back until the next morning.
This hummingbird is native to North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Bermuda. They are migratory for us in the summer months in Jacksonville, but are year-round residence in other parts of Florida with the milder temperatures. They are a breeding bird for much of the Eastern & Central United States. The male can be vicious defending his territory. He will chase off other male and female hummingbirds if he thinks they are getting just a little too much of his sweet nectar.
Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.
Until next week…Week #21 – Black Feathered Birds just in time for Halloween.