Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – In Your Yard or Garden

Swallow-tailed Kite flying low above our front yard.

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 Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker indulging in a snack from our feeders.

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.


Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler perched up on our manmade feeder.

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.


Mourning Doves

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.

Mourning Dove chicks rescued by my hubby & granddaughter after he cut a tree branch down not seeing the nest prior to cutting it down.  They were saved.

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!


Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe who has been seen in our yard for about 2 weeks.

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.


Northern Cardinal

Female Northern Cardinal eating a seed that she absconded from our feeders.

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!


Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler perched up in a tree in our backyard.

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.


Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird flying through the plants.

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.

77 Comments on “Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – In Your Yard or Garden

    • Thank you. Very amateur but the it will do for now. I’ve gotten hummers in the nest & perched up in the Vegas area but never our home grown. 😊 the warbler as been the most abundant than ever before.

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  2. wow how wonderful – love this post. Such a wonderful array of birds in your yard. I did one a while ago in our garden, and we count the birds weekly for a national charity. Can while away so many hours bird watching πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The palm warbler has pretty markings. It sounds like it acts more like a towhee. We had a group of three ring-necked doves as regular visitors until a Cooper’s hawk had a snack one day as we watched. Nature in action!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most Towhees stay hidden & high in the trees. This warbler walks around on the ground, flits out in the open. It’s an odd bird that seems to have a lot of courage and doesn’t care who sees. As for the doves, sounds about right. Once in a while, we will see feathers drifting from above in front of a window. Usually it’s a red-shouldered hawk. 😊 circle of life.

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    • No they couldn’t. It was too high in the tree and the nest came down with the branch. Frank found the babies inside the nest. They survived thanks to fostering. That momma bird mourned for 5 days in that tree. It was the saddest bird moment I’ve ever had including finding dead birds.

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  7. We must have too many cats and birds of prey hanging out in our backyard since our variety of birds is limited! These are wonderful shots, Lisa! A great hummer shot, yes they are fast! I am excited to link my Sunday Stills post this Sunday morning to this post and again to your page! Thanks for the inspiration!

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    • Thanks Terri. We have cats too & if they start messing with the birds, the get scared off by Frank’s BB gun. The sound alone scares them off. No cat has been hurt. Just scared off. Birds of prey are another matter but our birds tend to be careful except when there are babies in the nests. The kites keep us from offering feed in the summer. Not going to set that target. 😊

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  8. Beautiful gallery! Such pretty birds.
    I have just started feeding the birds as it is getting colder. Up for a refill for the hungry winged friends today and will see if I can catch any of them with my camera.

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    • Thank you Beth! Missed you last week! I saw a rose-breasted grosbeak this morning at the feeder for the first time in 5 years. Couldn’t get the shot though. πŸ™‚

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    • What a wonderful gallery of birds this week. You have outdone yourself! To get a hermit thrush in your yard is amazing! They are so elusive here. Your little masked friend is a Common Yellowthroat. The Yellow-throated Warbler has black & white striping & a white breast with yellow throat. All your shots are quite remarkable and so clear! Rockstar! 😎

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    • I loved your Pheasant! That was exciting for me because it is not a bird that I will see in Florida for sure. I know that are quite common over there. Just goes to show, you never know what is going to flip my switch. LOL! πŸ™‚

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