New Posts on Wednesdays and Saturdays -- er generally

Thursday, May 11, 2017

bird watching and photographing


In a season of much emotional turmoil, some activities bring relaxation and connect us with nature and its many cycles. One such, for me, is bird watching in our living room. I have huge windows in our living room, where my desk sits in one corner. There is a drawback to big windows-- less places to hang paintings.
However, the advantage of more light and watching outdoors, as if there, far outweigh that drawback... well, mostly. Without disturbing their lives, the birds are part of my day.

As an added advantage for birds here, beyond our feeders, this house sits under the shelter of huge oaks as well as many other trees we have planted-- all deciduous for the advantage of their leaves dropping in winter to again let in more light. Because the house is just above a creek, it's a perfect haven for birds-- even if we didn't supplement their diet. 
 
We turned one of our fenced yards into the bird yard where the cats don't have access. It is where we keep hummingbird feeders and mostly have the wild bird seed feeders filled. As summer gets into full swing, we let the seed feeders go down every couple of days to keep the birds remembering it's not their only food source.

The hummingbird feeder though is kept up because if you start one, it needs to be consistent. A hummer appeared in the kitchen window yesterday to remind us we used to keep three. With the arrival of migrants, he was right, and we took care of that. Last week, we saw the tiniest hummingbirds ever and assume they are a product of the hummers who wintered here for the first time ever. They moved too fast to photograph without a blur, but we won't give up.

Some say we should not feed birds and I get that. It is particularly a problem if it draws in other seed lovers, like bears. We though have our bird yard well fenced. I think, where their habitat has often shrunk-- thanks to man's encroachment, they can use some help-- especially during their migrations.

The farm though has permanent residents as well. I used to think the seed feeders only needed help in the winter. Now I am not convinced that is true. Much as we try to plant flowers and shrubs that birds and butterflies enjoy, the feeders give them the extra energy that they need as their world changes as much as ours. Our year-round residents appear to include several types of blackbirds; Stellar and Scrub-jays; multiple varieties of finches; woodpeckers of several sorts (a Northern Flicker surprised me by hitting the bird feeder this winter-- or trying to).

The migratory season adds to the populations and fascinations. We have birds showing up for a day or a week that we will never see again. Likewise, there are those who will decide this makes a good home for the summer. The yard is buzzing with activity, like out of a Disney movie. It is a delight to us-- especially when we see birds, like the Band-Tailed Pigeon, who normally would be along the coast-- not thirty miles inland. 
Photographing these birds is one of our regular pleasures especially when it's birds we don't often see, or as with the Black-headed Grosbeaks, had never seen. I don't think if they will stay as they never have. We are a place to store up energy for their next flight to wherever they normally summer. 

8 comments:

Annie said...

I have put up my hummingbird feeder in hope, so far no visitors. I also have a seed feeder outside my living room window, which is quite lovely to watch. It hangs in a maple tree, when the tree is fully leafed out the birds stop coming and I take it down until late fall when the leaves have fallen.

Rain Trueax said...

Interesting on the hummers, Annie. I read a blog where she'd been concerned hers had disappeared. She's on the Northern California coast.

Tabor said...

Love watching the birds. I do feed them throughout our winter with the approval of Cornell Ornithology scientists. The only issue they have is that we must keep seed feeders and hummingbird feeder clean.

Rain Trueax said...

We feed year round but less in the summer as they have more sources.

Annie said...

Hi Rain, I don't think the hummers in my area have disappeared because I hear from local friends that they are seeing them. I just haven't been consistent enough so they're taking their time about finding my feeder. Hopefully I'll see a few soon.

Rain Trueax said...

Yes, they like consistency. We think the ones who spent their winter here had their first nestlings arrive at the feeders. Tiniest hummers I've seen-- two of them like siblings maybe (birdwatchers get quite an imagination regarding their birds *s*)

joared said...

Enjoying your photos. I'm not seeing as many varieties of birds here as some years ago -- actually, since West Nile Virus came on the scene. Resident Mockingbirds and their offspring have designated my yard and that of the house across the street as their territory for several years now. Years ago when we had a dog they would dive bomb her. They tolerate me at a distance, but fly in to the closest branch or edge of roof eyeing me carefully -- even when I go out to my car in the driveway or return. The hummingbirds are very prevalent coming to my Bird of Paradise outside my living room window. Finches flit about. That's the extent of our birds presently though I have heard doves. In the past I'd heard an occasional owl, would note a hawk now and then, a group of crows visited regularly -- creating havoc with the mockingbirds. We had a much larger bird variety years ago when I lived in the Great Lakes area year 'round. Wonder if the numbers have declined there, too. I think of this as a "canary in the coal mine" message from Mother Earth.

Rain Trueax said...

The birds are definitely the warning bell as are the insects. We have quite a few varieties here because of the creek, pastures, and the woods nearby. I always want bluebirds and even though we put up houses for them to build nests, we get none. The main valley does attract them though. We rented a house near Missoula one year where one of my great joys was watching the bluebirds feed their young.