I found some time to sit out back the other day to watch the birds and got to see some fun feathered visitors, the coolest of which was a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet. This little bird spent literally hours flitting up, down and around the leaves and branches of a single tree, hunting for tasty insects. These little guys are FAST and constantly moving and the camera I was using yesterday is not, so I took over two hundred pictures over the course of the afternoon, probably two-thirds of which were of this one bird, just to get a small handful of clear shots. But it was worth it because she was fun to watch.
I have a lot of bird feeders. Each new season brings changes to the bird dynamics in the yard so I tend to do some tweaking of feeders or their placement each season. During warmer months, birds have a wider variety of natural foods available so, while they still eat birdseed, they don’t go through as much of it. Now that fall has arrived, birdseed consumption will soon be picking up. I want to see if I can reduce the amount of seed winding up in squirrel bellies this winter, so I made another change in my set-up. This time, it involves turning a ground platform feeder into a platform feeder on top of a pole.
This week, we got a fun new feathered visitor to the yard, a Red-Breasted Nuthatch. We regularly see White-Breasted Nuthatches, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen this type of nuthatch in the yard, or anywhere for that matter. In our area, they tend to be a bird occasionally seen in the woods up among the pines rather than at the backyard feeder, but I’m hearing that this year there is an irruption of Red-Breasted Nuthatches.
American Goldfinches like my yard. It took me awhile to entice them to visit, but once they came, they seemed to have liked the ambiance and have stayed, pretty much year round, only leaving for short periods every now and then when the local Coopers Hawk gets too carried away. They stay busy around the flowers in the warmer months, the seed heads in the fall and pinecones up at the top of the pines in the cooler months. They seem to check out everything, from the lilac bushes in the spring, to zinnias and strawflowers in the summer, to flowers and seeds on weeds in the fall.
Here in Maryland, we seem to be at the very end of the annual fall warbler migration. There are still a few stragglers around but most seem to have already passed through on their way to warmer winter quarters well to the south.
Yesterday though, I was sitting on my back step watching the birds in the backyard and came across this little Common Yellowthroat. He had faint black patches on his cheeks, so I think he is a young male who hasn’t gotten his full dark black mask yet.