Sunday, November 04, 2007

Birds in the Backyard

This afternoon, just before the Cleveland Browns Game,I popped outside to see what I could do with the birds in our backyard. Our neighbors have several feeding stations that mostly attract non-native song sparrows. However, during the winter, mixed flocks of Carolina chickadees, tufted titmice, juncos, and white throated sparrows feed here as well. Today I watched as the titmice and chickadees darted to the feeder, stop at a box elder tree in my house, and then fly back to the brushy cover of our abandoned alley and neighbor's overgrown backyard. Wow, are they quick! The titmice will stick around a perch for about ten or twenty seconds, but the chickadees alight for only three seconds or less before they bolt away. My first efforts:

With a little patience and the three frames per second capture rate of my camera, I was able to get some of my first fairly decent bird photos. All in all, I took about 70 shots that probably represented only about 30 seconds of actual time.

The Carolina chickadee. This is the smallest bird that frequents my neighborhood.

The tufted titmouse. My neighbors, who feed the birds but don't know there names, make up their own. On Friday, my neighbor Jackie stopped me in the front yard and asked me "what is that little bird that looks like a reject bluejay?" Hmmmm...Well, off the top of my head, I wasn't sure what she was talking about. I ran inside and fetched my Sibley guide, leafed through, showed her the white breasted nuthatch, and she said, nope, thats not it. I kept browsing, as we stood in my front yard, and reached the tufted titmouse page. Immediately, she stopped me, and said, "Yep, that's it! That is the reject blue jay." So how about that common name? As I stood in the backyard today, propped up against the white painted concrete wall of my neighbor's garage, the reject blue jay landed in our flowering crab apple tree. This bird saw me, but was patient, and seemed intent on finding food.


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