Look who showed up at the feeders today!
This is a Rose-breasted Grosbeak - the first one we've ever had here. I was sitting (where else, but) by the window this morning, when I spied this distinctive fellow. (And he is a fellow; the female is drab and brown. Isn't that always the way?) In as loud a whisper as I could muster I called out to the boys working on their math in the next room to grab my camera and bring it to me. But the scamps had left the room for some reason or another, so as quickly and quietly as I could I retrieved my trusty Cyber-shot and returned to the window. He flew off right after I took these pictures.
It is really amazing how busy the birding activity is here right now. I guess we're a popular rest stop on the spring migration route! The warblers were back again today. Before Bill left for work I asked him to watch the cherry tree for a few minutes so he might catch a glimpse - and he did! He couldn't get over their tiny size and bright coloring.
I also meant to mention we had a thrush of some sort here yesterday and what we thought was a Northern flicker, till we looked in our bird guide and realized it was in fact the less common and very shy Red-bellied woodpecker! He flew in once or twice as well. He is impossible to photograph - he flees the moment you approach the windows. But he's quite a bird to behold - large, bright red head and black speckles.
And, GOODNESS! We just had a Baltimore Oriole here! I was not fast enough to get his picture, but I'm sure he'll be back. We must get some oranges - and perhaps some grape jelly - out there tomorrow!
Now this may all sound like common sense, but here are few tips for watching birds from your windows:
- Hang your feeders where you can watch them with regularity. It just worked out that the windows we spend most of our time beside (those in the learning room and adjoining family room) have a clear view of all our feeding stations
- Have a good selection of feeders available. The wider the variety of food you supply, the wider the variety of birds that will visit.
- Try to train yourself to pay attention. It just becomes a habit if you do it consistently. You don't have to spend long stretches of time gazing out the windows (though that's fun too). The more you watch, the more you'll see and your eyes will become sensitive to the clues - the stirring leaves, the moving branch, the flash of feathers. (Bill jokes that I'm like Harry Potter with the Snitch when it comes to birds, lol.)
- If you notice lots of activity, and think you might be able to get pictures, take down your screens for the day. Wash the glass panes, too. I find by doing this we can see better and I am able to get better shots through the windows.
- Keep your camera near at hand! Your moments might be few when you're trying to photograph a bird.
In somewhat related news, we saw Shrek III today - and, as expected, it was very funny and just a little bit fresh here and there. Now, I don't want to spoil any of the fun for you, but there is a scene with Snow White and the forest critters that is absolutely hysterical. Really, I was in stiches. And once I recovered, I leaned over to the boys and whispered, "Now that's my kind of princess." :)
Have a great weekend, my friends! And watch those windows!