Saturday, January 31, 2009

Our Feathered Friends

Watching the birds during these wintery months is a pleasant alternative to gardening.....and not nearly as much work (although I do miss the gardening)!
Since November, I've been counting birds at the feeders on Fridays and Saturdays for Project Feederwatch. You should try it. It's lots of fun! You can choose any 2 consecutive days to count.

Our front yard has been filled with very busy birds fueling themselves against the cold and snowy weather. They truly are a joy to watch, providing plenty of entertainment for the seed that we supply them with.
I probably spend far too much time photographing them ;)

The tiny chickadees are very social.....

...gathering on the line when I go out to fill the feeders.

I tried offering seed in my hand and they happily accepted.....friendly, trusting little souls that they are.

Hubby is watching from inside and has the camera ready.

The other day one was on the suet and as I slowly reached my hand up it stayed right there and let me touch it. Amazing!

They seem quite fearless. Posted by Picasa

The cardinals have been coming every day for the past week.

Not only do we have a pretty female,

we now have four males that are coming each day! Posted by Picasa

They occasionally eat at the wooden feeder, but most of the time they feed on the ground. Posted by Picasa

Quite often one will hop up onto the snowy porch to eat the seed that drops from the tray. Posted by Picasa

The bossy blue jays are constant visitors. I counted ten of them today...more than usual. We had snow flurries for most of the day, and the temperatures were cold, with a high of about 17ºF (-8C).
There's also a red-bellied woodpecker on the suet to the left of the photo.

(All the photos may be enlarged by clicking)

The blue jays are so funny the way they boss each other around :)

I put some pieces of stale hot dog buns on the tray the other day, and the blue jays gobbled them up very quickly. But this fellow interrupted Mr. Cardinal while he was eating.....

...and received a royal tongue-lashing..... Posted by Picasa

......a little taste of his own medicine :)
"OK, OK, I'm going!"

This poor male hairy woodpecker whacked himself soundly when he flew into the sliding glass door recently. Hubby and I went out to check on him and found him sitting by the BBQ, rather dazed. He sat for about 10 minutes on the porch. Posted by Picasa

I offered him some water, but he didn't drink any.

After a while he flew over to the maple tree and stayed still for a while longer. Posted by Picasa

But soon he was back on the suet, seemingly no worse for wear. I wonder if birds get headaches. Poor little fellow. Posted by Picasa

A few days later I heard him hit the door again (can't be sure it was the same fella, of course)...this time not so hard, thankfully. When I looked out, there he was tucked up tight against the post (doesn't he look scared?)........and a hawk was flying away. I was very relieved to see that no small bird was clutched in the hawk's claws.
I had suspected that might be why the woody hit the door the first time, because I've seen a hawk around recently. It's amazing to see how quickly the birds disappear, or they freeze in place.

Here you can see the difference in size between the downy (on the left) and hairy woodpecker. Also notice the hairy's beak is longer. These are two females.

The female red-bellied woody has been coming almost every day as well.

Here she's sharing the suet with a downy female. Posted by Picasa

She's quite shy and doesn't stay long. Posted by Picasa

You might be interested in this event coming up very soon....

Count for Fun, Count for the Future
February 13-16, 2009

A joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, this free event is an opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the wonders of nature in backyards, schoolyards, and local parks, and, at the same time, make an important contribution to conservation.

Find out more here:

Since joining Feedwatch, I've noticed a few different birds that have probably been here before, but I just wasn't looking closely enough to realize what I was seeing. I'll show pictures of them in another post soon.
I hope you're all enjoying the weekend!


Ken said...[Reply]

Wow... you had a very nice blog here.

especially love the images of the birds.

And I think you or the person taking these images are someone who is a born photographer with all the composition.

Chandramouli S said...[Reply]

Wee hee! That;s a wonderful post, Kerri! How exciting to have the birds eat off your hands! I could take my eyes off the chickadees and woodpeckers! Ahhh! How sweet! Thank you so much for all those wonderful and lovely photos! Many thanks to your hubby from me.

Barbara said...[Reply]

A great post, dear Kerri, with absolutely beautiful pictures. It must have been a wonderful feeling to see that birds were coming so near to you, touching you. They are indeed tiny lovely "souls" and I also do everything to keep them in my garden!
Have a nice Sunday!

Jellyhead said...[Reply]

Those birds are so sweet! Even the two birds blueing over the food!

And the first commenter is right - the photos are amazing.

Hope all's well in your household Kerri :-)

. said...[Reply]

Oh Kerri, what a post!

So lovely. I am quite envious of those cardinals. They look as if they would be more at home in the tropics than the frozen North.

I marvel at your skill in taking photographs of birds in action.

John said...[Reply]


Great post. Hope your having fun and enjoyment with the counting.

I was just telling Apple that you had not posted in awhile (last night), and than this post.

PS: enjoy following your posts.

Tabor said...[Reply]

Excellent photos and I wish that I could get such nice ones. Our birds are much more shy and I can only get a photo from quite a distance...but maybe they will make friends with us over time. They are a pleasant break over the winter.

Apple said...[Reply]

As always your photos are amazing! I go through Mom's bird book and can rarely make an identification but your pictures (and commentary) make it much easier. I love the pictures of the blue jays "chatting" and then the one with the cardinal and the jay :-)

Love the new header pic but will be very happy when it changes to spring flowers! I'm very tired of the snow and cold. I hope we both miss out on the coming storm!

MNGarden said...[Reply]

I have always wanted the little birdies to come feed from my hand. Our birds aren't so trusting. Your photos are very nice. I especially like the one showing the hairy and downy woodpeckers. You have quite a restaurant for the birds there.

verobirdie said...[Reply]

Kerri, those pictures are a delight again, really beautiful.
Thanks for the show!

Hillside Garden said...[Reply]

Kerri, very good, your photographs, like always! You have so different birds from ours, so colourful!


Northern Shade said...[Reply]

Your winter feathered garden is as colourful as your summer flower garden. I enjoyed the photos of the birds, showing their personalities, both brazen and shy. With your feeders positioned so conveniently for viewing, you must have many hours of enjoyment there.

Susie said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri,
Another delightful post! You have such a variety of birds that visit.
I especially love the vivid red of that male cardinal against the snow.
How exciting to have them eat from your hand!
We often have the little hummers fly right into our slider, but they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and go along their merry way.
Have a wonderful week!

Isabelle said...[Reply]

As everyone has said, what a lovely lovely post. We feed the birds too but British birds are on the whole less brightly coloured.

I did some gardening this weekend - all destructive (cutting things down and raking up leaves) but it made me feel that spring is on its way. Kind of.

Lisa at Greenbow said...[Reply]

WOW Kerri, you have some great photos here. I love seeing the Cardinal giving the BLueJay cain for messing with his lunch.

Some people I knew when young could feed Cardinals like you did the chickadee. I must be too energetic because I have never been able to fee any bird. Ha...

Alice said...[Reply]

I looked at your post today, Kerri, with a friend and she was so impressed with all the different birds and their personalities. I'm sure you get so much pleasure from watching their antics.

Chris was also amazed at the quantity of snow and the beauty of the landscape, even in the midst of so much heavy snow.

Always a pleasure to look at your photos and read the little snippets of being taken on a travelogue.

I hope the furnace is serving you well and keeping you both toasty and warm.

giroflée said...[Reply]

Hello kerri,
we do the same in may we have to look after birds for 2 days
but we don't have the same varietyin France where I live ,it's marvellous to see all birds you have
thank you to share

Linda said...[Reply]

This was just wonderful. I love watching the birds come to our bird bath, but we don't have feeders up. I'm definitely going to get some.
I can't get over the little chickadees. They are so sweet.
I wonder if it's just the color blue that makes them so bossy. The blue birds here are the same when. When we had a cat, they would come withing just a few inches of her and squawk right in her face. So brassy :-)
Kerri, thank you for all your sweet comments. What a blessing you are. Your blog is always a very special place to visit.

Raquel at Cool Garden Things said...[Reply]

This is lovely...watching the birds come to my bird feeders is one of the few things that gets me through the winter. They are like my friends!

Moi said...[Reply]

Oh kerri, these little feathered friends of yours are beautiful and your photography is so tender and fabulous at the same time.......and they so trust you.........when I have a house (vs. an apartment) I am gonna surround it with beauty as you do, no matter what season of the year it is :)

And I love the brand new header too :)

texasdaisey said...[Reply]

I just found your blog & if your blog benefits like in this post then I think the time is well spent taking pictures. I love birds & you got such awesome shots.

Deana said...[Reply]

I am planning on doing the backyard count and I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed finding your blog and this post. May I ask what your Downy is eating in those photos? I put suet out for mine but yours looks like something else. And I have never tried to get my Chickadees to eat from my hands. You have me very excited to try that.

Beautiful blog you have here!

Seeing Anew said...[Reply]

Kerri, what a great blog post, and your bird photos are worthy of Audobon himself! What a beautiful set of moments from your life--feeding the birds by hand, enjoying their antics. I had a good chuckle over the two jays squabbling, and an even heartier laugh over the one with the cardinal giving the jay a piece of its mind! I love it! Great post!

Sue said...[Reply]

What an awesome series of pics! You even got them to eat from your hands, bird lady, you! What fun! I hope spring arrives soon, though.

Debbie said...[Reply]

Wonderful post, Kerri! The photos are fantastic.

We used to do the BackYard Feeder Watch. It was a lot of fun. I don't know why we stopped doing, life I guess just got a bit to busy. It might be fun for the children to do.

Are you getting a lot of Pine Siskins up your way? We have had a very large flock this winter. They come everyday.

Naturegirl said...[Reply]

Kerri: these images of the birds were totally awesome! WOW what activity you witness! How tame are they..feeding out of your hand..Mrs. Doolittle!! I put the seed out and run inside..perhaps I should bundle up like you and stay outdoors awhile!
Most of my photos of backyard birding I take from indoors.Thanks for sharing..presently I'm tracking the Trumpeter swans!

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...[Reply]

You've captured some amazing shots here girl! Fantastic! I am just so struck by how tame those little chickadees are; mine are very skittish and don't stay long at the feeder, I can barely get a 'snap' of my camera thru the window before they fly away! NONE have ever acted this friendly. I think you have a little family there, all your little birdie children:) I have all of those birds here, too, but mine are not as Tough as yours, they have a bit warmer environment than your birds have to survive in:) I just love your feeding set up; it does keep you entertained that's for sure. Hope you warm up soon!

Frances said...[Reply]

Oh Kerri, what a treat your bird photos are. I am envious of the chickadee on your hand, you must have a very gentle vibe for him to trust you like that! I knew you did anyway. :-) We will be counting our birds mid-feb for the bird count too. I is hard to get an accurate count in our spread out yard since we can't see the whole thing from any one place. I might have to enlist help from the clan!

verobirdie said...[Reply]

I gave you an award, if you want to pick it on my blog

Shady Gardener said...[Reply]

What beautiful photographs!! And what a thrill to have the little chickadee (one of my favorite birds!) in your Hand! :-)

joey said...[Reply]

Kerri, you're like St Francis! Each and every photo is stunning ... what a blessed talent and gift you have for sharing.

garden girl said...[Reply]

What wonderful bird
shots, and fascinating post Kerri! I found myself drawn in to all the bird drama, from the arguments between and among species, to the poor little stunned woodpecker and how scared it looked clinging for its life to the post. I'm glad it escaped the hawk.

Giddy said...[Reply]

We love our birds and they keep the kitties quite entertained all day long. The only ones we've had all winter long are the blue jays, chickadees, nuthatches, crows and a huge flock of mourning doves.

Patsi said...[Reply]

So many're lucky.
Love the chickadees. Just amazing to get the chickadee to feed from your hand! Must have been exciting.
Did you say hubby was inside taking pics...what too cold for him? :)
Glad there was a happy ending for the woodpecker. Love the pictures !
Have a great weekend,

em said...[Reply]

kerri, wow, excellent! i've given up on the birds this winter, only the sparrows are showing up right now. i love the cardinal and jay interacting, but my fav pic is of the chickadee. the focus is so good - did you get a new lens? sure looks like you are having fun, and snapping great pictures! they could be in a bird book!

Roses and stuff said...[Reply]

Kerri, those pictures are great! It's amazing how you can get the birds to feed from your hand...I'm sure you've been providing them with lots of goodies for a long, long time!

TUFFENUF said...[Reply]

Kerri, great post! beautiful pics of those brave birds. They must be very hungry to perch on your hand like that. You have probably saved some birdie lives! I hope the winter bad weather will let up on you soon!

sweet bay said...[Reply]

What wonderful pictures!

Those chickadees are so tame, it's amazing.

I love the pictures of the two blue jays and the blue jay and cardinal squawking at each other.

Rosehaven Cottage said...[Reply]

Your bird photography is spectacular! I love the action and expression you have artfully captured. The arguing jays are a favorite. And I am green with envy that you are able to hand-feed your chickadees AND have red cardinals decorating you white snowy landscape. We have now cardinals here in our region. And our chickadees are so fat and happy, they have no desire to sit on one's hand.


Midlife Mom said...[Reply]

What a lovely, delightful post Kerri! Just love seeing all of your birds around your feeders. You have more then I do here and a better selection. Your cardinals are just gorgeous, we only occasionally have them, as you say they like to ground feed and I think the turkeys scare them off and get all the food on the ground. I've never had one land on my hand, what a thrill that would be! Thank you for sharing your beautiful feathered friends with us!

Cathy said...[Reply]

Such Nice photos of the birds,
I too love to watch birds...

Very Nice Post, thanks for sharing

inlandempiregirl said...[Reply]

I always love you bird pictures. I saw a magnificent woodpecker this morning, but knew if I opened the door the dogs would scare him. I have a note to send you the recipe for the cake.... it has just been hectic at school.

Gail said...[Reply]

Fantastic! Impressive! Delightful! Excellent!

Kylee said...[Reply]

WOW! Your birds LOVE you!! This is so cool. And I love the photos of the blue jays and the cardinal, when they're yelling back and forth. LOL

In transit said...[Reply]

More beautiful pics. My fave is Mr. cardinal arguing with the other bird (a jay?)over the food. can just imagine what they are 'saying' to each other!

Noella said...[Reply]

Just loved these beautiful bird pics. too.

I would love to see a cardinal! I must put that on my 100 things to see before I die list!

Paula said...[Reply]

Lovely work! May I use one of your cardinal pictures on the post I'm getting ready to add to my blog?

Kerri said...[Reply]

Hi Paula, I have no way of getting in touch with you to answer you question because your name isn't linked to your blog, so I hope you'll read this response. Please e-mail me and let me know your blog address. You'll find my e-mail in my profile.