Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Busy Day at the Bird Feeders

Yesterday, in the afternoon, the sun came out unexpectedly after a cold, rainy weekend.  The yard was glistening in a way that I usually associate more with spring than late-summer-fading-into-Autumn.  But then, we didn't get much spring in Seattle this year, so I'll take it.

Black-Capped Chickadee with his prize, perched in cherry tree.
Waiting his turn.
I don't know if it was the sunshine, the cooler, crisper temperatures or just a coincidence, but suddenly the yard was alive with birds.  Chickadees, who are always around, were out in force.  They queue up in the cherry tree and wait their turn at the feeder -- it seems to be a chickadee rule that only one bird can use the feeder at time.  Sparrows and finches and Juncos are glad to double up, but chickadees wait their turn.  Usually, the next chickadee waits on the branch above the feeder until the one who is there leaves.  They never take very long, picking out the seed they want and flying back up into the tree with it.  Every once in a while a chickadee approaches the feeder and realizes at the last minute that there's someone already there, then pulls up in a whuff of wings and lands in the tree.  But they never seem to squabble the way sparrows and other birds do.  It's all very orderly and efficient.

I wasn't the only one watching the chickadees yesterday.  Another familiar visitor was out and about.  I'm pretty sure that this is the same young House Finch that I photographed (and blogged about) earlier this summer.   


He's looking much more adult now, but he still has a tentative, uncertain air.  I didn't ever see him use the feeder, but he did sit on the chickadees' queue branch and watch them for quite awhile.  It seemed like he was observing their use of the feeder. 

 I also saw another return guest.  This Bewick's Wren was foraging in the Morning Glory vines along the fence.  I haven't seen a BW in months.

 And, the young Anna's Hummingbird that I've seen and reported on a couple of times recently was back.   In fact, I could hear her periodically throughout the day -- a rapid chirp sound like a high-pitched telegraph key -- but it wasn't until late in the afternoon (when the light was fading) that I managed to get some shots of her.

So, counting the crows who were foraging on the sidewalk and the House Sparrow at the feeder -- not counting the Starlings I could hear in the back yard or the pigeons who I didn't see until evening -- that's five species that I counted standing on my deck, without even really trying hard.  None of them were new or unusual, but it was still pretty exciting.

And just to top things off, today I was drawn outside again by the Anna's Hummingbird sound, only to find a totally different bird at the feeder.  This one, as you can see, is quite a bit larger and clearly full grown.

 If you like Birdland West, you might also want to check out our sister blog Books and Beasts, which focuses on reviews of books about animals and related topics.

 Many of the original photographs featured on Birdland West are available for sale as art quality prints.  You can check out all of our offerings at http://AlexWashoe.imagekind.com.  If you see an image here that does not show up on our Imagekind site please contact me directly and I'll let you know about availability.)

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