I have enjoyed birds for many years, from the parakeets and canaries who were beloved pets, to the backyard birds that would line up on the chain-link fence every morning all year around to await their breakfast. In the Summer I’d watch them enjoying a cool drink or splashing in the multiple birdbaths I had in the backyard. It was a sad day when a new neighbor moved in behind and left his dog out 24/7/365 and never cleaned up after it and I discovered rats were visiting my yard. My garden, which had been a bird and butterfly paradise, was no longer a haven to enjoy, and I had to get rid of the bird feeders and birdbaths when a pest control service was brought in to bait the rats.
But I still can enjoy my fine-feathered friends on my walks, or when I am out and about in the neighborhood; they just aren’t technically “my birds” anymore. I love whistling back at them and go note for note. I usually give up whistling before they do when my “whistler” stops working. Try it one time when you’re in the backyard and you hear a bird singing – they enjoy doing this.
I’ve been photographing a lot of birds lately and have amassed many pictures … so, there was a dilemma. Do I have a post on only Robins, or just Red-Winged Blackbirds? And how about those NEW cute cardinal-with-a-peanut photos that you haven’t seen yet? Do I make a follow-up “Nutty Buddies”post? Decisions, decisions … so I decided to solve my problem and continue my run on bird posts, following on the heels of the Canada geese and goslings, and yesterday’s Mute Swan.
We have a new type of bird at Council Point Park – a Baltimore Oriole. I have been reading at the local Audubon and Wild Birds Unlimited Facebook sites, that we have lots of Orioles this year. I saw one flit by me and disappear into a tall tree last week. Another walker suggested I research their song online so I could identify with it before I actually looked for them. I don’t know what Orioles would be feasting on at the Park, grubs probably, but I do know Orioles love it if you put out half an orange for them on a simple feeder that is just a long nail driven into a board. They have quite the sweet tooth and like a little grape jelly or marmalade mixed with some water and placed right into their feeder … no English muffin, toast or peanut butter is necessary for them to show up to enjoy that jelly. Hopefully I see an Oriole this Summer and this stray orange-and-black feathered fellow wasn’t just passing through!
I may not like when the Robins try to build their nests in my front coach light – it is messy with mud, dried grass and bird droppings everywhere, so I have to shoo them away with plastic bags stuffed in the lamp elbow. It’s not a good look as to curb appeal for the house, but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying the Robins who cross my path.
Last month I showed you Mama Robin on the nest and then the hatchlings. I thought she was incubating the eggs originally, but it turns out she must have been keeping those hatchlings warm on those chilly days we had in mid-May. I posted some photos of those baby birds and was monitoring their growth, and one day – poof they were gone. I was a little bummed because I had hoped they would be like the other Robin families and the fledglings would stay near the nest, but they all up and left … they said “bye-bye, gotta fly!” I was sad to see the empty nest and even Mama and Papa were no longer around.
They had usually been close to their young ones, seeming to gaze off into space at times, but one eye was always watching those hatchlings with their mouths gaping open, awaiting worms and grubs from their parents. This was a photo I took a day or so before they became a pair of empty nesters.
I find that Robins have a perpetual scowl on their faces (especially the ones I’ve chased away and torn down their nests in the past). But, despite that stern look, like the Robin is wearing in the photo up top, they are interesting to observe and I love their cheerful birdsong. Here are some of my photos I’ve taken the last few weeks of the American Robin. There are times the Robins land on the perimeter path as if to say “if you’re doling out peanuts, how about doling out some mealworms too?
Since I don’t bring along Robin treats, I get the scowl and often a dive-bomb from one of our red-breasted friends.
The male Northern Cardinal is so beautiful and at the Park it seems the males are much bolder in their pursuit of peanuts than the females. Very rarely do I see the rather drab-colored female venture to the perimeter path.
Once again you’ll see below that the male Cardinal watched me from the tree as I was feeding the squirrels. So, with that advance notice, I had the camera ready as I knew he was going to soon swoop and swipe, just the same as in all the other photos I’ve posted. I had to laugh as he came down a little too quickly and a squirrel was nearby … it looks like this Cardinal put on the brakes in the second shot! Then he waits patiently on the pathway, as the squirrel, busily noshing on a nut, ignores his presence … in he goes and this bright red bird is ready for his own peanut nirvana.
The Red-Winged Blackbirds are mean and ornery and will peck any bird, no matter the size, to antagonize it … the male is not defending its mate and the nest when I see these altercations. It just picks on geese or other birds and pecks them on the back or head. This species of bird is a bully, but a striking-looking one. This time I included a few photos of the female. I was walking past the reeds and saw a pair sitting near the bulrushes so I think perhaps they were nesting there. The female may be a dull brown, but her stripes make her easily identifiable. She does not grab peanuts from the perimeter path – she lets her mate do that dirty work because she’s a stay-at-home mom. Both the female and male Red-Winged Blackbirds are pretty vocal – just look at that beak when it’s open.
While the trees were still flowering, I heard, before I saw, this male Red-Winged Blackbird trilling amongst the blossoms. It sure was a beautiful sight to behold.
Even when he was “at rest” you could not help but admire him.
I think they are a force to be reckoned with, no matter where they are located.
There will be at least one or two more posts chockfull of geese and gosling photos, but here’s a parting shot of a couple of Canada Geese enjoying a breakfast of spent dandelions.