Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday Around the Yard

Friday, June 30, 2006
Woke up to a crystal-clear morning. Still lots of birdsong in the air though July will soon arrive to put a damper on that. We sat out with coffee and tea from 7 to 9 and I played hide-and-seek with the shy male indigo bunting I want so badly to digiscope. He's a sly one.

Fortunately a few other local denizens were willing to let me take their images.
The indigo bunting male who will NOT let me get close enough for a good digiscoping image. He sings each morning and through the day from a willow tree on the hill by our fire circle. The light is all wrong in the morning (as show here), and in the evening when the light is perfect, he's a spooky as any songbird I've even tried to sneak up on. Doesn't he know how much I LOVE indigo buntings? We named our farm after this species.

This Dad bluebird is doing a typical Dadlike job feeding the kids--sloppy. This reminds me of the days when Liam and I are home alone and all we eat is hotdogs. This adult male is doing the feeding because his mate is building the nest for brood #3 in our garden bluebird box.

For the first time ever, we've let house sparrows nest in one of our bluebird boxes. Now before you bluebird fans organize a mob and start marching over to our farm with pitchforks and torches, let me do some 'splainin'. Julie is painting the nestlings day-by-day. This will someday become a book. The sales from this book will allow me to retire and live the life of bon-bon-eating leisure I've always felt entitled to live. And, once the project is over, we will suggest in the strongest possible terms that the house sparrows find somewhere else to live.

Luther, the healthier of Julie's two rehab phoebes, has been living free and wild for several days now. He still begs the occasional meal from us (and flies down to eat mealworms from our hands). And he obliges us by perching where we can take pictures of him. He is, I would wager, the most photographed eastern phoebe of all time. More (and better stuff) about the phoebes on Julie's blog.

Our dominant male ruby-throated hummingbird has a knack for choosing artistic perches. He is also relatively tamish, so my stumbling and fumbling around with a scope and tripod and camera does not frighten him away. I wish he'd speak to our indigo bunting friend.

This image, capturing the color on his gorget, was pure luck.


On July 1, 2006 at 8:43 PM Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,

What's wrong with house sparrows? I'm a new birder (thanks to reading yours, Julie's, and birdchicks' blogs, if I may say) but I've always loved these delightful little creatures with so much personality. As per the song by the Be Good Tanyas, "The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs". Pray enlighten me.

Dea Lloyd
Victoria, BC

On July 2, 2006 at 12:20 AM Anonymous said...

The dad bluebird feeding young'un cracked me up.

On July 3, 2006 at 11:47 AM Bill of the Birds said...


House sparrows are non-native birds introduced to N. America from Europe in the late 1800s. They are aggressive cavity nesters and often kill other native birds (such as bluebirds) to take over their nesting sites.

We normally control the house sparrows, giving them no peace, removing their nests as they build them. Otherwise, over time, we'd have nothing but house sparrows nesting in our boxes.

On July 3, 2006 at 6:31 PM Anonymous said...

Ah. Thanks for the info.