We grew very fond of our birds in St. Louis. Bird watching apparently is in the Feary blood. Grandmother would gaze at the birds hitting her feeders just off her porch of her Cornish, New Hampshire home. Dad fed everything off his porch but thoroughly enjoyed the birds. Our Aunt just west of Blacksburg has a plethora of birds eating from her feeders.
We noted new sounds and odd shapes lurking in the trees at our new home here in Richmond. It took me some time but a few weeks ago our feeders went up. We have two “sets” both within view of the family room. One grouping of feeders is about 15 feet from the deck in the back yard while another is attached to the deck in arms reach of the patio table. A local bird store gave us some good tips on what to feed.
The birds have been very active, displaying hunger of birds in the dead of winter. They come in cycles although new species are now showing up on their own. Everyone gets along. Even the squirrels seem to have manners.
For the most part the birds here aren’t any different from the species in St. Louis. There are plenty of Cardinals and more Goldfinches here. The Wrens and Nuthatches are very active. We’ve noticed our little White-breasted Nuthatch will spread his wings and do a little dance. We theorize he’s trying to intimidate another bird but his prowess has no effect.
Tracey and I were welcomed to the new home in June by a Hawk on our roof. He was making a commotion early that morning and quickly flew away. A couple of weeks later, he (or another hawk) was on our neighbors garage roof. He quickly flew away after seeing me on my morning walk. Then last week Tracey called me at work in a rage of excitement because “the” hawk had perched on the back deck.
Tracey managed to snap two pictures through the window. Standing about 15″ tall the bird had a clean white chest speckled with brown spots. Peterson’s animations show this as a juvenile. From the markings and the feedback from the bird store we believe it to be a young red-tailed hawk.
Out of the blue today Tracey came through the house leaping for joy because “the” hawk was on top of a tree post in the back yard. I scurried to grab the camera and managed to get some clumsy shots both inside and outside the house. This bird looks to be a red-shouldered hawk from the back and clearly is a juvenile from the molting present in the photos.
In St. Louis, we were visited by a hawk once while barbecuing. It was quite the surprise. The hawk smelled the pork butt – my theory – and decided to hang out but didn’t like his picture being taken.
We tried like the dickens to attract Eastern Blue birds while in St. Louis. Our local bird man had every thing for blue birds. We never landed any and felt jaded. Well no more. Today blue birds came to our feeders on the deck. What a sight! A mature adult with a juvenile came for the suet. The adult would take the suet then feed the juvenile perched on the feeder. I did manage to get a good shot of the adult from the window.
Last winter I took some good shots of our Northern Flicker Woodpeckers. That was fun! We have several species here in the Richmond area. The new one for us is the Red-headed Woodpecker. These guys are shy so taking pictures of them is pure luck. Today I observed them going tree to tree before making a run for suet. Both the male and female have come down to say hello. The female posed for a picture.
We’ll work to get a few more pictures. I’m a little rusty at picture taking and will have to devote some energy to practicing with the camera. The humidity + air cooled camera lens = blurry pictures too. Of course I could just take easy like Sabre.