Category Archives: bird watching

Extra Large Pigeons

I know some people go to a lot of effort to get rid of pigeons…
But what do you do for Turkey Buzzards?
This is a nightly scene in downtown Morris, Illinois.
When the turkey buzzards return in spring, they roost on this radio tower every night.
Seems just a little creepy…

 

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How Cold is It?

It’s so cold the birds have turned into fluffy little cotton balls!
Temps were around -15 today and that didn’t include the windchill!

Did you know the American Tree Sparrow only spends the winter in northern Illinois? source
Goldfinch, winter plumage

 

goldfinches, winter plumage. See the yellow chin and wing bands?

 

“Somebody bring back Spring!”

 

American Tree Sparrow as ‘puffed out’ as he can get while keeping both feet warm
Downy Woodpecker, looking extra downy today…

 

Blue Jay was more interested in the squirrel’s corn across the yard

One thing I did notice was that the smaller birds on the ground were all hopping around a little strange. Kind of flopping a bit while they moved from one place to another and using their wings as balance in the snow as they hopped, while propping themselves up.
After watching them for a minute, I realized they were hopping around on one foot, holding the other one up in their feathers to keep warm. They would alternate feet every few hops, then sit down when they found the seed they wanted to eat, keeping both feet warm.
Hang on little guys! Only another 2 months and spring will be here again!

Junco keeping one foot warm

 

same for the American Tree Sparrow

 

Snow of Saturn

When did the Weather people start naming the winter storms?  We had Q (literally) and now Saturn… what were the others? Did I miss the memo?
Anyway, here we are in March already and Northern Illinois woke up to more snow this morning! I know we need the moisture but I’d love to see some spring daffodils instead. I’ve got the itch to start my new garden!
And from the amount of birds I have at my feeders today, I’d say they are ready for spring too!

grumpy goldfinch ready for spring!

 

goldfinches, cardinal & song sparrow

 

male cardinal

 

titmouse

 

female cardinal

 

assorted finches (yes, cardinals are a finch)

 

cold dove

 

cardinal

 

Young Baldy

Took a drive through Starved Rock State Park yesterday to look for bald eagles. Only saw a few here and there along the Illinois river. Some were flying, some were perched in the bare trees over the water. This one, a juvenile, was sitting in the snow picking at what might have been a fish.

Did you know it takes five years before a bald eagle gets it’s white plumage?

Why do Humming Birds Hum?

Because they forgot the words!
(Ha! Ha! Get it? Yeah, yeah, I know! Corny Joke… I got a million of ’em!)

It’s all for the humming birds this year…

Humming Bird Spinner

Humming Bird’s favorite flowers in hanging baskets on the deck

ivy Geranium

Double Calibrachoa  and a few others…
and feeders in every corner of the yard, filled with homemade sugar water…

 

Sugar water recipe ~ 1 cup sugar dissolved into 4 cups boiling water… cool to room temperature then fill clean feeders. Fills 4~ 8oz. feeders.

Bald Eagle Speck

See that little brown bird with a white head? It’s in the exact center of the photo! Look close!
That’s a Bald Eagle!
I swear someday I’ll get a telephoto lens for my camera! Then you’ll be able to see that eagle!
There is a river between me and the eagle and this is as close I could get.
Another photographer came up beside me, “Did you get a good shot?”~ he was holding his DSL with it’s big ole long lens…Yeah Right!
I had to crop this one just so you could make out that there was an eagle in the picture!
Anyway, the Eagles are back at Starved Rock State Park.

War of the Sugarwater

Every evening, about 20 or more hummingbirds gather in my backyard for an evening meal.

And you would think that with 6 feeders, there would be enough for everyone to share and be happy (I added a new, 32 oz. 6 port one today).

But no. Hummingbirds are little bullies.
They’ll spend their precious energy defending the feeders from the rest of the hummingbirds.
The little meanies are also chasing off my poor little chickadees who aren’t bothering a soul and even the sparrows are afraid of them!

The air if filled with the tiny sounds of  chattering, fussing and buzzing and the small sounds of tiny bodies crashing into each other. It’s surprising how noisy these little guys are!

It’s a wonder the feeders are emptied at all but, somehow, they mange to do it and quickly!
I just refilled them all today with fresh homemade syrup and by Saturday, they’ll be empty again.
There may be more than 20 birds~ but it’s hard to count them while they are racing around the yard in hot pursuit of each other!

Steve and I will sit on the back porch and watch them. This is our view from my table. I have two feeders hanging off each corner of the roof.
The birds will chase each other between them, buzzing by our heads as if we weren’t there.
One nearly crashed into Steve yesterday, stopping about a foot from his face.

The nights are getting cooler and they are gathering in preparation to migrate south.
They are building energy as fast as they can before they go.
I used to take my feeders down with the first frost- to encourage the hummers to move on and not hang around and freeze. But I just learned from a person who rehabilitates birds, specializing in hummingbirds, that this is a myth. The little birds know when to go and wont hang around because of easy food. But, by leaving your feeder up as long as you can into fall, you will be helping stragglers make it through their journey by providing them with a little extra food and energy.
And now is a good idea to make the syrup more concentrated to give them that extra boost. Change the ratio to 3 parts water to 1 part sugar.

All in all, Bullies or not, the littler humming bird is one of my favorites.

Ice and Snow at Starved Rock

We continued our search for eagles today, and ended up in the park.
A few were roosting in their favorite dead trees on Plum Island, along the Illinois River, watching for fish near the surface.
 we parked and walked to the waters edge to get this shot. would still love that telephoto lens, maybe next year….  the eagle is in the center of the picture
We’ve spent the last two weeks with the temperatures in the single digits so it was wonderful when it warmed to the forties today and everything started to melt.
 Just yesterday, this part of the river was solid ice and under snow.

 

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 my partner in crime….
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 Tree Puddles
The end to a beautiful day…….