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American Goldfinch

Anyone who says pigs can’t fly, has never fed American Goldfinches!

Here, one of the very first signs that spring is on its way, arrives with a racket. Birds. Lots of them. As the first teasing warm days appear, so do my winged friends.  The bright yellow of the American Goldfinch, is a welcome spot of color after the long dreary winter months.  I keep a list of all the birds that have been seen in (and over), my yard. Everything from the constant company of the little Junco’s that flit around, to the Bald Eagle who soars over the yard on the way to his nest. The bird count is now over 50!

I would like to send out a huge thank you to my talented daughter Avery, who contributed several pictures to this post through her endless patience watching and waiting for a chance to catch many of these birds 🙂 Now, on to more birds!

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

A large portion of the spring-time racket is caused by this guy, the Pileated Woodpecker. Not only does he create a riot of noise as he drills into tress looking for a meal, but his loud, shrill call pierces the air all around him.

Violet-green Swallow in a Bluebird box

This Violet-green Swallow is laying claim to this Bluebird box.

There is one bird who we watch for with special anticipation. The calendar may say spring, but for our family, we know it’s not here until the swallows arrive. The little Violet-green Swallows wow us with their wild acrobatics. It’s impossible not to smile as you watch them swirling and diving through the air. They come swooping through the yard on dive-bomb like missions, gobbling up all the little insects that become active with the warmer weather. They move about so quickly this picture of the mama swallow staking out her box, is the only decent picture of them I have.

Juvenile Oregon Junco

Juvenile Oregon Junco

This little guy is a juvenile Oregon Junco. Exploring the world with his newfound freedom, he flew into the shop through an open door, and perched on the highest spot he could find.  🙂

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Some birds are bigger than others, and there is a wide variety of hawks in the area. This Red-tailed Hawk likes to sit on the fence posts around the garden waiting for lunch to make an appearance.

Yellow House Finch, Black-headed Grosbeak, Black-capped Chickadee, Red House Finch

Yellow House Finch, Black-headed Grosbeak, Black-capped Chickadee, Red House Finch – photos by Avery

All the movement and color make for a very happy, active yard.

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove – photo by Avery

This Mourning Dove thinks she’s invisible. Their “crying” in the early morning hours gives them their unique name.

baby Anna's Hummingbird

baby Anna’s Hummingbird

 juvenile Anna's Hummingbird

juvenile Anna’s Hummingbird – photo by Avery

 

 

 

 

 

 

adult Anna's Hummingbird

adult Anna’s Hummingbird – photo by Avery

The dominant species of hummingbird in the area is the Anna’s Hummingbird. It’s great to be able to watch them throughout the season.  Not long after hatching they are little more than a ball of fluff with a very long beak! They have an awkward “teenage” phase just like people do, but by the end of the summer, they are sporting gorgeous colors.

Western Bluebird eggs

Western Bluebird eggs

Even with all these feathered delights, there is a favorite… The Western Bluebird. We have placed a smattering of custom-built boxes around the yard, just to entice them to come and stay.  One year, a record-setting 8 eggs were laid in one of our boxes!

Western Bluebird

Western Bluebird

Due to declining numbers, the Western Bluebird was once listed as a “sensitive” species, but thanks to non-profit volunteer groups, this bird is making a strong comeback. As I write this, mama and papa Bluebird are “house hunting”. They go from box to box, trying to find the one that is just right.

keep the green side up,

~Beth