Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More Backyard Birds

 We've been continuing on our Backyard Bird Challenge, and things are starting to pick up as the trees leaf out, the weather warms, flowers bloom, and insects emerge. Turkey vultures have made their usual spring appearance. In the photo above, one is drying its wings before taking to the thermals later in the day. We get a big group in our trees every spring and fall.

I heard the tap-tap-tap of a woodpecker and tracked down this Northern Flicker. We have one that regularly visits the yard. Numerous holes in the house also testify to the fact of their frequent presence. My husband still laments that I threw out all the metal coffee lids when we moved in, as his grandmother had saved those to patch the woodpecker holes.

Although I don't like the Eurasian collared doves because they're non-native, they live in our yard, so I've gotten to know them better. I hardly every see mourning doves anymore because the collared doves have taken over some of their territory.

Another non-native inhabitant is the European Starling. It's feathers shimmer in the sunlight.

Fortunately we do have lots of non-native birds swing by. This American Kestrel is a beauty. Often we have a pair hang out through the summer, and I hope we do again this year.

Outside the yard but nearby we've seen red-winged blackbirds, curlews, and barn swallows. We hope we'll be able to add them to our list soon.

We're also trying to encourage birds to stay in our yard, by putting up two birdhouses that kids made. Desert Boy especially liked that he got to chose a spot, which was up in a tree.

We'll see if the birds agree with his choice!
I hope you've been seeing some fun birds lately. I have been paying a lot more attention this year, and it makes it easy to spot something that is out of the normal.

Happy birding!

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