Cabin Fever Blues, Second Verse

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Just when I was about ready to fall off the deep end of my inertia, I looked out the back window and saw this Cooper’s Hawk sitting in my redbud tree. So I guess there could be some advantage to cabin fever after all. Seeing as how I never get to see this character that my neighbor has often told me shows up every afternoon…

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Cooper's 1-26-14 3519.jpg-3519Too bad the pictures had to be taken through the back window and a screen, but the bird sat there long enough for me to grab the camera and the lens and even appeared to be yawning, probably from the cold more than boredom with the photo shoot.

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First Hummer in the Yard

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I’ve had my hummingbird feeders up for a couple weeks, but I have not seen any hummers in the yard until last night some time after I got home from work. And to think if I hadn’t been dawdling before I went swimming, I might have missed her!

So it was nice to grab a long look at a very hungry female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird through the kitchen window, where one feeder is strategically placed on the sumac. I have come to consider the sumac a weed, but it’s still pretty when it leafs out and flowers later in the year and the birds like it, so it stays.

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Transformation almost complete…

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinches

The American Goldfinches crowding my thistle feeders are transforming themselves into their colorful breeding plumage right before my eyes. I’d say they’re about 96% there. The fact that this process is due to feather wear makes it sound rather depressing. I’d like to think they’re changing color with a little more pizazz than that.

I took these pictures through the back windows yesterday so they’re not very clear. It was also pretty windy!

Male American Goldfinch

Male American Goldfinch

Perhaps even more surprising than the breeding plumage was hearing Goldfinches singing today at the Portage. I thought I’ve heard them sing in May, so I think this is early.

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Now it’s back to the pictures I took today at the Portage and McGinnis: I’ll post some soon. 🙂

A Backyard Visitor

American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

I certainly don’t have anything as exotic as a Varied Thrush visiting my yard, but last weekend before I took off on the owl excursion, I managed to get pictures of an American Tree Sparrow who seemed not only to know he was the only one of his species foraging in my space but also recognized my awareness of him, and did not disappear on account of it.

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I first thought I spotted him out the back window, which, between the screens and the frames, is a pretty lousy view, so I decided to go out with the camera to test the light for my later adventure and maybe get a photo of whoever was out there.

(The yard was blissfully free of the Gray Squirrels who are aggressive feeder-raiders. I love my Fox Squirrels, that have better manners.)

Fox Squirrel

Fox Squirrel

Dark-Eyed Junco

Dark-Eyed Junco

One of many Juncos…

and a female Cardinal…

Female Northern Cardinal

Female Northern Cardinal

Lo and behold, it was indeed an American Tree Sparrow and after a few minutes of clicking away watching him forage, I got the picture below.

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“You lookin’ at me?”

Then he flew into a tree and “challenged” me again.

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I don’t think this is a new species for my yard, but I am almost reluctant to check, because then I tend to wonder what else I might have been missing while I’m away at work. I’m just glad to have had this encounter with the visiting American Tree Sparrow.

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