More birds and berries

The Chokecherries were the big hit on the menu this week. Just like the Western Tanager family a group of American Robins found them to their liking as well.

In fact they were head twistingly irresistible.

It’s amazing to watch them slurp them down in a single gulp and man the seeds in chokecherries are large.

Just like the Tanager family we watched earlier in the week the adults took time demonstrating where and how to eat this fall treat.

Birds and berries

Just a week or so ago we noticed a flurry of activity in the serviceberry and chokecherry bushes nearby as family of Western Tanagers moved back and forth between the two. It appeared that on this day the fledglings were being taught an invaluable lesson and getting a good meal as the result. While the male seemed to fly in and out of the bushes quickly picking a berry and flying up into a Douglas Fir tree to consume his meal mom gathered the two young ones and showed them how it was done.

A fledgling taking stock of the work ahead.

While the fruit was abundant the picking was not always easy and at times a bit of aerial acrobatics was required as mom show the kids how it was done.

As much of the natural landscape disappears it is evident that we need to consider other species in how we landscape our yards and what better way than by planting some berry producing shrubs and trees for the birds. This article contains just a few suggestions that might help.

In the fir: American Goldfinch

This summer a family of American Goldfinches has made their home in the fir trees nearby. Many a day have been brightened by their singing and the flight call as they move from treetop to treetop. A few weeks back we watched this male Goldfinch searching the ends of the branches in a tree with abundant fresh growth.

The trees were teaming with small caterpillars and this guy looks to have found a nice meal that afternoon.

Meal devoured and a victory pose well struck.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Before you leave

It’s hard to fathom but the time for one of our closest summer friends to depart for their annual journey south is very near. Typically by mid-August the small in size yet large in personality Calliope Hummingbirds begin their fall migration. This summer we have been blessed to have a handful of Calliopes living in the forest nearby and have enjoyed seeing them buzzing about the forest and also visiting the feeders in our yard.

Today we feature a few photographs of the females. Quiet and strong in every way.

The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird in the United States. It weighs about one-third as much as the smallest North American warblers and about the same as a ping pong ball.

This tiny hummingbird is the smallest long-distance migrant in the world. Calliope Hummingbirds travel around 5,000 miles each year in a big oval from the breeding to wintering grounds. They migrate north along the Pacific Coast in the spring, but return to the wintering grounds in Mexico via an inland route along the Rocky Mountains.

We bid you adieu and look forward to seeing you soon. Perhaps we could visit you this winter?

Wising you a wonderful weekend.

Those Blue Legs

Always looking delicate and elegant and with those beautiful blue legs in full display and American Avocet wades through a shallow poll in search of a meal earlier this spring.

It’s hard to believe many wading birds will soon begin the perilous journey back south for the winter. Given this summers heat wave across the American west we hope some the the pools and ponds these birds rely on for their fall migration have not dried up to the point of leaving them high and dry. Migration is a dangerous business and climate change is making it more dangerous every year.

Let’s Chat

There is a unique pleasure associated with spending a night camping next to the homes of a couple a male Yellow-breasted Chats during the spring courting season. Prolific singers in early morning and evening light but it was the all night singing during the breeding season that made for a memorable experience.

Males have a large repertoire of songs made up of whistles, cackles, mews, catcalls, caw notes, chuckles, rattles, squawks, gurgles, and pops, which they repeat and string together with great variety.

That all night singing had us thinking it was dawn yet it was only 1 a.m. and wondering wonder….is this a dream?

The Yellow Breasted Chat is classified as a warbler but a warbler head and tails above other warblers in size as well as having a somewhat distinct shape A large head and neck as well as a long tail really make the Chat a very unique looking bird.

Yes, an evening spent in chat is an evening well spent.

Good pickings

good picking A Black-capped Chickadee found this plant good pickings indeed. Plucking flowers and extracting bugs and seeds.

Sometimes right side-up and sometimes right side-down there was work to be done.

Wishing you good pickings and a wonderful weekend.