Amateur Birdwatching

February 23, 2014

When the weather keeps me out of the garden, but I really need to get outside, it’s time to combine some amateur birdwatching and amateur photography.  It was a cold but sunny morning and I headed out to see what birds lived in our neighborhood.

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In a stand of old trees at the end of the block I saw this male red-bellied woodpecker.  I heard his bird call first and then spotted him on some dead wood.

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In this shot of the red-bellied woodpecker you can see the long beak for pecking on the wood, his red forehead, and his zebra back.  I love the very blue sky!

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I was taking pictures of another red-bellied woodpecker down the block and realized when I got in the house that I had taken a picture of a female bird, with a gray forehead.

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This is the only shot I was able to get of a downy woodpecker.  The red patch means that it is a male.  Yesterday I had a great shot of a downy woodpecker all focused and the battery on my camera died, so I had to venture out today and see what I could see.

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I snapped a shot of this mourning dove all fluffed up to withstand the cold winds. It seems to be enjoying the sunny day.

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This was as close as I got to getting a shot of the male cardinal, though I could hear the bird song.

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The sparrows really love my bluebird house.  I have only had one pair of bluebirds in the yard and they were unsuccessful in raising their little birdies during a very hot summer.  I keep having to push the sparrows out each spring, to see if I can get bluebirds to come back.

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I see the sparrows peeking out of the birdhouse every day now, especially when it is cold, windy, and snowy.

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The berries are hanging on the Chicago lustre arrowwood viburnum shrub.  I wonder when they will be tasty enough to attract the attention of cedar waxwings or some other birds.

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At the bottom of the viburnum I spotted this junco, I think.  The picture is not clear, since I was zooming in from the kitchen window, but the bird seems to have found a cozy place to sit in the sun.  Maybe the junco tried the berries or maybe they are too frozen yet.

Other birds seen in the neighborhood:  A big hawk flying high in the sky, a robin, and other small common birds.  I read an article yesterday that there is a bald eagle pair who have been nesting in the forest preserve a few miles from us the past two summers.

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13 Responses to “Amateur Birdwatching”

  1. Beautiful…thank you for posting
    Green 400 Magazine

  2. We have a woodpecker of the same type as the first one you pictured. What a treat to see him whenever he comes by. Love your pictures.

  3. andrea LJ said

    Great pics! Reminds me of some sightings we had in Geneva, but I wasn’t disciplined enough to catch them with a camera.

    • Hi Andrea – This new camera is really able to zoom in a long way. Because of the sun I could not really see much of what I had until I got inside the house, and I was surprised at some of the clarity of the pictures. It’s fine to just enjoy the birds without a camera, too!

  4. bittster said

    Your pictures look great, quite sharp and excellent job in capturing those quick little guys!

  5. Lovely photos! I recently participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count which was a lot of fun, but I was too busy trying to identify birds to get any photos.

  6. dmheadrick said

    I love how gardening and birdwatching go hand in hand. Is that female bird a Northern Flicker?

    • I am definitely an amateur, but this female seemed to be lacking the black spotting on its underparts of the Northern Flicker, and the black and white on the back seemed to indicate a red-bellied woodpecker. They both have that gray head. I have seen a Northern Flicker at our bird bath once and that was a lot of fun.

  7. Love your blog – from it’s title to your relaxed style and wonderful pics – thanks.

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