Sunday, May 8, 2011

Catching up with the birds

The birds outside our kitchen window have been keeping us entertained. Here are a few more photos from recent weeks.

On a windy, sunless day in late April, just before it snowed again, I spotted the neighborhood mourning doves in our buckeye tree. It was unusual to see them up there and to see their feathers so wind-blown.

It was calm and sunny when they returned a day or two later, foraging under the bird feeders. (This week we spotted them perched on the big feeder, something we also had not seen before.)

A migrating group of 15 or 20 white-throated sparrows spent several days scavenging for seed on the ground. They come in two varieties, white-striped and tan-striped, and they breed with their opposites. It rained much of the time they were here, but I managed to grab a shot of this white-striped one. (Later, a similar one flew against the window and fell dead; we and the children put plastic bags on our hands and had an impromptu closeup look which I did not photograph.)

On his way to Canada or Alaska is this American tree sparrow. I am so pleased that he and his friends stopped in for a day or two.

The male goldfinches have rather suddenly emerged in full summer finery...but they flee every time I get out my camera. Still, I love this shot of a tiny finch seemingly taking on a brown-headed cowbird.

How could I forget...robins have been back for a while. This makes it official: spring is here.

As if the real-life birds weren't enough, I keep watching eagle and loon cameras. Here's an update on the Hornby Island family: Alexandra and David, named for two British Columbia environmentalists, are 10 and 7 days old today. They have huge appetites and a bit of sibling rivalry, and their parents are already teaching them to get along.


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