Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall is in the Air

The birds are feeling the coolness in the Fall breezes! This little house finch looked so cute puffing up his feathers.

Birding at the Playground

I took the girls and my camera to the playground yesterday. The last few times I've been there, I haven't had my camera and I regretted it. I was able to get a few pictures of at least one bird. There may be two! I'm not sure what the bird is, but he's a cute little guy. The second picture on the right looks like a different bird to me, but I can't see the wing bars clearly.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

House Finch Conjunctivitis

The house finches are really enjoying our feeders, and lately we really haven't seen many birds other than the house finches. It also seems that we've seen more and more of them with bird conjuctivitis (pink eye). From what I learned, it seems that this disease affects mostly house finches and also gold finches. Last year, I only saw two or three gold finches with the pink eye. We saw quite a few more house finches with it. I also learned that there's not much that we can do. It's heart breaking.

Have any of you seen the little finches with pink eye? Is it just localized in the north Georgia area? The little bird below has the infection in both of his eyes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Soggy Little Birds

It's been raining here in north Georgia for what feels like a month! It has rained so much, in fact, that the Atlanta metro area was on its way to becoming a large lake. There are so many people who have lost their homes, and some have even lost their lives. We have been very blessed so far that flood waters have not been in our neighborhood. Today is the first time in about 5 days that we've seen the sun.
My four year old little girl looked out the window yesterday and asked me, "Is it ever going to stop raining?" Then she said, "It breaks my heart not to go outside." It breaks my heart, too! The girls are going stir crazy, and Mommy is running out of ideas to entertain them.
It seems like the birds were having similar feelings. We rarely see birds at the feeders when it's raining, but yesterday must have been a special day. The birds ventured out for a meal. They were so soggy it made me wish I had an umbrella out there for them.

Monday, September 14, 2009

House Finches and Song Sparrows

The house finches are hungry! We've started filling the feeders at least once a week. The gold finches have visited much less in the past few weeks, but we still see a few. Their population is diminutive compared to the house finches we've been seeing! This little one seemed to be waiting on us to take a picture.

Hunger is making them pretty aggressive, too. I was in the back yard and started to hear lots of chirping and wing flapping. When I looked up, I saw a lot of fussing going on. I was able to get this shot of two of the house finches trying to get the best spot on the feeder.

I was pleasantly surprised to see some more song sparrows in the yard. The were not serenading me, but they were very watchful. From the kitchen, I can't really tell the difference between the house finches and the song sparrows, and when I saw the stripes on this one's head, it was very exciting! I thought our entire yard had been taken over by the house finches!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


The first weekend in August, I had a little time to watch the hummingbirds in our yard. I'm always surprised at how aggressive they can be with one another! The dainty little birds and the fighting just don't seem to go together. When I was standing outside watching them, I could hear them hitting each other in flight. They are fun to watch! I wish more of my pictures were in focus.

It looks like the pictures below are of a juvenile male. In the third picture, I like the way the light catches the tiny but growing red patch on the bird's throat. In the last picture, I caught one bird chasing off another one from the red cedar tree (left) in our yard.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Let Me Serenade You

When I've been out in our backyard lately, a little song sparrow has been sitting in one of our leeland trees singing. If he's not there when I get outside, he appears while I'm there. When I hear him singing, I think about the Three Dog Night Song, Let Me Serenade You. It may be the only time I evere get a serenade, but it happens quite a few times a week!

I also saw him foraging on the ground underneath our cedar trees. He was protective of "his" territory and ran a couple of house finches off. I haven't seen him at the feeders off the kitchen window very much, but I'd like to get a better picture!

When I was watching the song sparrow, I also caught a glimpse of the female cardinal that visits our yard. Last year, we had three juvenile cardinals eating from the feeders off the kitchen, but, the year, we rarely see more than one cardinal at the feeder at a time. I'd love to see more of them. The female is very shy and flies off as soon as she even thinks she hears us. She is one of the prettiest birds I see in the yard. The picture below is what I see of her most.

Friday, July 24, 2009


The hummingbirds are finally back! They took a while to find our feeders this year despite the red ribbons. One feeder is on the window beside our breakfast table where we eat all of our meals. We're very entertained with the hummingbird wars that have already started. One little guy lands on the feeder, and another comes diving down at him. They fly off in circles with one another. One sees a chance to land again, and the cycle continues. It's great fun and terrific dinner time entertainment.

My four year old learned last year to identify the males and females. It took her a couple of times to get it right this year, but she is accurate each time now! I hope she always loves the birds!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


A juvenile male house finch visited our feeder yesterday. His feathers are just beginning to turn crimson. Some of his little downey, baby feathers are still visible right above his legs.

A pair of gold finches also flew in. I couldn't get a good picture of them together, but I was able to get a picture of each of them. I thought I saw a male gold finch feeding a baby at the feeder this week, but I wasn't able to get a picture of them. We planted a very small maple tree in our yard last year, and I'm hoping when it gets bigger that a pair of these birds will build a nest. We hear them chirping as they fly around the house and when they land on the feeder. It's been fun getting to know their voice, and now we know they're on the feeder as soon as we hear them!
I love Diane's description of the male gold finches. She calls the Generals. I think that must be because of the black "hat" the males have on their heads. The female in the picture below looks regal enough to be a general's wife! It looks as if she is posing for me in the picture below!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Indigo Bunting

To my delight, I was able to get another few pictures of the Indigo Bunting. Each time I see him, I'm amazed at how blue he is. I haven't seen him since I took these pictures, but I look for him everyday!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Barn Swallows & the Nuthatch

Last week, we noticed a lot of bird noise and activity at the front of our house. Birds were flying around and in between the houses, and they were landing on the edge of our roof. They were catching a breeze and gliding like kites. They must have been having a lot of fun! When they landed, it appeared that adult birds were feeding their babies. We were able to get several pictures, and we're pretty sure the birds were barn swallows.

We haven't seen any nests on the house, but I think nests might be close as the barn swallows prefer to nest in areas like roof lines. They also need mud to build their nests, and there are lots of places around here to have that.

The little nuthatch also came back to the feeder, and I was able to get a picture. He is a brown-headed nuthatch. The pictures weren't wonderful, but I was excited to be able to identify what kind of nuthatch was have visiting us. I'm hopeful he'll get more use to our attention and that I'll be able to get a better picture!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Indigo Bunting

Dorie and Hanks's little birds took off for the great big world, and I didn't get to see it. I kept a watchful eye, but it was not watchful enough. I'm hoping we are lucky enough to have another pair of blue birds use our little nest box as they're nesting site.

A new bird came along just as I figured out that the babies were gone. It was salve to my wound. He has been here for several days, and I was able to get a picture. He is a beautiful Indigo Bunting! I also believe I saw a Nuthatch, but I didn't have any luck getting a picture. Maybe he'll be back, and I'll have my camera ready.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Three Baby Bluebirds

John and I checked the nest box yesterday. There are three healthy babies inside! Dorie had four eggs, so one must not have hatched. I'm not sure if it's common that one egg wouldn't hatch, but I'm delighted there are three babies there. It's been approximately two weeks since the eggs hatched, so I'm guessing it's almost time for the babies to leave the nest. I hope we're able to see Dorie and Hank feed them! Maybe we can even take pictures!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dorie's Eggs Have Hatched

Today, my husband checked on Hank and Dorie's nest at about 3 pm. Hank didn't appreciate the intrusion. He flew down at John and flapped his wings at John while he was taking the picture of the new little birds. At least two of the four eggs have hatched! The count down to fledge day has begun.

Baby Brown -headed Cowbirds

Some baby Brown-headed Cowbirds have started visiting our feeders as of this past week. The female Cowbirds don't make their own nests, but they lay their eggs in the nests of unsuspecting mommy birds who raise the cowbirds as their own. Last year, we had one baby Cowbird who stuck around for a few weeks. My suspicion is that they were raised with House Finches. At first we thought the Cowbirds were House Finches, but they are larger and have a different beak. This year, we were able to identify the Cowbirds sooner, and we have at least two babies we see every day now. As they grow, they start to intimidate the smaller finches and walk on the deck like they own the place.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Female Cardinal

One of my favorite birds is the female Cardinal. I like the earthy brown colors that are complimented by the bright red. Most of the cardinals are skidish, so I've been trying without success since last year to get a picture of one at our feeder. I was finally was able to get a picture on June 11th. This may be a juvenile, but I think she is a she. She was eating some of the seed that spilled on the deck. It seemed like she posed for me for a couple of minutes!

In Dorie and Hank news, we haven't been able to check the nest since Wednesday. According to the timeline, it's possible that the babies have hatched. It's raining today, and we're suppose to wait until the weather is good to look in the nest. Hank and Dorie continue to be very protective. Yesterday, I looked out the window just as they had teamed up to chase away a bird. That bird landed in a nearby Leeland tree. Hank and Dorie continued to fly at the bird until he flew out of the tree. They were seriously aggressive! I'm hoping to check the nest for little birds tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Nesting Timeline

We should expect the little Bluebird eggs to hatch 12 - 14 days from Saturday, May 30th! On June 10th, we'll start checking for babies. This web site has been a great resource for the nesting timelines:

All of the babies will be named Hank, Jr. and Dorie, Jr.

All the babies should leave the nest around 17 days after hatching. I hope we're able to see them and get pictures when that happens!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Four Eggs in the Nest!

Dorie has 4 eggs in her nest!
Our neighbors have a nest complete with baby birds in a planter hanging on their porch. They are baby House Finches. I think they're 6 about days old.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Two Eggs in the Nest!

Yesterday, my husband found one egg in Dorie's nest. Today, we found egg number two! Bluebirds lay one egg per day and lay an average of 4 - 7 eggs total.

On Tuesday, we were outside and a bluebird flew up on the porch. It might have been Hank as he was a male. I went up on the porch with my camera, and he let us look at him and take three pictures. I was amazed at how close we were able to get before he flew off. The first picture is when he is looking at us The second picture is blurry; he flew away right over our heads!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tufted Titmouse

This little Tufted Titmouse is a regular visitor to the feeder. He takes one little peanut, flies up to the arm of the feeder, holds the peanut between his feet, and pecks away at it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More of Hank and Dorie's Yard Mates

We checked the nest again today, and there are still no eggs. Both Hank and Dorie were hanging out around the nest box, and they seem to be interested in protecting it. To pass the time, it seems that Hank has made friends with a couple of Mourning Doves. Below is a picture of Hank with them. Dorie was just to left of the group. The next picture is of the doves at the bath on the deck.

I was able to get another picture of a European Starling on the fence, and I can see more of the iridescent colors in on the back of the bird. I would think they were much prettier if they weren't a threat to the bluebirds.

A mystery bird sat still long enough two times for me to get some pictures, and my best guess is that it's a Song Sparrow. He's very cute!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Some of Hank and Dorie's Yard Mates

Hank and Dorie Bluebird are still hanging out in the back yard. This afternoon, I was working in the garden, and Hank flew at me 4 times! He was on the fence beside the garden on the opposite side of the yard from the nest box. He flew down from the fence toward the ground and me as if he wanted to land in the grass. He didn't land and changed directions to perch back on the fence. This happened three more times. I'm wondering now if he was trying to scare me away from the yard.

This morning, Hank and Dorie with the help of 2 house finches scared a European Starling out of the yard by making steep dives at him. If was so fun to watch! It's also interesting that the house finches are banning together with the bluebirds to run the starlings and the grackles out of the yard. If there is a bird gang in the back yard, Hank and Dorie are the bosses. The picture below is a European Starling from earlier this month. I was able to get a better picture of another starling yesterday and will add it to the blog when I download pictures.

I've been able to get some pictures of the house finches and some American Goldfinches when they eat from the feeders on the deck. The male goldfinches are so bright, and I think that's one our favorite birds. We've been seeing them pretty consistently since we put the feeders up last year. One of the most beautiful sites is to see the brillant red cardinals, the bright goldfinches, and the gorgeous bluebirds at the feeder at the same time. Each of the colors make the other colors look more intense.

The house finches may have already starting having babies. One of the little birds yesterday looked as if he still had some of the baby feathers on him. I was able to get a pretty good shot of him. You can see the little white feathers on his head. The next picture is of that same little bird and an adult male house finch. It seems that the house finches are plentiful at the feeders year round.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dorie's Nest

Dorie continues to build her nest. We were able to get a close up of it today.

While we were checking the nest box, Hank was watching us from the roof of our neighbor's house. From what I've learned, Bluebirds are pretty tolerant of humans. Doried proved that a little bit later by taking additional nesting material into the box.

We're also getting regular visits from both Hank and Dorie at the feeders and bird bath on the deck. They seem to enjoy a peanut and a drink every day, but they aren't tolerant of the camera. Below is a picture of Dorie on the arm of the feeder.
We saw how protective Hank is today, too. A grackle perched on the fence, and Hank dive bombed him. He flew down from the roof and actually scared the larger bird! A couple of house finches joined in the fight, and the grackle eventually flew away. I hope all the birds continue to scare off all the grackles in our yard!