Friday, March 28, 2008

Grackle Invasion

The common grackle has returned and I'm sure they will be nesting in the area and bringing babies to the yard once again this summer. The past few days it seems all the relatives have been here to check out the neighborhood. Besides the black oil sunflower seed, they are very fond of the peanuts in the shell and the bird bath.

They are extremely noisy birds with all their squeaking and cawing and screeching. A friend once described their calls as being similar to a rusty swing. Very apt, but imagine hearing hundreds of those swings at once. I took this video, not so much for the visual quality, but for the audio.

I wonder if my neighbors hear this and curse me for bringing all the birds to the neighborhood?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Robin = Spring

You know Spring is just around the corner when the Robins start showing up. Robins are resident birds here in St Louis, but during the winter they seem to vanish from the backyard. From my limited knowledge, I understand that they form large roosts and forage ...... somewhere other than my backyard. I have seen them in numbers at Creve Coeur Park during winter time.

But, it's amazing how much information they retain despite being "bird-brained." Here's the annual routine.

The Robins build nests in the trees in my yard. I've watched many fledglings feeding in the yard and taking their first bath in my deck-mounted bird bath. And some have grown accustomed to seeing me with a handful of raisins and fly up for the freebies. They patiently wait for me toss them out to them. I don't want to humanize the relationship, but yes, we get to know/understand each other. Then they leave for the winter.

Last week, one of my summer residents showed up again. He landed upon the deck and waited for me to toss him a few raisins. It's become a daily ritual once again. They are smart, you can't convince me otherwise!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Siskin/Finch ID-Challenged

If these guys would just come around on a regular basis, I'd be much better at ID'ing them! I cropped and enlarged these pictures and figured out that the first three are Pine Siskins. You can barely see the yellow coloring to their wings. The third picture seems to be the best view. This is my 2nd sighting of the PISI this season .... yes I am worthy ;~) It seems there was a pair of them "beaking" in the tree. I thought they were just a winter bird here ........ could they be pairing up before they head north?

Then I looked at the picture below and saw something different in the top bird. See the eyestripe? Could this be a female Purple Finch?

Love Is In The Air ......

..... and on my deck rail. The pictures tell it all. What more can I say? (Get a room?)