Backyard Birds / by Walter Kitundu

Well, so far I've seen about 35 different species of bird from my deck... that comes to about a bird a day, since I've only lived here a month. I have a few feeders out and it's been great getting to know the cast of characters outside my window. Above, A Scrub Jay who is a regular to my suet feeder. He's since been replaced by a bunch of fuzzy, grey-headed, fledglings who have decided my deck is their playground.

Pine Siskins are fantastic little birds brimming with attitude. They will squabble with anyone who tries to dislodge them from their rightful place at the thistle feeder.

This one sees an approaching threat...

An even bolder Pygmy Nuthatch, one of the few birds that will land a foot away from my face while I'm filling the feeders. Squeaking away until the sunflower or suet has been replenished.

Here is one - unperturbed by me or my camera. They always take their food to go, preferring to eat in the branches above the house.

I'm not saying that the Pine Siskins are all attitude though. The one above demonstrates remarkable grace as it surveys the thistle feeder, and the one in the video below... well I don't think it's old enough to know any better. It sure was a wonderful moment!

[vimeo w=398&h=224]

Purple Finches were the first to arrive and they still make frequent visits.

This one caught my eye from across the room. Such a striking colour combination.

They are good looking birds. I hadn't ever seen one until just a few weeks before moving in, and now I can't shake them.

Speaking of birds I can't shake... Band-tailed Pigeons are BIG, beautiful, travel in numbers, voracious, and very afraid of me. That doesn't keep them from emptying my feeders in one sitting. Here they gather on the line outside my kitchen... biding their time. A young bird lands amongst the adults to learn the ropes.

And then it begins.

The competition is fierce. If you can't find a place to land, improvise. They sit on the feeder growling at each other and slapping each other with their wings as they jockey for position. The video below shows what a Band-tail invasion looks like. When they take off the house actually shakes.

[vimeo w=398&h=224]


Unfortunately there is a window strike near the end of the clip. I tracked that bird into a nearby tree and it returned to keep feeding. I put most of the feeders near the window and it seems to keep the birds from building up too much speed lest they decide the window is their best escape route. So far a few stunned birds but no immediate casualties.

Thankfully, they come in waves so that other birds (and my bird seed budget) can have a chance.