The birds in the backyard bring today’s photograph
series to you. Particularly a male red-winged
blackbird and a finch that photo-bombed the series of pictures.
Male red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) are very easy to spot—they are a glossy black, with red and yellow patches on their shoulders. The male red-winged blackbirds are the ones that people usually spot, as they’re constantly singing and flashing their shoulders. The females are a little harder to spot (as they’re more brown with streaks, and they stay hidden more often than not), though they may be mistaken for being a sparrow.
These birds (red-winged blackbirds) are abundant across basically all of the lower forty-eight states (though they may only be spotted in some of the northern states during breeding season). Their habitat is marshy areas (where the females will weave nests close to the water). They forge on insects and seeds, and can have a travel radius of fifty miles for feeding—but always coming back to the nest at night.
So the photo bomber is
a finch—and I’m pretty sure it was a goldfinch. Though it’s hard to tell color
wise whether or not it was in its mating colors (the brighter yellow, and
therefore male) or a slightly more drab color (which would mean it was a female
or an juvenile).
They are the only finch
species that molts its body feathers twice a year. They also breed later in the
year (towards mid summer)—when all the different plants (such as milkweed and
thistle) have produced fibrous seeds.
They are “strictly”
vegetarians—if they eat an insect it is solely by accident.
starve cowbird chicks—as brown-headed cowbirds aren’t strictly vegetarians and
the young can’t survive on an all seed diet like goldfinch chicks can.
Another unique fact
about the goldfinch—it is the state bird of New Jersey, Iowa & Washington.
Well I thought we were going to be settling into spring temperatures this weekend, but no…..Mother nature has decided to play with us, like a cat does with a mouse. The weather was beautiful on Thursday, rainy and chilly on Friday, and then plain cold on Saturday. The forecast claimed today was suppose to be warmer than yesterday (and in a way it was—just at 5PM and not earlier in the day).
So today’s photograph is brought to you by an rather irritated goldfinch that I accidentally disturbed at the feeder when I went out to top off all the bird feeders. I guess with cooler weather, we’ll be getting a lot of birds in the yard. I swear this weekend we probably had somewhere in the total of fifty to sixty grackles around two of the feeders (and they wiped out a small suet twice this weekend).
Its also nice to see that the cold snap hasn’t totally killed of the flowers and leaves that budded out already this year (though it will be probably fifty-fifty on whether or not we have a peach crop this year). As much as I don’t care for most insects, I want spring temperatures to come–I’m tired of wearing my winter jacket in the mornings and then having to carry it home in the afternoon because the temperatures rose by a good thirty to forty degrees.
This is one of my favorite times of the year to bird watch (I did see a bluebird the other day, I just didn’t have my camera on me [which has a better zoom than my phone]). I’m thinking that I need to make time to walk around Boomer Lake and bird watch to see what species are out on the water and flying around.