What does one do to keep busy when it is cold and raining? If you are a birder, enjoy feeding, watching and photographing them, then that is how you spend your time.
Cold and rainy weather, especially this time of year, can cause birds to temporarily interrupt their migration to their northern breeding ranges, laying over in areas until they can continue on their journey. Storms can also cause birds to move to lower elevations.
We have had quite the variety of birds visiting our yard over the last two days. It will be interesting to see how soon they continue on their way. Some, such as the Juncos, Chipping and White-crowned Sparrows left before this last spell of wet, cold weather. Our rainy weather should be over tomorrow. It will be nice to see the sun, but sad to see some of these birds leave.
In past years, I would have been lucky to see one male Western Tanager. This past week I have had three males, two females and several younger adults. They have stayed during this weather system to enjoy the suet, oranges and jelly I put out for the Bullock’s Orioles. Today, for the first time in two days, I have seen them hunting in the trees, bushes and scrubs, which is a good sign.
A shy Western Tanager
Guess, I got carried away! They are giving me a lot of opportunity to photograph them.
Also, we have Green-tailed Towhees, Lazuli Bunting, Pine Siskin’s, Cedar Waxwings, Virginia’s Warblers along with the usual suspects. I am on my second sack of oranges, which not only the Orioles and Tanagers enjoy, but also the House Finches.
I believe, during these past few days, Howard and I have helped some of these birds survive. They have been cold and wet, pretty drenched. You should see the feeding frenzy this weather has caused, it has been quite the show and is still going on.
I put out peanuts for the Jays, mixed seed with corn for the Doves and others, suet for the Woodpeckers, oranges and jelly for the Orioles, sugar water for the Hummingbirds, which the Orioles drink. I have noticed, as an example, the Scrub Jay’s, eating from the suet feeders, which I believe is to feed their young. The suet is a great source of food for birds.
I watched a pair of Scrubs work so hard to build a lovely, sturdy nest in a pine tree right where all the feeders are located. At first the Scrubs would chase away all birds that attempted to eat. It was a losing battle and they wisely decided to abandon their lovely first nest and relocate. I don’t know where they moved. The Scrubs would have gone crazy with all the recent activity.
So, if you are ever stuck inside, want some entertainment, have a few quarters laying around, purchase some bird seed and enjoy the show!
I had so much fun today taking photos of my feathered friends!
Males, display colorful plumage attracting females for mating.
Searching for the “right” location to build a nest.
Females and males hunt for food to feed their young.
On a cloudy day, I captured these photos west of Loveland at a natural area called Bobcat Ridge. Flocks of Chipping Sparrows and American Goldfinches flitted in the Cottonwood and Crabapple trees, swooping down to eat in a beautiful field of Dandelions.
The next time you bend down to remove a Dandelion from your yard, take a moment to consider leaving it there to feed the numerous migrating and nesting birds that feed on these herbaceous perennial plants. The Dandelion is a beneficial food source for them.
My friend Linda and I decided we needed a photo day, so we headed west (toward Rocky Mountain National Park) out of Loveland to see what we could find to shoot. We happened upon not one, but two Llama farms. These gals and guys are fun to photograph.
As I mentioned in one of my previous post, the Bullock’s Orioles have migrated north. Some will nest and spend the summer here in Loveland, Colorado. I look forward to their arrival every spring and enjoy seeing them in my yard. I have seen six males at my feeders so far, no females.
These photos were taken using my Canon 70D with Tamron 600mm lens.