Tag Archives: Birds

~Water

~Grand Canyon, October, 2017

Water – I guess it seems like a strange subject to post about the Grand Canyon, but it is one I am still reflecting on.

After arriving and setting up camp, in The Trailer Village RV Park at the Grand Canyon, Howard and I noticed the birds, elk and deer hunting for water.

Not knowing anything about water resources within this national park, other than the fact the Colorado River flows through the canyon, after awhile I was complaining to Howard, “Why can’t the park service at least have a small pond for the birds to drink out of?”. Yeah, I beautiful pond with a water fall. Perfect!

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During our 4 night visit, I watched several species of birds trying to get a drip of water from the water faucets at the RV sites. Their size didn’t matter, from the smallest — Pygmy, White-breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatches, to the largest — Jays and Ravens, with every size in between. They expended a tremendous amount of energy for a few drops of water.

Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches
Nuthatches

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Notice a drip at the faucet and a drip at the end of the bill.

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Red-brested Nuthatch

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One day Howard and I were sitting in the coach and noticed a small crowd gathering near us. “What are all these people looking at”, I asked Howard. I went outside and saw an Elk at an RV that had just pulled in. I man and his wife were in the process of setting up camp; connecting their electric and water.

Water was dripping from a compartment on the RV. They were quite upset with this young Elk when it began drinking from the open hatch. I heard the wife say, “How are we going to get rid of him?”. It was funny and sad at the same time.

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A very thirsty Elk.

This Elk wouldn’t leave the RV. The site between us and this RV was empty, so I ran over there and turned on the water faucet. The Elk heard the water running and eventually went to drink from it.

It must have liked the water from the RV better, because after awhile it went back to the RV. By this time the situation wasn’t amusing anymore to the owners of the RV, because the man retrieved a broom and tried to chase it away. The Elk was very persistent, but non-aggressive.

One evening after dark we came back to the RV Village from walking along the rim and watched a small herd of deer doing the something.

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One day as we were walking along the rim of the canyon we noticed this sign. I guess I’am not the only one feeling sympathy for these animals.

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“Please DO NOT turn on the water faucet for the Elk!”

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Another day we came upon these Elk drinking water from this “ditch”. I don’t know if this is what they call a water “seepage” or not.

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Grand Canyon Stream Train in the background.

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Where do wildlife get water?

Here is a web-site I found, one of hundreds probably, on water sources in the Grand Canyon.

Spring-Types

Seeps and springs – the true local water of Grand Canyon – offer significant resources to visitors and wildlife alike. The water from Roaring Springs, for example, provides the park with its entire domestic water supply. And at even the smallest seeps, abundant plant and animal life grows and flourishes. In fact, the ecosystems of seeps and springs represent some of the most complicated, diverse, productive, provocative, and threatened ecosystems on earth.

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The Colorado River is one of the principal rivers of the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico (the other being the Rio Grande). The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. and two Mexican states. Starting in the central Rocky Mountains in the U.S., the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the ArizonaNevada border, where it turns south toward the international border. After entering Mexico, the Colorado approaches the mostly dry Colorado River Delta at the tip of the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.

Known for its dramatic canyons, whitewater rapids, and eleven U.S. National Parks, the Colorado River system is a vital source of water for 40 million people in southwestern North America.[6] The river and its tributaries are controlled by an extensive system of dams, reservoirs, and aqueducts, which in most years divert its entire flow for agricultural irrigation and domestic water supply.[7][8] Its large flow and steep gradient are used for generating hydroelectric power, and its major dams regulate peaking power demands in much of the Intermountain West. Intensive water consumption has dried up the lower 100 miles (160 km) of the river, which has rarely reached the sea since the 1960s.[7][9][10]    (taken from wikipedia

 

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Gray-headed Junco, sitting on top of a water faucet.

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Water in the Grand Canyon, not easily found, not easily explained.

 

~Its Coming!

~Loveland, Colorado, October, 4, 2017

Yesterday, a small flock of White-crowned Sparrows landed in the yard to partake of the “buffet” I have setup. Also, a Mountain Chickadee was spotted at the Sunflower Station. A flock of Eurasian doves arrived Monday and ate everything in sight, it was a feeding frenzy. They decided to leave, with just a few long-term residents staying behind. (Flocking up to head south.)

This morning other visitors arrived, Juncos! They are leaving higher elevations, because of the weather.

Two Hummingbirds are still hanging out at their Hanging Station. I tell them everyday to head south. It has been getting down into the 30’s here, so they need to go! This morning, one was sitting in a big Blue Spruce preening! Just go!

A hawk flew by a window. I think he wanted to partake in a buffet of his choice (a live one). He was too fast and didn’t stay for identification.

Other birds in the yard this week: Scrub Jays, Blue Jays, Steller’s Jay, Mountain Chickadees, Black-capped chickadees, Mourning Doves, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-shafted Flickers, White-breasted Nuthatches, House Finches, House Sparrows, Spotted Towhees, Robins (flocking up), and Western Tanager.

We don’t usually see the Mountain Chickadees and the Stellar’s Jay, which means they are coming down to lower elevations. We are at 5,000 feet.

Howard and I know what these sightings indicate.

oOo – Winter is Coming!

~Happy Birding!

Remember to assist them during the winter, and with their migration south!

 

~Birds-meet Scratch

~Loveland, CO, September, 2017

 

Scrub Jay (Scratch)
Western Scrub Jay

We named her Scratch. She visits Howard and I several times a day when we sit outside. In the morning we have coffee and in the evening we enjoy a glass of wine out on our deck. Sometimes, during the day, I will sit outside and read, she has been keeping me company. I have never experienced a Western Scrub Jay being so friendly.

Scratch likes when we are out on the deck. She comes flying down and perches on the deck railing not more than two feet away. Sometimes, she will sit there and sing. Her song is a very soft, pretty twitter. Of course we sing along, chirping the best we can!

We were surprised the first time she begin singing, because her voice was so soft. If you have ever heard a Scrub Jay you know they have a powerful, loud voice.

A few weeks ago she looked horrible, we thought something was wrong with her. We started calling her Scratch, because she was always grooming and preening her feathers. The feathers around her neck and upper chest were sparse. We now believe she was just molting; her feathers are looking very nice now.

What a cutie she is!

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who follow my blog. To all new followers – Hello!

I hope you are enjoying seeing the birds I love to capture with my camera. Hopefully, once we begin traveling again, I will have more nature photos to share.

To those who comment, thank you very much. I don’t always answer as quickly as I should, but know each and every comment is enjoyed! I love learning bits and pieces of who you are and what you enjoy doing. Take care and happy blogging!

 

~Birds-Bushtit

~Loveland, Colorado, August, 2017

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Eyes of grey,

the color of clouds,

on a rainy day.

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Cheeks highlighted in rusty hues,

the color of old,

weathered horseshoes.

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Gathering in forests,

agile and quick,

eating insects until rest.

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Songbirds we are,

our symphony of song,

sung from the heart.

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When you see us around,

smile to yourself,

loves abound.

💞💜💞

 

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Bushtit

 

These tiny birds travel in flocks. This summer we have enjoyed seeing them in our yard, but I haven’t seen them for the last several days. They swoop down into the trees, moving rapidly, hunting aphids and other tiny insects; constantly chattering to each other.

They are attracted to the suet feeders I have around the yard, but not the other feeders.

 

Happy Birding!

 

Note: If you would like to learn more about these pretty, tiny birds click here: Bushtits

 

~Hawk on Howard’s Antenna

Cold and snowy in Loveland, Colorado…

Current temperature, five degrees. Low tonight  -14. It snowed all day yesterday leaving us with about five inches of new snow.

While out shoveling the driveway, Howard spotted this beautiful Red-tailed Hawk sitting on his ham antenna.

I had just walked under the Hawk while clearing spots, in the back yard, to place bird seed. I didn’t see this beauty until Howard said, “Look at my antenna!”. I thought I was going to see broken wires when I looked up.

No wonder I didn’t see any birds anywhere in the yard, and haven’t for the last hour or so.

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I think he is watching me.
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Didn’t really seem to be bothered with me taking his photo from the driveway.

 

~Cold and Rainy

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.

Rufous-sided Towhee:

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Lazuli Bunting:

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These guys are hard to capture, always moving and wary. Didn’t capture the eye well, but he is showing off his gorgeous breeding plumage.
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Lazuli Bunting (photo taken through glass a few days ago).

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.

Western Tanagers:

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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.
A very shy Green-tailed Towhee
A very shy, elusive, Green-tailed Towhee (photo taken through my kitchen window).
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Virginia’s Warbler (this one was a nice surprise)
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Blue Jay
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Pine Siskin
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.
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A wet male Bullock’s Oriole
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Pretty wet guy.
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!