Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Beautiful Birds of Autumn

During the 2013 autumn season, I have visited many different areas in search of beautiful birds. Below I feature several birds seen over the past few months.

A stunning male Wood Duck wades in North Pond

A lovely sight ~ Black-throated Green Warbler

A striking Carolina Wren fluffs its feathers

Feeding amid the leaves ~ Magnolia Warbler

A handsome Black-throated Blue Warbler searches for insects

A glimpse of a slow-moving Black-billed Cuckoo

Delighting in dogwood berries ~ Warbling Vireo

A common autumn sight ~ Golden-crowned Kinglet

A stately Great Blue Heron walks amongst the lily pads

The vibrant throat feathers of a male Common Yellowthroat

Scanning the nature preserve ~ Red-tailed Hawk

A lone Harris's Sparrow seen feeding at North Pond ~ Life Bird!

Two elegant American Avocets search for sustenance in the shallows ~ Life bird!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hummingbirds Galore, Baby Birds & More

Has it really been over three months since my last blog post? It is my wish to post more often, but I have had difficulty finding the time. My husband and I have spent the  majority of the summer at our country property in Indiana. Bruce has been working diligently building the house and has made great progress. Unfortunately, we do not have internet service yet, so I am unable to process photographs and put together blog posts until we return back to our home in Chicago.

We have so enjoyed the beautiful summer of 2013 in northwest Indiana. It's been a stellar year for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds! Wherever I travel on our acreage, I am able to spot these diminutive, energetic birds zipping through the air. I'm thrilled that more hummingbirds resided on our property than ever before. I placed fifteen feeders out at the beginning of the spring season, but had to add three more in July when the hummingbirds drained several of them in less than 8 hours.

Our resident Eastern Bluebirds raised two broods this year, though sadly, the adult male disappeared right before the second group hatched. Mom bluebird did a great job tending to her young even though she lost her mate.

I was able to locate a few tree nests and observe both Baltimore Oriole and Blue Jay parents successfully raise their young. As always, the House Wrens were busy building many nests in the available nest boxes. Currently, there are lots of tiny juvenile wrens flitting around our property.

Last year, a handsome pair of Eastern Phoebes built a nest in the unfinished garage of our new home. The couple returned and built a new nest in the same location and reared two healthy broods.

Below I feature several of the lovely birds seen on our acreage this summer.

A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird defends his feeder

A resplendent Cedar Waxwing perches on a branch

Crooning an early morning song ~ Blue-winged Warbler

A handsome pair of Sandhill Cranes lift off in unison

Searching the field for food ~ Juvenile Sandhill Crane

Ever alert! ~ Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

A radiant Indigo Bunting pauses briefly

Just moments out of the nest for the first time, a baby Blue Jay checks out the surroundings

One of two pair of Brown Thrashers seen on our property

A pretty Yellow Warbler forages for insects amid the leaves

A very attentive male Baltimore Oriole brings a plump, green caterpillar to the hungry nestlings

Little House Wrens can be quite demanding!

Our resident pair of Eastern Bluebirds claims the nest box

You can still see the pin feathers on this disheveled looking young hummingbird

No vacancy at this popular feeder

We will certainly miss all the exciting action when the hummingbirds are gone

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jelly Bellies

This year on our country property, we are fortunate to have two pair of beautiful Baltimore Orioles visiting our feeders and bird baths. One oriole couple has built a nest across the street in a majestic sycamore tree. We believe the other two have a nest in a towering maple tree close to where our new house is being built. It's been a pleasure watching these loquacious birds flying about our acreage and stopping over for a bite to eat, sips of water and perhaps a refreshing bath.

A brilliant male Baltimore Oriole sits atop the pole where the oriole feeder hangs

Relishing the grape jelly

Slurping the sweet, purple treat

A pretty female oriole with a jelly coated beak

Delighting in Smucker's grape jelly

A handsome male savors the fruity confection

The jelly tastes terrific from either side of the feeder

Sticky goodness so pleasing to the palate


A sweet, juicy navel orange appeals to this female

Orioles are not the only birds who fancy this gooey treat ~ Four or five Gray Catbird have been visiting the feeder as well

A tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbird (right side of the feeder) wonders what all the fuss is about 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Delights

Here in Chicago, sunshine and spring warmth have been especially elusive. My fingers are crossed that more spring-like weather will arrive soon along with a great variety of colorful bird migrants. This post features several birds seen during the months of March and April.

A striking Horned Grebe in full breeding plumage finery

This pretty Horned Grebe still sports its winter plumage

Wading in chilly pond waters ~ Red-breasted Mergansers

Always a magnificent sight ~ Wood Duck

A beautiful Male Eastern Bluebird perches on a budding branch 

Over the last two years we have had an Eastern Bluebird couple occupy one of the nest boxes on our country property. They have raised six broods. In February, we were delighted to see that the pair had returned and claimed the bluebird house once again. We have high hopes that the two bluebirds will be as successful as they have been in the past.

A pretty Hermit Thrush forages for food in the sprouting grass

The interesting feather patterns and colors of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

A busy Brown Creeper makes its way up a tree

The attractive russet feathers of a Fox Sparrow

A handsome Eastern Phoebe perches on a scaffold

Last year, a rather tame Eastern Phoebe pair built a nest inside the garage of our home which was (and still is) under construction. We are thrilled that they have returned and woven a new nest about a foot away from last years location.

A good stretch! ~ Barnacle Goose

This goose was seen at New Buffalo Beach in New Buffalo, Michigan and is not commonly seen in this area. Barnacle Geese breed in Europe and Northern Eurasia. They spend their winters in Europe and the British Isles. Some believe this is an escaped captive bird. No matter, it is most beautiful!

One of many Gray Squirrels seen scampering about this chilly spring