Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Mom's Feeders

We headed over to Mom's to sort through Dad's clothing and other belongings to see if we could recycle stuff before getting the rest to Goodwill. A somber 4 days but we managed to have some enjoyable times here and there. One of the last things Dad did before weeding and passing away was filling the feeders. If we visited and I noticed that they were empty I would head out to fill them and get water in the bird bath.

Mom mentioned that she had not filled the feeders since because she never saw any birds out there so it was not really worth it. Besides, she is busy enough. I figured I had to fill them as the rains approached to see what would show up. It rained for 4 solid days afterwards.

It didn't take long for birds to start returning to the feeders after they were loaded. Kinda like, "Where was that old guy who fed us? Yay! Food!!". House Sparrows and other birds began streaming into the yard. I enjoyed trying to examine the sparrows to see how many were juveniles like this one who was picking at grasses in between feeder visits.

House Sparrow

Blue Jays were soon to follow and there was an entire family. Juveniles were everywhere of many species but the Jay kids were super hungry for most days.

Blue Jay

House Sparrows have never been uncommon at the house when the feeders are full but I was amazed by the numbers on this visit. At one point of the last day there were at least 50 flocking through and perching everywhere.

House Sparrow

Out front at feeder #2, a juvenile Mourning Dove stayed on the ground picking up the spilled food. You can tell young doves with their feathers looking more like scales instead of a smooth, uniform brown.

Mourning Dove

Even juvenile Boat-tailed Grackles joined in at a couple of times. It was difficult to get that iridescent shine in the rain but this one works for me.

Boat-tailed Grackle

Another juvenile House Sparrow perches on the feeder pole waiting for a turn to grab more food.

House Sparrow

A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird was seen many times but I never had the camera in my hands when she was out in the open. I had to settle for a blurry shot through the window as she rested in the Crepe Myrtle.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Despite the heavy bands of rain, once we had a small break the House Sparrows decided they needed a more thorough washing in the bird bath.

House Sparrow

There were several other species that flew through. There were Eurasian collared doves, Red-winged Blackbirds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and Starlings. On the final day, a Tufted Titmouse braved the mass of birds and took a chance at getting to the feeder.

Tufted Titmouse

When things got too crazy, it would retreat to the Crepe Myrtle and wait for the next opportunity.

Tufted Titmouse

We were packing the car to head home and I put the camera in the front seat. I decided to look out back once more and a juvenile Cooper's Hawk flew in to try for a birds meal and landed in the yard. I headed back to the car to retrieve the camera hoping for the raptor to still be around. It did stay but flew up to the power lines to keep watch.

Cooper's Hawk

The fun part about juvenile Cooper's Hawks is that they are not afraid of much. Too inexperienced. I got 30 close-up shots before we headed back to Orlando.

Cooper's Hawk

So, we got through the first wave of help to clean out Dad's stuff. We also got some good birding in the yard and saw Star Trek (I recommend it). I told Mom not to worry about keeping the feeders filled. They went through 3 fillings while we were there but they are fine on their own. Clearly.

By the way, I call it 'bird bait' and not bird seed. We only use it to bring bird to us. They are just fine on their own.

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