Paula's Patch: A Minnesota Garden

Come wander in; my gate is always open! Gardening / Birding

Curious Cardinal April 1, 2011

This male cardinal was so cute. Usually my visiting cardinals just grab a piece of food and fly away, but this male was particularly curious. He landed on all the things I have around the feeder area and just sat there checking them out like he’d never been in this neck of the neighborhood before!

cardinal, malePretty funny since I’m sure this is the male that’s been around for years. I’m glad he’s feeling comfortable enough to stay for a longer visit. :-)

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Downy Woodpecker March 21, 2011

We have several families of downy woodpeckers, but there is one male from last year’s brood that is the most frequent visitor to the feeders I have outside my kitchen window.

Since he was born nearby and has always come to our feeders for sustenance, he isn’t the least bit shy. He’s really quite funny to watch. He checks out all the feeders and hangs out on the top of the fence or trellis. None of our other downy woodpeckers do this. They are much too jumpy, grabbing their food and flying off. I rather like that he seems comfortable hanging out. Here he is getting nourishment. Isn’t he cute?
(click images to enlarge)

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Female Cardinal March 7, 2011

I’ve been thinking about getting an outdoor web cam that is motion-sensitive. During the winter months, I don’t have a very good spot to capture photos of our birds visiting the feeders outside our kitchen window.

I’ve tried to have my camera at the ready, but just about the time I’m in position, focused and zoomed, the birds are long gone!

Well, one Saturday morning, my female cardinal must have been particularly hungry. She usually is quite flighty, grabbing her food and scooting away.  Well she sat so long, I was able to get a good shot of her even though she was on the back side of the feeder. She’s really so pretty and quite a private gal, just ducking out of view. :-)

Hope you have some of these beautiful birds visiting your feeders too. They are so regal with that little “crown” of feathers on top of their head.

I’d love to hefemale cardinal imagear what birds are at your feeders this time of year – leave a comment below.

Crystal, one of the editor’s of Birds and Blooms, posted an article on their blog recently about the female cardinal. Get more interesting tidbits about this little lady (the cardinal) on the blog. There is also a great picture of a cardinal pair that accompanies the story.

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Wow, the Snow! December 14, 2010

I don’t know the exact total for our area, but we received 12-20″ of snow on Saturday. All activities cancelled and no one moving about on the roads. It snowed heavily and by evening the winds made blizzard-like conditions.

Now, there is nothing quite like an unexpected day cooped up in the house! Especially right before Christmas. My hubby and I slept in late, then spent the whole day baking in the kitchen. We made assorted treats, Italian panettone bread and prepped dough for the freezer which we’ll use when the kids are home to make focaccia, pizza, etc.

Doug went out a couple of times during the day to clear snow off our feeders for the birds. Our female cardinal was particularly hungry – she looked so cute sitting in our feeder with snow all over her beak. :-)

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Here she is in our dogwood bush – look hard; she’s camouflaged! female_cardinal_during_snowstorm_web_img

 

 

 

 

OK – don’t forget to click the images for a bit larger view. I had to take these from my living room window, so they are not the best. I’m lobbying for an outdoor cam that I can mount by my kitchen window. I’ll have to do a little research to see what I can find that will activate with motion.

 

This is the first in a long time that I can remember snow so deep it blocked our back door (image on left)!
I hope all of you in the Midwest got the chance to stay indoors and enjoy the beauty of an untouched, quiet snowfall.

drift_by_back_door_web_image snow_depth_after_storm_12-11-10_web_img

 

Hairy Woodpecker Visits July 22, 2010

One of the several varieties of woodpeckers that visit our feeders is the hairy. He is much larger than the downy, about the size of a red-bellied, and is very vocal.

The male, female and juveniles visit regularly. The juveniles have grown up with us running around the yard and don’t hesitate to eat if we’re nearby. The adults are a bit more apprehensive and chirp loudly when they want to come and eat. I think they hope we’ll go in the house, but they are becoming more brave. Now they will eat if we stay fairly still.

I captured this shot of the male. Notice the chickadee hanging on the screen underneath the feeder waiting his turn. Our feeders (2) have been busy! [Once again, apologies for the quality of the image - I'm a terrible photographer. Click image for a larger view.]

hairy woodpecker image

hairy woodpecker

 

Birds, Blooms and Squirrels! June 17, 2010

I have a few more birds and blooms pics to share with you today. Our safflower and suet feeders are very busy with male and female birds feeding their young ones. We find these 2 specific foods provide the best bird-watching since they attract the songbirds and all the crazy birds that can hang upside down to eat the suet. These images are the males either feeding their babies (actually captured on camera), or gathering food to take to their babies.

Male downy woodpecker with baby -

Male, red-bellied woodpecker gathering food for a nearby baby -

red-bellied_woodpecker_male

We also have caught and relocated 3 squirrels with at least a couple more to go. I suppose we attract them because we have food and water out for the birds. Ugh. They are digging up plants, and worse yet, they disrupt bird nests that have eggs in them! Although I’ve never seen it, I was told they eat baby bird eggs! Out you go you furry little creatures; you are not welcome here. :)

squirrel web image squirrel_web_image

They are kinda cute, but in someone else’s yard!

Please forgive the blurriness of the photos – amateur photographer + 3 year-old digital camera + continuous shots=blurry.

 

Red-Bellied Woodpecker June 8, 2010

We have such a variety of woodpeckers that visit our yard and suet feeders. During the past few years, we’ve seen the hairy, downy, yellow-bellied sapsucker, and red-bellied woodpeckers.

The downy woodpecker is our most frequent visitor and is about 6 inches long. They have been coming to our yard for so many years now, that they don’t really pay much attention to us. We can be sitting right under one of our suet feeders in our swing and they’ll come and eat.

We also have a hairy woodpecker family nesting nearby that frequents the feeders. They are a bit more cautious and usually wait until we go inside to come and eat. The hairy woodpecker is larger than the downy measuring 9 inches.

Our favorite visitor as of late has been a female red-bellied woodpecker and her baby. They are slightly larger than the hairy at 9 1/4 inches. They come to quickly extract a piece of suet or a gulp of grape jelly and exit as fast as they came. I was surprised to see this woodpecker at my grape jelly container. I’d put it out for our orioles (which I can NEVER get a pic of – they come and go too quickly!) and they are also enjoying it. I guess they like fruit – who knew? I’m also going to put a half an orange out for them near the grape jelly feeding area. I already have one for the finches and orioles but it’s near a feeder that is close to the ground. I don’t think they will venture that close to us. I sat in the yard armed with my camera, but they can sense when we’re around. No sooner did we go in the house, and she was at the suet feeder!

I’ve been trying to capture the momma in action. I have a couple of pictures to share…they aren’t great because she was on the move. By the time I could zoom and shoot; she’d be gone! I hope you enjoy them even if they are a bit blurry.

You can get a slightly larger view by clicking each image.

 

 
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