Bird Photographs taken near Fort Erie, in the last week of April
note: I've added a few new photos.
After a long winter, spring is slowly taking hold. We recently moved near Lake Erie and I am astonished at the numbers of different birds coming to the bird feeders or just flying around.
These photos were all taken within a 1 week period at the end of April. Leaves are not out yet. I'm taking the photos at the absolute end of my zoom so the quality is not necessarily great but the birds certainly are.
There are several other birds that I have seen but have been more camera shy.
I mainly use a couple of field guides: The Audubon Society Field Guide To North American Birds: Eastern Region It has photographs of the birds, usually male and female and is small enough to carry around in your pack. The second book is the Birds of North America: A Guide To Field Identification (Golden Field Guide f/St. Martin's Press) It has drawings of the birds. At first I though the drawings would not be as useful but in fact it is sometimes easier to use this guide. This is because they can present an idealized view of the birds showing all the characteristics that might not be seen in a photograph.
Rose Breasted Grosbeack have found the bird feeder. This is the same bird seen from the front and back.
Later he brought his lady love and they have been regular visitors.
In my bird feeder, they are eating sunflower seeds.
They have a nice song, similar to the robin's I think.
Mr and Mrs Oriole have started visiting. They are fast and shy so it's hard to get a good photo. I put up a hummingbird feader but I'm mostly getting Orioles. I bought them a fancy orange oriole feeder but they did not like it. I eventually found one they liked. Finally I started to get the odd hummingbird. He uses both the oriole feeder and the hummingbird feeder. I'm giving them 1 to 4 sugar water.
I've since replaced the hummingbird feeder with a similar one. The new hummingbird feeder also has a larger opening that makes it easier to refill and clean. Hummingbird Feeders 32-Ounce Set of 2 - First Nature (3055-C) Bundled With SEWANTA Bird Feeder Chain
Stunningly beautiful cardinals are coming to the feeders. They stay up till almost dark. Usually there is a Mr. and Mrs cardinal together.
Pair of Cowbirds. Like Cuckoos, they lay their eggs in the nest of other birds and let them look after the chicks. One theory as to why they do this is that because they evolved to follow large animal herds they could not stop to nest. They had to follow the herd to survive, so they dropped their eggs in other birds' nests.
Judging from the amount of wooing and cooing going on with the mourning doves, there should be lots of babies soon. The bird on the right is all fluffed up sitting in the rain. These are likeable birds but they shoo away the blue jays so not as peaceful as you would think.
During the day the robins are busy looking for worms and bugs. They have been sitting on top of my septic mound eating ants. In the evening there is often a robin sitting in a high branch singing loudly. It's a lovely song but he's probably just claiming his turf.
Blue jays come in packs, loud and pushy. They love peanuts and quickly land, focus on the prize then grab and run. They are lovely to look at though.
They have an amazing vocabulary including clucks, do-it!, creaky door sounds and just squawks.
This Common Flicker is a woodpecker that often feeds on the ground. He pokes the ground like it was wood. I think he is eating ants. Woodpeckers made a whole lot of holes in the wooden boards around my swimming pool. I don't think there were any bugs at all. They like to make the drumming noise, probably territorial because when they are actually eating they don't make much noise in the trees.
Small hawk caught and started eating a robin, in my yard. He was quite a small hawk. The red tailed hawks are much larger. The crows often keep a look out for them and try and chase them away when they come around.
Lots of goldfinches these days. They seem to prefer the tiny black seeds called nyjer. They also come for the black sunflower oil seeds. They have a high pitch peep.
I keep several small bird feeders around. The squirrels don't seem to like the black nyger seeds so they are easy to keep full for the birds. Sorbus Bird Feeder – Classic Tube Hanging Feeders for Finches Bird Seed and More, Weatherproof, Premium Hard Plastic with Metal Hanger, Great for Attracting Birds Outdoors, Backyard, Garden (2 Pack)
Little shy Junkos are quite camera shy and fly away if they see me. They only stayed for a few weeks and have moved on.
Lots of crows around. They mount guard and when a hawk comes around they chase it away making a huge production of the process.
I have several different kinds of sparrows. One is quite small. Little chickadees are very tame and will let me come very near.
A summer bird, the catbird is a lovely grey colour with an orange patch under the tail. They have the most amazing range of song and, besides the kitten sounding cry that gives them their name, they can imitate other birds and sing quite wonderfully.
They come to the feeders and eat seeds, take grape jelly I leave for the orioles, and pecks away happily at the suet.Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song
This is a an Eastern Tohee. I went for a walk in the bush at sunset and it was already very dark. This guy was rummaging in the leaves making a huge amount of noise. I managed to get a bad photo, using zoom to the maximum setting and using a flash. Not brilliant but recognizable.
A new bird for me is the Indigo Bunting. He was very timid and only stayed a few minutes.
In the last few days there have been a couple of new birds singing. I have not seen them but the songs are very distinct. I have also seen little purple martins flying above the trees and dashing here and there.
It's amazing how many more birds there are here than further north. (I am now near Lake Erie)
MORE BIRDS HERE: 2015 brings more birds
Some feeder suggestions
I had this feeder for several years before it broke, the birds really liked it and the price was right, cheap and cheerful: Perky-Pet HF92 Gazebo Wild Bird Feeder
If you want to attract goldfinch then this feeder will work, another cheap and cheerful feeder. It forces the birds to peck upside down, that's not a problem for goldfinch but harder for other birds. It's for the niger seeds: Perky-Pet 399 Patented Upside Down Thistle Feeder
Here is a much more handsome feeder that allows you to put suet in the ends: Perky-Pet 50144 Deluxe Chalet Cedar Feeder, 5.2-Pound Capacity
Many birds prefer a platform feeder. The most important thing is that it drains otherwise seeds just go mouldy. This one will last: Audubon Going Green Platform Feeder Model NAGGPLAT
I have not had much luck with bird feeders that were enclosed in large mesh to keep big birds out. My small birds don't seem to like the idea of having to go into the meshed area. What works better are meshed feeders with the mesh closer to the feeder. The birds cling to the mesh and put their heads in to get seeds. Squirrels can also get seeds but so slowly that they are not patient enough to do this for very long and leave.