Life

Bird Update 3 | Feathered Friends

There has been a nice gathering of feathery friends since the past blogs. I have some good news and some sad news.

The news will be given in the order it happened.

(Female Finch. There are a variety of finches, and it is harder to tell which females belong to which group because they are plain in color.)

Finches Are Not All The Same

After identifying the birds that have been visiting, I’ve discovered there is a difference between a House Finch and a Purple Finch. And due to this I now question if I ever had a Purple Finch.

Purple Finches tend to have a faded red coloring all over their body.

House Finches tend to have brighter reds on the top of their head and center of their chest.

(This little House Finch, among chirping sparrows, looks at me knowing I am taking a picture of him.)

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With that being said, the sparrows near this finch, yeah, they are confusing me! First, I thought they were field sparrows, but after watching some youtube videos on bird identification, I think they are probably chirping sparrows. I do tend to hear them make little “chirp, chirp,” sounds.

The chirping sparrows gather in hordes. I am not kidding! Sometimes in my yard, I will have 20 plus little brown blobs you see moving in the grass. Hop, hop!

(Chirping sparrows can be identified by their chirps, but also pay attention to the crown on their head. Notice it tends to be in a reddish tint.)

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Chirping Sparrows

(I rarely get the chance to take pictures outside because the birds are very skittish. But here is a nice shot of the chirping sparrows I caught today when I tried to restock the bird feeders. )

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So both finches and sparrows tend to make me guess, but overall I feel more confident.

Journey of the Mockingbird

I haven’t had much success trying to get a pic of this guy yet, but a new and kinda old visitor is watching. That is the Mockingbird. He is a pretty decent size, like turtle-doves. But mockingbirds do not tend to eat seeds, so I only caught him once stopping by for a drink of water. Before I could get my camera ready though, he flew away.

UPDATE: I wrote this blog on Friday, January the 27th. It is currently the next day, I’m editing. I haven’t posted this blog yet to you all, BUT I did get some new pics of some of the birds I couldn’t get before.

(Mockingbird- they can be aggressive birds. This guy tends to scare all little birds and points his beak toward my turtledoves. He can move on his legs quite fast. As for humans, I haven’t had any issues with him. But know that during mating season and when their hatchlings are in their nest, this lasts about two weeks, they can and will be fearless. Mockingbirds are growing extinct, you legally cannot hurt them or move their nest. They do a lot of pest control eating insects like ants and wasps!)

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Mockingbird

Ironically today, when I took the picture above with the sparrows, he was near my fence again!!! These birds, that I had so longed to visit, now are frequent. And due to this, I have to restock my feeders about once or twice a week.

Beautiful Goldfinches

A new face started appearing around my feeders and I had been waiting for her.

(Beautiful female Gold Finch eating thistle seed.)

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(Gold Finches can be identified by their bright yellow color. Males are very yellow, while females tend to have olive coloring. But check out their wings! Notice the black with white markings? That’s something to look for.)

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Importance Of Understanding Bird Seed

So I had gotten, with some of my Christmas money, new feed as I was running low. *Bird Seed tip: get seed at gardening stores or hardware places. They tend to have more seed for cheaper money.

Reading online about what seed attracts which bird was handy. I, as you may know from past blogs, I have a squirrel problem.

(Exhibit: A) 

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(Exhibit: B)

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(Exhibit: C)

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(Exhibit:D -The scoundrel)

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(Exhibit: E- Three scoundrels)

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So my plan of attack was to get seeds they, the squirrels, did not enjoy but the birds did.

 

Two seeds I saw consistently were:

  1. Thistle
  2. Safflower

Thistle tends to ate by finches, but also including chickadees, songbirds, titmice, and turtledoves. However, if there are other options of seed, birds tend to choose over it, so it’s better in a mix.  But for the finches, I put thistle in my long bird feeder for smaller birds, which the finches were rarely used anyway. The chirping sparrows tended to use it more.

But after I added thistle, I was seeing the goldfinches appear. Goldfinches also, like other finches, eat a variety of seeds, but for me, they only appeared after I had the thistle out.

Both chirping sparrows and finches eat more at the bird feeder now.

Squirrel Shenanigans

I also noticed that my squirrels were not visiting as much, if at all. The squirrels definitely didn’t take to either seed but were still craving the sunflower seeds.

Only one solution was left.

To which, I took out a spray bottle, set it to squirt instead of spray. Lifted up the window, and when he didn’t leave, I lightly squirted at the pole and at him.

He ran away. Pretty simple.

They still visit from time to time, but after getting sprayed they tend to not immediately come back, sometimes for a few days.

Now when I added the safflower seed some new friends emerged.

Carolina Chickadee

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So Beautiful! They take their food and fly away to eat it somewhere else.
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Caroline Chickadee Getting Safflower Seed

If you live more towards the North, these chickadees will have a darker crown and thus called the Black Capped Chickadee. But for the south, like me, we have the Carolina Chickadee, which has a less dark crown.

Some Birds Are Predators

Now for my sad news…

For those who have read some of the blogs about my birds, you’ll know I love turtledoves. One of my visitors was a carnivore, known as the Cooper Hawk.

IMG_6716.jpg ( >:/) 

Out of the hawks I’ve researched, Coopers are the only ones who tend to scope out bird feeders.

Mixed feelings overwhelmed me for the past days afterward.

I have about 5-10 turtledoves that visit every day, sometimes more.

Finding out online, apparently, 2 million turtledoves are killed each year for sport…and that still hasn’t diminished the population made me feel better that at least this turtledove was a meal for another bird.

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The ecosystem…something you shouldn’t get attached to.

Nonetheless, the comical side for others aside from myself, I was convinced I was just plumping up these birds to become meals. Then I remembered a few months back when I saw feathers on the ground. I wondered who I set up then?

Coopers can be bad especially if they tend to constantly cause problems at the feeders. I am glad to say, this cooper hasn’t done that. He got a meal. I walked towards the doors near the porch to try to get a better picture and he took off (with his meal, thank you).

There was no gore, nothing like that. But I still felt bad. And then I was ranting to my husband and one of my best friends, “What about the pictures of the turtledoves I’ve taken? What if HE was in the picture? And now, he’ll NEVER AGAIN be in the picture, cause some hawk just swooped down and got him!”

But you know, this is a way of life. And I don’t have to take down my feeders thankfully because that hawk hasn’t been a pain. So I am grateful for that.

(One good thing for turtledoves is that they blend in very well to the scenery.)

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Turtledove Photos

My turtledoves are lovely and funny. They tend to be prey for hawks because they walk slower, so at least my little birds are okay. Right?

These pictures have been taken after the incident. I feel comforted knowing, they still came back to visit and chill. There was one particular bird that often would stay by itself on a branch in my tree. I don’t know, but I always thought he was there for me.

When the incident happened, I worried if he was the one that got caught because of a few days afterward, no one showed up in that spot. But about a week later, one turtledove did.

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Just a reminder from God, we are not alone.

(My turtledoves just chilling and blending.)

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Being A Goofball

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(When you hear the woo-woo call from a turtledove, it tends to be male turtledove calling out to the female. Trying to…wait for it…”woo” her.)

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Some Newer Guests

I haven’t fully gotten him yet, but he was close to visiting!

A Blue Jay!

Now, jays tend to be aggressive from what I read, but turtledoves can be too. Still, one day, he may visit me hopefully. They enjoy peanut butter suet cake and seeds.

Update: A day after I wrote this, he visited MY yard. I am getting closer. But wasn’t able to get a pic. This is him chilling in the neighbor’s yard.

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I have a peanut butter suet cake out now, which can attract Jays and Downy Woodpeckers. Haven’t really gotten anyone to eat it…except one.

I am almost positive, I have a Warbler.

And the answer a day later is YES! Apparently warblers like peanut butter suet cake.

(Warblers, in general, tend to stay in trees. However, this little guy visited the bird feeder for some peanut butter suet cake. Warblers tend to be rounder than finches.) IMG_6833.jpg

(I believe from identification, this little guy is a Pine Warbler. Pine Warblers are round and share a yellow/green color. At first, I mistook them for goldfinches, but pay attention to the difference in the wing colorings. Goldfinches have this distinct white against black in their wings, pine warblers do not.)

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Soon after discovering I did indeed have a warbler visiting, I noticed this little girl.

(I believe this is female Yellow-Rumped Warbler. Males have a lot more color, but both share the yellow on the sides of their stomachs.)

My Favorite Bird

My one bird I was so happy to see visited me!!!!

I so hope he comes back!

IMG_6847.jpg(A Tufted Titmouse! They tend to feed in higher feeders, they don’t like coming low to the ground like warblers. Though, I’m hoping since the warblers are breaking their rule, that this guy will too. They enjoy spaces that are not so open, and many trees surrounding.  I’ve only seen him once. Like the chickadee, he tends to grab a seed and fly off to eat it.)

(As you can see, they have a small body coming from the family of Chickadee. Mostly gray, and big black eyes. They are so cute!)

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Anyhow, that’s enough for one adventure. Here’s to getting more visitors and tips 🙂

Happy February 1st!

(Cardinals enjoy seeds, like black sunflower seeds.)

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Can’t Leave Out The Cardinals

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Note: All pictures except the cooked turkey were taken by me.

(Check out my main blog, Inside Cup, here)

14 thoughts on “Bird Update 3 | Feathered Friends

  1. I love your photos of birds! They are so adorable! ❤

    Mockingbirds are endangered?! :O I had no idea.

    Aaaahhhhh, goldfinches too! I've never seen a goldfinch!

    Your squirrels may be scoundrels, but they are also cute. XD

    Aww, I'm sorry that the hawk got one of the birds. Glad he didn't hang around though. Great photo of him! 🙂

    Another predator is cats. I've had to place my feeder strategically so that no one could reach the feeder and pick the birds off.

    Turtledoves!! I've seen a dove once but I couldn't tell what kind. Your turtledoves are gorgeous! 😍

    Warblers, Titmouses (Titmice?), and Cardinals – wow, you have so many kinds of birds! You're inspiring me to try other seeds to attract more birds. I've only tried a seed mix of sunflower seeds and other small seeds because I wanted the Cardinals to come. I'd love to attract the doves and goldfinches and mockingbirds if they live here! I think I may have gotten a photo of a mockingbird once, but the photo was backlit so all I really got was a silhouette against a blue sky which made it nearly impossible to identify.

    Thank you for sharing your bird adventures! 🐦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think the birds are officially called Titmice. It’s weird, right? I actually have had three different cats that visited my backyard. I didn’t see any feathers. They just liked laying in the backyard haha. But my husband shooed them away. I may have squirted them with my squirrel repellent (water) haha.

      You may want to get a suet cake (peanut butter). The suet cakes aren’t that expensive, but you will have to buy a suet cake holder. I got mine at Walmart. Peanut butter suet cake attracted the warblers. But it will also attract woodpeckers if you have them nearby.

      Girl, I can almost promise you. Get yourself a thistle sock (at Walmart, and I’m sure other places the socks already have thistle in them.) And some extra thistle. Goldfinches LOVE THISTLE! It is a little pricey though. But if you want to get some pics of goldfinches, that’s the best way. 🙂

      There are at least four different types of turtledoves, it just depends on the region they are from. Mourning doves are my favorite 🙂

      That hawk picture was sad to take. He was standing on top of his food…cough. So I edited it so I wouldn’t be reminded of that. I would sometimes get 20+ turtledoves in my yard when I lived in Florida (that’s where these pictures were from.) Within a few days, the birds started coming back to the yard. But I actually had to stop with my feeders…because black bears were coming into the backyard and eating the bird seed…yep…BEARS!

      I put away the feed and I didn’t have issues. That was a problem in Florida they have black bears.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Titmice! Cool! 😀

        Yeah! I’m glad that the cats that hang around your bird-feeder are just observers. 🙂

        Thanks for the info! 😀 (I wonder also how easy it would be to make a homemade peanut butter suet cake…) We do have woodpeckers! They are so fun to watch.

        😀 I’ll look into getting that thistle then! I’d love to see them.

        Nice! 😀 I think I’d be happy seeing any dove. 🙂

        He was?! Oh wow. I don’t blame you for editing that.

        BEARS?!!! Wow!!! That must have been scary to look outside and see a bear around the feeders!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thankfully, I never saw the bears…in my backyard. There was a time when a group of bears were hanging out RIGHT OUTSIDE the neighbor’s door one time. …Not that there was a way to alert them.

        Just note…if you get one dove…you will probably get more, and those doves are eaters haha.

        There are ways to make homemade bird seed cakes and suet cakes.

        https://witandwhistle.com/2010/03/04/diy-peanut-butter-suet-cake-for-birds/

        Have a beautiful weekend! I know AR has been getting storms, stay safe!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m glad! But also, scary that you saw them at your neighbors! :O

        Cool! 😀 Aww, haha, they are bigger than the songbirds I’m used to, so I can only imagine how much they eat. XD I saw a few at my grandma’s once, many years ago. 🙂

        Oh, how fun! 😀 I can’t wait to try that! All I need now is the little holder to put it in. 😃

        Thank you! 🙂 It was a great weekend. The storms weren’t too bad; the main thing was the flooding. We can’t handle much more water down here! 😅

        Liked by 1 person

      4. When I lived in Little Rock, I didn’t really see any (?) turtledoves. I did see robins. I also lived in an area that was busy a lot and didn’t have tall trees for some of the birds we’ve talked about. Warblers and titmice tend to stay in high trees. So high bird feeders have a better chance at catching them. I was really psyched in Florida when they visited down.

        Stay safe from the flooding!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Aww. Do you get to see them where you live now?

        I saw robins at my grandma’s, but I rarely see them around here for some reason. I really like them and wish they would come around more.

        Then it makes sense why I see so many Titmice – we have a lot of tall trees. We are in the middle of woods, pretty much. 🙂

        Thank you! 🙂 It looks like we might be able to dry out for a few days now.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yes, I see all sorts of birds here.

        I haven’t seen warblers since but then again you have to have the right feed and hope to be in the right location.

        So glad the rain is coming down for you guys! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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