Friday, May 28, 2010

Scaled Quail

Two of these gorgeous Scaled Quails came near our yard this evening. We had seen one on the other side of the park where we live about a month ago. They are sometimes called "Cottontops" because of their little white topknots. Their numbers are decreasing due to habitat destruction. They are more common in the dry, desert areas such as the Permian Basin than the Bobwhite Quail.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bewick's Wren

The picture above is a Bewick's Wren. One came to our yard last night. It is a precious, interesting, cute, and very tiny bird (5-1/2 inches). It looks a little like a miniature Cactus Wren. The photo is from Wikimedia Commons. I looked for a photo that shows the bird with its mouth open because that is what I saw. It never shut up and it flicked its tail in a prissy manner the whole time it was here. This little bird is here in the Permian Basin year-round. Since insects make up 97% of its diet, and seeds only about 3%, I may not see it often at my feeder.

The picture on the left is a Great Crested Flycatcher. It has been to the yard several times briefly and I had not been able to identify it until now. In retrospect, I believe I have seen this bird in the trees several times and mistook it for a Western Kingbird because of the yellow belly. It is about 9 inches in length and has a very proud, regal appearance. It breeds here in the summer. It eats insects and fruit. I didn't see it feed while it was here, but it has come into the yard on three different days so something is attracting it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Morning Red Eye!

The Bronzed Cowbird is distinguishable from the Brown-headed Cowbird by his red eye and prominent neck ruff. He also has very bluish-green wings and is a pleasure to see. He has been feeding in the yard off and on this morning.

The yard is full of birds this morning after our rain, hail, and tornado watches yesterday and last night. A number of fledglings are begging to be fed, though they seem to be pretty good at eating independently when they have to.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Canyon Towhee

I have been trying to identify this bird for about a week now. At first I thought it was a Say's Phoebe. It is about that size and overall color but it differs in that it has a rusty cap and undertail. It also has a necklace of dark spots on its chest.

It lives in the Permian Basin all year long and may mate for life. I believe I have seen a female too but need another look to be sure.

A male and two female Bullock's Orioles were in the yard this morning. Such an electric orange!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another Viewing Day with Cousin Carol

Cousin Carol came over Friday, May 7, and we sat in our perfect viewing spot and watched the kaleidoscope of birds for about 5-1/2 hours or so.We saw: male and female Lark Buntings, White-Crowned Sparrows, Eurasian Collared Doves, Say's Phoebe, White-Winged Doves, female Brown-headed Cowbird, male and female House Finch, European Starlings, male and female Golden-Fronted Woodpeckers, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Western Kingbirds, Cactus Wren, and a hawk of some kind.

Carol identified two additional birds: A yellow male House Finch (diet causes the variant) and a female Black-headed Grosbeak (top). They are evidently migrating through here on the way to Mexico/South America.The male was here for about five days but didn't show up on Friday. The males show up here in the spring before the females.

Tom and I had a visit from a female and three young Yellow-Headed Blackbirds yesterday (right). They were in the Mesquite tree early this morning but did not come into the yard to feed with the other birds. They stay in Texas for the summer, but maybe they are migrating to a different locale in Texas because we only saw the males for one day and have not seen them again.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Red-Winged Blackbird

I put up a thistle sock a week or so ago, thinking the House Finches would enjoy it. Just now, a Red-winged Blackbird was feeding on it. The Woodpeckers, Orioles, and Grosbeaks, both male and female, come frequently to the feeders.

I just looked up to see a beautiful little bird, maybe a Finch of some sort, kind of chartreuse colored. I haven't identified it yet.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My beautiful Orioles, Woodpecker, and Grosbeaks

The Bullock's Oriole has frequented the apple I put in the yard for the birds. Yesterday a female (see picture) appeared and she has been back this morning. She is not quite as pale as the picture shows.

There were two Black-headed Grosbeaks here at the same time this morning. They have taken up residence in the Mesquite tree just outside the fenced part of my yard. It looks like they plan to stay, at least a while. They have come to the feeders frequently during the day since they first showed up.

All of the birds love the apples I am putting out (except for the doves). The Golden-Fronted Woodpecker comes at least once or twice daily.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bullock's Oriole

This beauty came to the yard this morning. At first I thought it was another Grosbeak, but it has more vivid orange coloring and a more definite white stripe on the wing. The Bullock's Oriole also has orange above the eye and a black stripe through the eye.

The Bullock's Oriole breeds here during the summer. It enjoyed a bite or two of the apple we put out before it flew away. The Black-Headed Grosbeak and the Golden-Fronted Woodpecker have both been here this morning, several times.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Black-Headed Grosbeak

I can't find a good picture that I can show. You can follow the link to to see this beauty. He is much more vivid than the picture shows. His orange is very bright and his black is very dark.

He has spent the day in our yard, eating seed and sharing an apple with our Golden-Fronted Woodpecker. He spends his winter south of us and is headed north for the breeding season. Thrilled to have him!