This Is For The Birds

This Is For The Birds

Railroad walk 400mm-8
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Well I decided to make this post about the many beautiful birds I observed in my backyard and on my walks near my house these past work week.  birds feeder -6

I always loved seeing birds in the woods on my walks since I was a child.  My dad thought me the common ones, the robins, blue jays, and sparrows.  And I purchased a field  guide  while in college and learned some new species I encountered on my hikes.birds feeder -2

I have now discovered, with my camera and zoom lens, and the help of some new friends who are birding enthusiasts, how many different birds species  live in our woods here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It is truly amazing. birds feeder -4

Often I would hear a bird singing , glance at it and assume it is a sparrow or black capped chickadee. Now, I am learning that it could be any number of beautiful species of birds which live in, or migrate through our area. I have been spending more time trying to find, identify and photograph them.Railroad walk 400mm-27


I have feeders in my yard, when the bear doesn’t take them down or the squirrels find a way to get to them, all year round. But Spring is when they attract the most visitors.  The rose breasted grosbeaks, a Spring favorite,  have left my backyard on their migration, but I was excited to see this beautiful bird, one of my favorites, the indigo bunting, show up at my feeders this past Friday. .birds feeder -11

And I was even more surprised to see this bird share this limb with a house sparrow. I guess sometimes birds don’t have to be of the same feather to flock together. Like the rose breasted grosbeaks,  these birds don’t nest in our area so I will only enjoy them for a few days while they are passing through.birds feeder -13

The Winter visitors are still here,including  the nuthatches, black capped chickadees, titmice, mourning doves,  the noisy and bossy blue jays and the always beautifuls cardinals.birds feeder -19

The downy and hairy woodpeckers, very difficult to distinguish,  are also year round residents, here is a closeup of the downy woodpecker.birds -2

As are the house and chipping sparrows. This is a chipping sparrow.birds -22

And this is a house sparrow.birds -1

The Winter residents are now joined by  many species, such as the brown headed cowbirds, the goldfinches,  many species of sparrows and of course the robins. Here is a mommy with teaching her baby how to find dinner.Railroad walk 400mm-39

I always have a large flock of turkeys in my backyard. They hang out in the woods behind my house all day and spend hours at my feeders, eating the seeds that fall to the ground.  These  two old gobblers are always strutting around, trying to impress the hens and keeping the young jakes away. They are gobbling as I  write this early in the morning.turkeys gobbling -15

Yesterday I was able to get a few photographs of them while they were actually gobbling. I gobble at them and they gobble back. Well a lot of folks called me a big turkey over the years, I guess they were right. Here is a link to more photographs of the turkeys. 2-2

I also got to see a lot of birds on my walks in some wetlands near my house. I  ran into a pair of mallard ducks that I believe are nesting there . They flew out in unison a few days ago as shown in the photograph above.Railroad walk 400mm-5

And I scared them again yesterday.  This drake is doing a count Dracula pose as he takes off of the pond.   Here is a link to some more photographs of the mallards. -19

I was surprised to find this bird wading on one of the ponds. It is a solitary sandpiper. I only saw my first one at the PPL Wetlands last week, and never knew they lived  this close to my house. They are beautiful birds. I am not sure what he/she is eating but kind of looks like a leech or tadpole.Railroad walk 400mm-17

The red winged blackbirds have returned and many of them live in the reeds and thickets near the wetlands. This is a male.Railroad walk 400mm-33

And this a female.Railroad walk 400mm-34

And the chatty and constantly moving catbirds, have also returned to our area. these birds really do sound like a cat and can be seen fluttering from from tree to tree searching for food.Railroad walk 400mm-37

On my way home from one of my walks I heard what I thought was a catbird. In the past I would have kept walking but this time  I decided to have a look and discovered it was a great crested crested flycatcher. crested flycatcher green ridge -14

I wondered how many times I would just walk by many other birds just assuming they were common species I already knew.Great crested flycatcher green ridge -12

I am really enjoying this birding hobby, almost as much as my love for searching for, and eating wild  mushrooms. Well almost but not quite, mushrooming is still my favorite and I will be looking for some oyster mushrooms soon. But I’ll probably take my camera along, and look for birds too. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw in my backyard and near my home this past week. walk 400mm-29


“There is an unreasonable joy to be had from the observation of small birds going about their bright, oblivious business”
Grant Hutchison,Railroad walk 400mm-35