• Todd

Birds of a Feather

WARNING! Picture heavy blog!!

Lots to share! It's been a long time since I have sat at the computer to write. Seems I spend more time on the pc ordering PPE or groceries online than I do writing or catching up on photographs. Covid-19 has effected us all in one way or another. Hopefully this will take your mind off it for a little while.

The start of the "Stay at Home" order in Michigan had me looking for a new routine. I've always been an early riser and not having anywhere to go would drive me crazy, so I quickly got into a routine of grabbing a coffee and heading out to get the mail, then taking the mail to the garage to read and drink coffee. When I finished with the mail, I'd refill the bird feeders. One morning as I sat sipping coffee, I heard a familiar sound - the squeal of a drake Wood Duck. I stepped out of the garage and looked to the neighbors huge maple tree. Sure enough, there he was! Now if I lived in the country, I would understand. If the nearest lake was closer than a mile and a half, I'd get it, but we are in the middle of the city. Wood Ducks, to my knowledge, do not prefer the city. He was not around every day, but for 3 weeks he would make guest appearances, only in the morning though. I was putting out some corn for him, but I never saw him land in the yard. The corn did bring a couple Mallards in (yeah, just as weird as a Wood Duck, but it's been that kind of year) and they were more than happy with the corn and sunflower seeds.

Woody in the neighbors tree

My parents both loved Goldfinches and we keep a thistle feeder (it's the one from their house) out front that they are at constantly. The late snows this past Spring kept that feeder extremely busy. You know I'm really bored when I am taking shots out the living room window.

Male Goldfinch

The "Stay at Home" order hit right as the major duck migration was getting into full swing. As much as I knew I'd be social distancing while out in the woods, it just didn't seem fair to leave the family at home while I was out having a good time (be my estimation anyway). Besides, my daughter and I both have asthma and I would never have forgiven myself should I have brought something home. By the time I did go out, the only thing left was a Canada goose that was really lousy at hiding.

Goose on her nest, on a muskrat house

How much do I dislike House Sparrows? So much so that I won't post a picture of one and if I could meet the person that brought them to America, I'd send him/her back with the birds on a sinking ship. If I remember correctly, they are the most widely distributed of all birds. I'm not sure how as they all seem to be at my feeders! They can empty a feeder faster than a squirrel and seem to chase off any bird that is not a sparrow! They have pushed out many native birds, so much so that in Michigan, they are open to hunting year-round! I've never met a sparrow hunter, but I'm sure many kids with BB guns have taken a few. How proud one would be to march into the taxidermy shop with his trophy English Sparrow!

Anyway, we do have a good number of native sparrow in Michigan. Each year I get a few different ones. **Note: I know a lot of birds but I am no expert. If I get one wrong, please feel free to ridicule me or text/email me with the correction! Thank you!

Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow with a Field Sparrow in the background
Swamp Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow

Sparrows may not be as colorful as most songbirds, but I think they all have some interesting colors and features.

As we rolled into May, the itch to get outdoors was just too much. Songbird and Warbler migration was peaking at the same time and I was working hard to think of every little out of the way place I could get to without herds of birders being around. I think I got pretty lucky.

Least Flycatcher
Tufted Titmouse
Warbling Vireo
Northern Parula
Blue-headed Vireo
Yellow Warbler

It was literally pouring birds down all around. It only lasted 6 or 7 days, but the birds just kept coming!

Pine Warbler (M)
Pine Warbler (F)