How’s 2021 Going?

Anna’s Hummingbirds, male

Well, 2021 has been both bad and good. Let’s hope Good prevails. If everyone was as happy as these Rosy-faced Lovebirds, I guess we would be in good shape. They are feral in the greater Phoenix, AZ area. Cheery and loud little critters.

I guess the quarantine has gotten to me. I can’t seem to stop putting my backyard birds into little tableaus. The ones I have done so far are all in an album on Flickr. But here are a few more since my last post. The Curve-billed Thrashers are the ones that are the most common stars of the show but the Abert’s Towhees and Northern Mockingbirds get brave sometimes, too.

The Congregation
Sharing and Caring in the Forest
Ahoy, Towhee
“How can we start a Rock ‘n Roll band if everyone plays guitar?”
“Okay, I’ll learn bass.”
“What in the actual Hell is this?”
The Curve-billed Thrasher is looking for an agent; peanuts are not enough pay anymore

I feel certain there will be more anthropomorphizing to come…but here are a few other of the yard birds who do not participate in this birdplay.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, wintering

“My” wintering Orange-crowned Warbler, “Tink”

Lesser Goldfinches, male and females

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskins recently became the 54th species of yardbirds I have. There is an irruption of them all over the country right now, which means there are a bunch of them in places you don’t normally see them. They love thistle (nyjer) and share the sock with my goldfinches. So you might see some, too, if you’re looking.

A New Year

Who isn’t ready for a brand new year, much better than the last? This Curve-billed Thrasher is ready for another year of peanuts.

One more of an Abert’s Towhee ending the holidays:

I read this in an Audubon email I got today: “A tradition among bird-lovers is taking note of the first bird we see on New Year’s Day. Whether it’s a charming Red-breasted Nuthatch or the ubiquitous American Robin, the first bird you see can symbolize the start of great things in the year to come.”

The first bird I see most days is a pigeon (or 20) so I’m going with the first bird I photographed on New Year’s Day, a female Anna’s Hummingbird doing a pole dance.

So this is what I’m taking as the symbolism of the hummingbird into 2021: “The hummingbird represents an ancient symbol of joy and happiness. Its colorful appearance brings good luck and positive energy to our lives.” I’ll take that…

The other day I went for a walk at a little pond close to where I live and was surprised to find several Pintail Ducks, so elegant-looking (click to enlarge):

I finished out the old year with one more new yard bird species, #54, a Pine Siskin. Now there are more and they are sharing the thistle sock with the Lesser Goldfinches.

The doves in my yard now: Inca Dove, Eurasian Collared-Dove, and Mourning Dove:

Here is a male Anna’s Hummingbird on the last day of 2020, a dreary day in Phoenix. I almost never see one on their little swing so, of course, he did it on a cloudy day when I was far away.

I have a Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet also wintering in my yard. They are both so fast that good photos are hard to come by.

And, of course, my little Orange-crowned Warbler, Tink:

Would you like to see one of my cats, Ferguson? He’s become quite the Chess prodigy. Here he is, choosing white, strategizing, licking a rook, and making his first move of the Tuna Gambit.

Wishing a better year for us all.

Holiday Birding

The Holiday Office Party

The two Curve-billed Thrashers in my yard are exceedingly curious and also very fond of unsalted peanuts. I sort of accidentally realized that anytime I put something different on this little outdoor table, they will quickly jump up to check it out and keep doing so if there are some peanuts involved. So I started a little series of them checking things out. They both share the spotlight in the following photos.

Santa Got Run Over By a Thrasher

Some outtakes from that shoot…

The Winter Solstice
Embellished Winter Solstice
A December to Remember

We just finished watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix:

Huddling Inca Doves

Actually, it turns out that the Abert’s Towhees and Northern Mockingbirds (2 of each) are also fairly curious and I have a few shots of them joining in various festivities which I’ll post at another time.

Meanwhile, here are a few more of the little yardbirds (an Anna’s Hummingbird, House Finch, Gila Woodpecker, my wintering Orange-crowned Warbler, and Verdin) wishing you a safe, healthy, Happy Solstice, Happy Yule, and Happy Holidays!

Un-Birdy

Potter Wasp on Lavender

No birds in this post!!!! I’m trying to clean photos off my desktop as I keep taking more and more almost everyday. The birds will be back in my next post, some decked out in holiday style. Meanwhile…

Variegated Meadowhawk

Fiery Skippers

Sparkling Sap in our Pine Tree
Salvia (Sage)
Tree Lizard Geometry
A few weeks ago

Cotton!

All photos were taken in our yard except the cotton. I saw that when I was hunting for a particular bird that I never saw…

Ferguson excited about his Thanksgiving dinner

One day when I was sitting in the yard watching birds, this little visitor dropped by…and picked a good place to pose.

Stay safe!

Birdsong

Sometimes there are 50 or more birds in our yard at one time, eating, hanging out…and the cacophony of bird sounds is pretty intense. Other times there are gentle chirps and buzzes…

Abert’s Towhees

Curve-billed Thrashers

House Sparrow
Gila Woodpecker
Rosy-faced Lovebird

House Finches (click to enlarge)

The Anna’s Hummingbirds are sipping from the plants I recently bought.

And perching and fighting and showing their colors…(click to enlarge)

Northern Mockingbird

And my little Orange-crowned Warbler happily winters here…

But they all need to watch out for this guy:

American Kestrel