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.

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

Herding Birds

The Photographer

It’s finally cooling off in Phoenix after a long, hot, dry summer so I’ve spent some more time outside in my yard. I’ve been trying to get the birds to pose doing various things by using food incentives, mostly peanuts, in addition to all the other things they get to eat here. The Curve-billed Thrashers (above) are always the most curious and willing to inspect new things. So who was taking whose picture here?

Here are a few more of the Thrashers cooperating with my plan: the Interloper, the Peanut House, the Goose-Step…

They’re such fun birds to have around.

Also semi-cooperative are the Abert’s Towhees:

And:

Eurasian Collared-Dove
House Sparrow, female

And a birdbath often gets some nice results:

Lesser Goldfinch, females
House Sparrow and House Finch, males
House Finches

And back to the most cooperative of all, a Thrasher:

Still Staying Home

Gila Woodpeckers, male and Female

Abert’s Towhee
Lesser Goldfinch, male
Curve-billed Thrasher
House Finch, female

Yes, we’re still staying home and staying safe. Being retired, we can do that now. Not the funnest thing in the world but what are you gonna do? It’s also been really hot here but we have a day or 2 of reprieve right now so I was able to hang out with my backyard birds more than I usually do (and take a couple of neighborhood walks).

Okay, so now on to my 2 most cooperative Anna’s Hummingbirds, Comet, and Ole, an immature one. He is named “Ole” because he hangs out in the oleanders, far from Comet, who guards the backyard feeders. Ole uses the feeder in the front yard usually.

This is Comet:

This is Ole:

There are girls and a couple other males around but they are all skittish and not posers like Comet and Ole. Here’s a girl: