Trapped in a Rabbit Hole

House Finches, immature

I disappeared for awhile…I’m in northern Indiana because my mother is in a rehab unit after a fall and we’re deciding where she will go afterwards. She wants to go back home so that is what we are hoping can happen.  I’m an only child and know next to nothing about this town or navigating any of these healthcare/assisted living/bureaucratic issues. It’s a sucky time all around, for sure.

So this was my yard before I left AZ. I miss my husband, my cats, my house, my birds, my friends, and Arizona. Tony is taking care of the kitties and birds. Someday I’ll be back…

Curve-billed Thrasher

To make matters even worse, my t-mobile hotspot that I have just for visiting Indiana (since my mother doesn’t have wifi) is not working well because t-mobile is upgrading their cell towers in this area so reception is sporadic and poor. Right now I’m using the next-door neighbor’s wifi (with permission) so it’s nice to be able to get online again.

Abert’s Towhee

European Starling

Northern Mockingbird

We have the quinfecta of doves in our yard:

Mourning Dove

White-winged Dove

Inca Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove

And my newest yard bird, #40 (although I’ve seen this bird around for quite awhile):

African Collared-Dove (Ringed Turtle Dove)

These birds are usually escaped captive birds that don’t do well in the wild but this one seems to be doing fine. There’s also a chance that it’s just a very pale Eurasian Collared-Dove but several birders ID’ed it as African Collared so I’m going with that.

Anna’s Hummingbird

Fiery Skipper

I hope to get out and go birding a couple times while I’m here but I don’t have my birding lens with me so I may have to rent one…the one I have with me just doesn’t work well for birds.

So…wish me luck, I hope things go smoothly and we can all get back to a more normal life pretty soon.

Sorry if I haven’t visited your blogs, I’ll be trying to do that in the next couple of days.

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Yard Moments

Ash-throated Flycatcher, Yard Bird #39

Abert’s Towhee

Curve-billed Thrasher

Inca Dove

White-winged Dove

Verdin

These Black-chinned Hummingbirds are smaller than our resident Anna’s Hummingbirds. They’re also more skittish. It’s really hard to get a photo of their purple collar as well as getting them in flight. I wasn’t able to get a photo yet of one flying while showing the purple.

Black-chinned Hummingbird, male

Black-chinned Hummingbird, female

White-crowned Sparrow

Green-tailed Towhee, Yard Bird #40

I was totally shocked to see this guy, above, but it is spring migration so you never know who may pop by. We have a mulberry bush with berries right now but I don’t know if he got any and I haven’t seen him since. They are beautiful birds. He appeared at almost sunset with the sun right behind him and only posed on a wire so these aren’t the greatest shots.

Mom House Sparrow feeding baby

House Finch, immature 

House Finches, male

The orange guy is a little different from all the red ones we have. It’s partly due to diet and genetics. This is an interesting article about why redder is not always better for finches.

Anna’s Hummingbird, flying by fake hummer

Stripey and the Solar Cat

See Stripey’s tongue sticking out? I don’t think she was too impressed with the solar cat.

It’s Still Spring

“How many peanuts can I fit in my bill?”

Abert’s Towhees

It was an exciting day in the yard last week when yard bird #38 showed up, haven’t seen it since:

Cooper’s Hawk, immature

House Finches, male feeding female (or young one)

Gila Woodpecker, male

This was also exciting (to me). After 24 years of living in this house and having our aloe veras multiply exponentially so that there are now several beds of them, we had one that bloomed yellow. How that hasn’t happened until now and why it’s the only one that is a different species is a mystery. The hummingbirds love the orange ones but didn’t seem impressed by this yellow one so the bees took over.

Honey Bee on yellow Aloe blooms

Verdin

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s

Anna’s Hummingbird, female

Prepare for cuteness. This little Anna’s fledgling wants her mom to keep feeding her but mom thinks she needs to be on her own, with a little supervision:

You can see she’s able to find food with all the pollen on her bill. She just wants her mom to do it.

Here is my NSFW (Not Safe for Work) image, pretend it’s Nat Geo:

Curve-billed Thrashers

A sure sign of spring in the desert is the return of these guys, who love to drink the nectar from saguaro blossoms. As far as I know, there are very few or no saguaros in our neighborhood but we always get a few of them who hang out here. The blue eye shadow is very noticeable.

White-winged Dove

My little Orange-crowned Warbler that stayed in our yard for the last 5 months has now migrated, too. Hope he or she returns in the fall.

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A Sampler

Anna’s Hummingbirds, males

I’ve gone birding a few times lately with a new birder friend, Karen. We went to several places that Tony and I have actually been to so I didn’t take the lens I use for landscapes, only my birding lens. And, of course, I got very few birds at those places so this post is just a sample of some of those birds as well as a few in my yard. These first few are yard birds.

Inca Doves

Gila Woodpeckers, male and female

Northern Mockingbird

Curve-billed Thrasher

Orange-crowned Warbler

One of the places Karen and I went to was Arlington, full of agricultural fields, where Tony and I were in January (post).

Ferruginous Hawk

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Savannah Sparrow

Sandhill Cranes

We saw about 12 cranes, they were lifers for me, as were Brewer’s Blackbirds (no pic).

The following 3 shots were taken at a strange and not very attractive place called Robbins Butte Wildlife Area, run by Arizona Game and Fish Department. The sound of gunfire accompanied us. We did both get a lifer there called Bell’s Sparrow but neither of us got photos. We just saw it briefly and clearly through her scope and then it took off.

Northern Harrier

Western Meadowlark

Kestrel Nesting Box

We drove over to Lake Pleasant Regional Park in search of 2 particular rare waterbirds and found neither.

Rock Wren

Double-crested Cormorant

The other day Karen and I went to Seven Springs, where Tony and I went in December (post). It was cold, windy, raining and hailing and there were very few birds out. We did drive up Humboldt Mountain, where the FAA radar facility is, and it was a gorgeous drive on a narrow but paved road. Once again, I only had my birding lens so no photos. That is on my “return to” list.

Eat or Be Eaten

American Kestrel, male

I know everyone needs to eat but please don’t eat any of the sweet birdies I feed, Mr. Kestrel.

Orange-crowned Warbler

And this is what I feed “my” birds daily:

  1. Suet Cake (1)
  2. Orange (1~halved)
  3. Grape Jelly
  4. Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (BOSS)
  5. Thistle
  6. Sugar water for the hummingbirds (4 feeders)

The Orange-crowned Warbler (above) really only eats the jelly anymore.

Abert’s Towhee

The towhees eat everything but the thistle and hummingbird food.

Curve-billed Thrasher

Same for the thrashers and they seemed to be working on a nest the other day although I couldn’t locate it.

Anna’s Hummingbirds, males and female

Bugs and nectar for these guys.

Northern Mockingbird

Mockingbirds are bold, aggressive birds yet they seem shy around the food. They will eat everything but the thistle but I don’t see them come to the feeders very often at all. They watch and wait before they come in to have a bite.

White-crowned Sparrows, adults and immature

These guys eat nothing I put out but do like mulberries. It will be a couple months until we have mulberries, though, so we’ll see if they stick around. There seem to be 4 of them.

Gila Woodpeckers, female and male

These woodpeckers love the oranges but will also eat suet and BOSS. I don’t think I’ve seen them in the jelly yet. But the male is so loud when he arrives, announcing to everyone that he is here, and the female sneaks in without a chirp. Many people I know say they drink from their hummingbird feeders but I’ve never seen them do that in our yard.

Verdin

Pretty much oranges only for the Verdins now that the only hummingbird feeder I had that they could drink from broke.

Eurasian-collared Dove

These doves are hogs, especially in the BOSS feeder, knocking all the seed to the ground. When they leave in the summer, the White-winged Doves show up and they’re just as obnoxious. Oh, yes, we have pigeons, too; same for them, obnoxious.

House Sparrow, male

Everyone’s favorite invasive species eats everything I put out except the thistle. They’re raucous and plentiful but I don’t really mind them much. This guy was after peanuts which I put out once in awhile for a special treat.

House Finch, male

The finches eat everything, including thistle, but they’re so pretty, I enjoy them.

European Starling

I guess I’m lucky because some people complain that starlings, another invasive species, are feeder hogs. We have a few starlings but I’ve never seen any eat any of the food. I do enjoy the sounds they make; it sounds like a happy circus when they’re around.

Lesser Goldfinches, males and females

And these little cuties, so different from the House Finches, eat only thistle. I love that they like the swings. They sit on them while they wait for an opening on the thistle socks.

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