Sunday, June 19, 2011

Watch the birdies!

Lots and lots of bird fun around the Homestead lately! Since the installation of the new bird feeder, we have been getting quite a few avian visitors. In fact, as I type this blog entry, there is a Northern Cardinal outside the window peeping up a storm! More on the Cardinal in a minute...

Let's start with the new feeder. It has been quite the hot spot in the yard since day one. Recent visitors of note include a Purple Finch and a Tufted Titmouse. These two birds showed up at the same time one evening, although I was only able to capture photos of them individually (when they were on the feeder at the same time, the Titmouse was on the backside and not visible). Because some of the visitors to the new feeder - the European Starlings and the Blue Jays in particular - are rather sloppy eaters, our resident chipmunks have been enjoying the scraps they find on the ground.

Well hello, Purple Finch!

Purple Finch enjoying some bird seed.

A Tufted Titmouse shows up for some seed.

The Tufted Titmouse pecks at a sunflower seed.

Chippy stuffs his face...literally!
This morning while I was making breakfast and baking cookies, I heard a Tufted Titmouse outside on the deck, no doubt looking for peanuts for breakfast.  I took a break from assembling my cookie ingredients to put some peanuts out on the bar.  Sure enough, no sooner had I walked back into the house and closed the screen door when the Titmouse showed up!

A Tufted Titmouse shows up for a peanut breakfast - love how ruffled up his crest is!

Grab and go breakfast for the Tufted Titmouse.
Now back to our Northern Cardinal friends.  We have had a seemingly mated pair hanging around the house for a few weeks now.  On and off, we would see the male or the female at the feeder, in the trees around back, at the bar taking peanuts, or out front in the bushes.  I saw the male in one of the trees around back this morning, eying the peanuts on the bar, as a matter of fact!  But more and more, it seemed the pair were concentrating their efforts and presence in one of the front bushes.  We suspected they were building a nest and this evening Chris captured two photos to confirm our suspicions. 

I spy a Northern Cardinal nest in there!

Ah-ha!  Two eggs in the nest so far.  Typical clutch size is 2-5 eggs.  We'll see...

It's funny...I just popped over to Cornell's All About Birds website for some information about Northern Cardinal nests, and I found this:
A week or two before the female starts building, she starts to visit possible nest sites with the male following along. The pair call back and forth and hold nesting material in their bills as they assess each site. (source:
Fascinating!  That's exactly what they were doing!  I have really enjoyed watching them and listening to them when I sit in the living room in the evenings.  Much like we did when we had the American Robin nesting right outside of our front door, we will limit our time out front as much as possible to give the Northern Cardinals a peaceful and stress-free nesting period.

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