Monday, May 13, 2013

Out on a Limb

Backyard birding affords an excellent opportunity to make close observation of the behavior and habits of individual birds. Yes, it’s sometimes possible to distinguish individual birds, tell them apart from others of the same species, as I’ve written here:

One of the things I like to observe is how the birds use the trees and other natural features, in particular a certain dead elm next to our deck. Our suet feeders are on the elm stub, and the few remaining branches (left there at my request) stretch toward the seed feeders. The bare branches are useful to the birds as places to alight prior to going to the feeders, and one or two at a time, they often perch there for a few moments until a place opens up on a feeder, providing me with good opportunities to catch quick photos. It's such a privilege to see these beautiful creatures up close:


Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Dark-eyed Junco

Northen Cardinal (female)

Northern Cardinal (male)

White-throated Sparrow

Downy Woodpecker (female)

Two Downy Woodpeckers (both female)

Downy Woodpecker (female)

Downy Woodpecker (male)

American Crow

Purple Grackle

Purple Grackle

Mourning Dove (juvenile)

Mourning Dove (male)

Eastern Towhee (female)

Gray Catbird (female)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male) - same bird

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male) - a second bird

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male) - the second bird

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male) - a third bird

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male) - the third bird

Sharp-shinned Hawk - juvenile

Sharp-shinned Hawk - adult

Did it ever occur to you how useful a few dead branches, on an old stump could be?

Are you the sort of person who perceives dead or dying trees as “ugly” or “useless”? Do you understand how arrogantly anthropocentric that is?

An entire dead tree, left standing, can host an incredible variety of birds, as I described here:

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