18 June 2019

Birds of a Feather

My dear friend Mrs. Micawber began chronicling her wildflower adventures while out on her bicycle in 2015 and created a log of 140 different species!!! I've always admired her ability to compile such a list and blog about it, too, but to copy her felt... well, like copying her.

I've seen a few brand-new-to-me bird species this year, so how about a log of feathered friends I meet along life's journey this summer? Or perhaps this year... We'll see how long I can electronically keep up with the discoveries.

I probably have seen Cooper's hawks in the past, but I didn't know what they were. In April, I got my first good shot of one, and I was able to identify it with my handy little Audubon bird guide because of my photo. This critter is the one that set me on this year's photo journey because it was so exciting to see a new-to-me raptor!

I'd seen hooded mergansers from a distance in the past, but here's another first good shot of one, with a great reflection to boot!

We have been able to see at least one western tanager each year since we bought our house ten years ago on Memorial Day weekend. Tanagers are a migrating species, and we're apparently right on the migration path. This year, we had 19 days of tanagers, and at one point had 17 in our yard all at the same time!!! The experts say they were hanging out where the weather was good because the snow in their summer mountain destinations was too deep for them to be able to consistently find food. We were very happy to host them and wish they would have stayed longer!

The corn we left out to keep the squirrels out of the bird feeder attracted my first grosbeak ever, a red one. I soon found out there are more colors than just red!

Blue Grosbeak

Not long after my first blue grosbeak had his fill of the corn, my second lazuli bunting appeared, but I wasn't able to capture a photo of that beautiful blue bird.

I get my fair share, plus some, of tree sparrow photos because they seem to like our old backyard birdhouse. What I think may be the same pair have been setting up a new nest in the birdhouse every year for about four years now. (They can live up to 12 years, and they don't mate for life but are loyal to nest locations. We clean the box out every year after the little ones fledge.) Daddy sits out on the fence every night until well after sunset, sort of watching over Mama in the birdhouse. This is the first time I've ever been able to capture a bird on my fence with the nearly full moon in the background! (And if someone had shot a video of me trying to stealthily get into the right position for this photo, I'm sure I'd be on America's Funniest Home Videos. Or YouTube...)

A May trip to Barr Lake provided my first view ever of a colorful Bullock's oriole.

Not my first meadowlark, and not my first singing meadowlark, but my first meadowlark on a yucca and my first meadowlark singing on a yucca, which is my home state flower (New Mexico).

I've probably seen and heard rock and canyon wrens my whole life, but this is the first time I actually took a photo of one.

My recent discovery of a kingfisher and its amazing diving skills in Waterton has left me on the lookout every single time I hike or bike now. And I've since seen six more kingfishers!

I've been looking for wood ducks ever since I first heard there was at least one in Colorado, in Lakewood, and affectionately called the Lake Wood Duck. I finally got my first glimpse of a wood duck a couple of weeks ago during my morning walk on the greenway.

Not my first cormorant, but the first time I ever realized cormorants have green eyes!

The highlight of my birdwatching so far this year came a few nights ago as I was typing at my computer, listening to a variety of birds on the fence squawking as if begging for food or something. Suddenly, a young owl, possibly recently fledged, swooped down off my roof and onto the fence. I got only one shot before the army of songbirds circled their feathers and chased the intruder away. I'm very grateful I didn't have to watch one of the smaller birds become a meal, but I do understand this is the circle of life, and what a thrill to see such interaction right in my own backyard!

So, the count as of today, along with the everyday house finches, robins, hummingbirds, red-tailed hawks, magpies, geese, grackles, pigeons, gulls, crows, mallards and great blue herons, plus the not-so-frequent red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, golden eagles, quail, red-winged blackbirds, mountain bluebirds, goldfinches, turkeys, roadrunners, night-crowned black herons, snowy egrets, pelicans, peregrines and kestrels, my count to date since spring started is 39 species!!!


  1. Sure got many a great shot indeed. Shows what an army can do against a predator. Your first grosbeak is sure looking to be enjoying that corn. I had this huge one fly over me today, think it was an eagle. It got away before I could get a shot.

    1. How cool, Pat! I had an osprey fly right over my head with a big fish in its talons today, but I couldn't get a shot either. Oh, how I wish!

  2. BEAUTIFUL. The only one we have here (at the lake of Constanze) is the Kormoran. Keep up counting birds! Regula


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