Birds

digitS'

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Little Brown Jobs, LBJ's....

I am pleased to say that I am now all but certain that a very common bird in my garden is a Pine Siskin. They have perplexed me for a number of years.

At first, I thought that they may be all House Finches but there were LBJ's that would arrive in little flocks and I couldn't see red on any of them. Besides, I have learned in recent years that House Finches don't always show up since we are at the northern most of their range. There weren't any that I could identify a season or 2 ago and few this year.

I am reminded of female Goldfinches when I see the mysterious LBJ's. However, they were obviously foraging on the ground and likely for insects as well as seeds. The LBJ's would even chase large, flying insects to catch them. Seedeaters, Goldfinches don't forage for insects.

They weren't Song Sparrows; they absolutely aren't big enough. I have had Goldfinches, Song Sparrows and a few House Sparrows regularly in the garden to compare.

I thought I knew what Pine Siskins are. They were common where I once lived but that was in a Pine forest. My garden is a good 2 miles from what I would call a forest and I never see this tiny LBJ's fly 100 yards! Well, about 200 yards from my garden are quite a few evergreen trees neighbors once planted around their corral. Still, it isn't a forest.

Out there without my binoculars, I just had to be close enough, be patient, study the literature on behavior, dispel some disbelief. The LBJ's are Pine Siskins. LINK ;).

Steve
 

flowerbug

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the blue jays and crows are now back to their normal schedules again. blue jays sometimes sound like squeaky wheels. the catbirds are still around as are the goldfinches. some other birds seem pretty absent but i'm not sure if that is because they've already headed south or what.
 

AMKuska

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New birds are coming to join the old ones in my yard. My birdwatching neighbors IDed this as a Downey Woodpecker.
 

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digitS'

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The swallows are back. They always embarrass me by showing up in good numbers along the river about the time I get serious about planting at the big veggie garden. And yet, those cliff swallows aren't the ones that I'm likely to see above the garden, all of about 400 yards from the river.

There are, at least, 5 swallow species that I might see around here. Fun!

The ones over the garden are likely to be the Violet-green - a very pretty bird in the bright sunlight. Between that color and the black and white contrasting, the Violet-green is very easy to identify.

Tree swallows certainly show up. I have a little trouble with identifying females of any species but just have to be patient with myself :).

The Barn swallow is also an easy ID. That "swallowtail" gives him away ;).

The Bank swallow isn't something I usually see but I don't have reason to spend much time in banks. Ha ha he he ha! Ahem. Really, they were talking about dirt banks and the critter's interest in making holes in those locations for nests.

Swifts are out in our canyon land, which isn't quite local. Fairly big guys and just super fliers, fun to see.

Steve :)
 
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Pulsegleaner

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about two weeks ago I saw my first Wood Duck! It was so colorful I thought it was a decoy someone had left in the reservoir! I have since learned that a number of ducks live or stop over there (up until then, I had only seen mallards, common mergansers, little ones that were either hooded mergansers or buffleheads (hard to tell at a distance) and some canvasbacks on the Hudson itself in winter.
 

AMKuska

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about two weeks ago I saw my first Wood Duck! It was so colorful I thought it was a decoy someone had left in the reservoir! I have since learned that a number of ducks live or stop over there (up until then, I had only seen mallards, common mergansers, little ones that were either hooded mergansers or buffleheads (hard to tell at a distance) and some canvasbacks on the Hudson itself in winter.
Wow, I'd love to see one of those!
 
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