Saturday, April 7, 2012

Backyard birding

This week I was lucky to catch a glimpse of two species of birds that I don't see too often.  During breakfast just a couple of days ago, a couple of large brown objects swooped by the sliding glass doors, over the deck landing in the neighboring yard.  Three wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) had come for an easy meal under the bird feeder before heading off into the woods. The tom was enormous.

This morning's newest visitors were Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus), pecking through the lawn for insects, probably ants.  We sometimes find their beautiful yellow shafted feathers in the yard.

One of my favorites is the perky little American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis).  This male arrived with his mate to enjoy some thistle. His patchy spots are telltale signs that he's still molting.

Unlike most birds in this area, American Goldfinches won't nest until July when the supply of food in the form of thistle and milkweed seeds is most abundant.
After a mild winter, the cardinals are already staking out their territories.  The males can frequently be seen chasing each other furiously through the trees. 

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