Yard Birds of April

These are some of the birds that have been coming to the feeder to fatten up for breeding season. I gave up buying birdseed a few years ago because it’s too expensive and they chow through it so fast. But they seem happy with what I’m offering—suet, chopped apples, breadcrumbs, and a big bucket of fresh water. Soon there will be babies. The swallows haven’t arrived yet but the porch light, prime swallow real estate, awaits. If I’ve misidentified any of these birds, please correct me.

Male blackheaded grosbeak, showing his tummy

Male blackheaded grosbeak and male house finch

Male Bullock's oriole

Male Bullock's oriole standing on a fresh orange half. If you put out oranges, they will come.

Female Bullock's oriole

Male blackheaded grosbeak at suet feeder, with male cardinal peeking from around branch

Male pyrrhuloxia, similar to the cardinal and fairly common in the US southwest

White-crowned sparrow and male pyrrhuloxia

White-crowned sparrow

White-winged dove

Cactus wren, unknown if it's male or female

Cactus wren hanging on to feeder

Curve-billed thrasher, unknown if it's male or female. The thrashers are big and sometimes chase smaller birds off the feeder.

I think this is a female Anna's hummingbird. We planted a tiny chinaberry tree a few years ago, and not only did it survive the February freeze, but this is the first year it's flowering. I'm excited that it's attracting the hummers.

Female Anna's hummingbird, I think

18 responses to “Yard Birds of April

  1. You must have been very patient to photograph all those birds!

    My favourite picture has to be
    “Male blackheaded grosbeak at suet feeder, with male cardinal peeking from around branch” It almost needs a caption…”what happened next?” 🙂
    Happy Easter

  2. Hi Piglet! My desk and computer are right next to a window, and I keep my camera with me all the time. So when I start daydreaming and looking out the window there they are…but usually by the time I turn the camera on and zoom it in, the bird is flying away. I swear they know. So I get plenty of blurry ones…I guess it might help if I washed the window too! You must have amazing birds in Portugal.

    Take care and thanks for writing!

    • I swear birds are camera shy! I have been trying to get a picture of a little Robin here for ages. HE would hop about looking for bugs watching me as I turned the soil; he was really tame…Camera appeared…and he was gone. I think I got a couple of blurry pictures.
      the Robin has gone now…don’t think they stay for the summer.

      I really need a zoom lens as I love taking pictures of birds, insects and flowers…

  3. They really are. Couldn’t do it without the zoom. It’s not anything fancy, just part of the camera, but there’s no way you can photograph birds without it. And even though I’m inside and they’re outside, they still know they’re about to be snapped and flap off. As soon as I shut the camera off and go back to work, they come back! I didn’t know robins pass through Portugal. I miss them, we don’t have them in AZ. Back east it was a Very Big Deal to see the first robin of spring!

  4. I’ve got an 18x zoom…but it would be great to have something stronger. 🙂

  5. That’s what I have too, 18. Works OK if you’re not really, really far away!

  6. I just got a Nikon Coolpix that I am still learning…I can’t seem to get it together quick enough to catch anything that is more mobile than a rock. My big clumsy paws and fat fingers don’t seem to acclimate themselves very well to the new breed of sleek, slippery cameras with micro-buttons!
    Some beautiful birds, it always amazes me how much wildlife there is in the desert when you really look for it!

  7. Everything is so micro now, even my cell phone—I have to put my reading glasses on just to answer the damn thing.

    There is probably just as much wildlife in the desert (though this part of AZ is called “high desert” as it’s 5000 ft) as there is in the forests. Creatures adapt everywhere, and there are plenty of bugs to eat. Bigger animals eat rabbits, mice, etc. The only problem is lack of water, and I do not understand how they survive it. I keep the big bucket of water on the outside of the fence so it’s available to whoever needs it.

  8. You sure do have some beautiful birds in AZ. The photos are well done; clear and precise. I really like these!

  9. Thanks Bill…

    But no chickadees!

  10. I was thinking the same thing, you have quite a variety of beautiful birds out there. Great snaps, too; I do love the zoom feature.

  11. Thank you Patti. I’m not a big technology hound but digital cameras are the best thing since clumping cat litter. Remember the days of the expense and time of developing? Now I snap 20 pictures to get one good one!

  12. Tap tap Tap, Tap tap Tap, Tap tap Tap -that is the message being teletype’d by a female Cardinal on the window pane behind me as type . Whats the message? I suspect something along the line of “get outta here bitch, Dodge is not big enough for the two of us” and or “keep your greasy wing tips off my man”. I never fathomed that gurl Cardinals had that kind of savvy. I should have, cuz well, chicks Rock! Maybe this Lady is of the ‘Cowgirl’ kind. Kicks open the salon door, with the confidence of any Wild West Gunslinger, her red breast exposed, gun’s a blazen—never backing away from a fight. Especially when it comes to defending her territory or ideals.

    She’s been doing this for over a month. My sneaking suspicion is that she sees her reflection in the glass, mistaking it as another female cutting in on her turf as laid out in the above scenario. I have not seen her the last couple of days. Figuring her and her mate (who is usually three feet behind her, with a goofy look on his face) were no doubt busy doing , you know, the ‘nesting’ thing. Today her tapping may be for a different reason. This morning we village critters awoke to 100 km plus plus winds, hail, torrential rains; which still rages on 6 hrs and counting. This time I think the message is, “look dumb ass can’t you see us out here. Open the damn door”.

    Thanks ‘D’ for these great pictures. I thought, mistakenly, that southern Arizona was just tumbleweed, cacti, rattlesnakes, vultures and old pickup trucks, oh, an boobs to burkas (I should have known there was much much more). Your story and stories of where you live an the environs of Bisbee are fodder for this Blog Walker. Good ‘shtufffs’.

  13. Haha Hudson, female birds are fierce, that’s why we don’t give them tiny guns.

    Well we do have plenty of boobs. I saw a girl the other day in a convenience store whose shirt was so low-cut that she had to keep fiddling with her boobs to keep them inside the shirt. Not real classy but she’ll never want for male companionship.

    I hate it when birds tap or fly into the glass. It’s so dangerous for them, guess that’s why we have the word “birdbrain.” Wow what a storm you’re having, holy crap. Send some our way.

    The desert is full of life. I’m in the “high desert” 5000 ft., so it’s greener, though there are barren areas. But they have life too. The wildflowers are profuse right now all along the roads. Yesterday the swallows returned to their nest on the porch light to help us keep the bug population down. They are busy rebuilding with fresh dirt and spit. The better the monsoon we have in late summer, the more life. Thanks for writing hon!

  14. Thank you for sharing your lovely feathered friends. The pyrrhuloxia
    is interesting, and all all beautiful. My cat Milly and I love to bird watch. Although I believe she may have ulterior motives!
    Your photos are lovely. I cannot get shots that clear. I need to upgrade.
    Thanks again.

  15. Hi Barb, I do have to fool with the pictures in Photoshop first to clean them up, because I’m taking them from inside a window. I sharpen them up a bit, crop them, etc. Nothing too complicated though!

    Our indoor cats love to birdwatch too, and they can watch all they want…it’s the outdoor cats that are a problem. Thank you so much for your comments.

  16. Hiya,

    Nice pictures! makes me homesick for AZ even though I’ve never lived there for very long. Anyhow,all of your bird ID’s are right on the money except the hummingbird pics- which is super cool, because it’s a much rarer hummingbird than Anna’s! The one in flight is a male Calliope Hummingbird (I can’t really tell what the sitting one is, but I assume it’s the same bird?), which is only a passage migrant in AZ. They breed up in my neck of the woods (Oregon) and come through Bisbee twice a year in the spring and fall. A Calliope Hummingbird day in SE AZ is a red-letter day!

    I’m a little chagrined that it was coming to your chinaberry tree, though. Chinaberry and I don’t get along real well; it’s really an invasive nightmare almost everywhere it’s been introduced in the U.S. (http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/meaz1.htm). No fault to you implied, but it’s really irritating that nurseries continue to sell it as an ornamental.

    • Hi Randy, thanks for info. Yes it’s the same hummingbird in both pics. It had a purple spot on its throat but it doesn’t show up in the picture. But that’s exciting that I caught it passing through.

      We just love chinaberry trees. They grow into the most beautiful canopy, almost like a Japanese watercolor. Maybe because I’m from CT and never saw one until I moved to AZ. It’s not invasive here, we have to baby it until it gets big, but here in dry country we choose our trees carefully. This little one will eventually shade a hot side of my house. We got it from a neighbor who had baby ones growing near a big old chinaberry in his yard—he parks his car under it! I see you have an edu. extension. Are you a teacher? Thanks for writing.

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