Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Great Backyard Bird Count

Our backyard Yellow-throated Warbler

Some of my best birding as of late has taken place at the kitchen table. We've put up a peanut feeder near our (not-so) squirrel-proof seed feeder in our back yard, and have started putting out a few mealworms every day in hope of attracting interesting insectivores.

So far, our gambit has been paying off—our new, improved collection of yard birds has made its appearance just in time for this year's Great Backyard Bird Count.

We've always had Carolina Wrens flying in to check out what the Chickadees and Titmice are up to, but now they linger longer to sample meal worms and peanuts.

Surprisingly, we've had several kinds of bug-eaters hanging out regularly at the peanut feeder. One of my friends mentioned that she had a Yellow-throated Warbler in her yard that liked to eat peanuts, and we thought this individual was just weird. Now we've got our very own weirdo! He/she comes by at least once an hour, and is our prettiest backyard visitor yet:

Interestingly, the north part of Florida is just about the only part of the country where Yellow-throated Warblers occur year-round. We're hoping he chooses to stick around in the spring and summer.

Besides nut-nomming warblers, we also have Chipping Sparrows experimenting with carnivorism. I'm not sure if this guy actually finished the worm or decided to stick to millet:

This fat Pine Warbler also hangs out regularly at the peanut feeder. He doesn't mind sharing the feeder with Tufted Titmice and Carolina Chickadees, but always chases off the Yellow-throated Warbler if he tries to fly in at the same time. This makes for some interesting aerial battles. Here's our Pine Warbler in a mellow mood this weekend:

I submitted one list for the Great Backyard Bird Count, for a two-hour period at our feeder on Saturday afternoon. Here's what dropped in:

—2 Carolina Wrens
—1 Yellow-throated Warbler
—1 House Finch
—16 Chipping Sparrows
—4 Mourning Doves
—1 Northern Cardinal
—1 Pine Warbler
—1 American Crow (heard overhead)

Conspicuous by their absence were the Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmice, usually regular visitors in our yard. In the last few weeks, we've also had a Red-bellied Woodpecker and a Downy Woodpecker flying in to check things out, but they didn't show up this weekend. We've also had one-time appearances by a Common Grackle, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird (during the summer), half a dozen curious American Crows, and a young Cooper's Hawk.

And of course, no backyard birding bonanza would be complete without this guy lurking about in the background!


dAwN said...

Awesome Yellow throated warbler shots!!! What a beauty...
Some great birdies u have there.

Felicia said...

Yes, we've been very lucky! And we can't wait to see what else turns up.

Suwanee Refugee said...

Great shot of the grey squirrel. I know they are ubiquitous, but still nice to see.

Felicia said...

Thanks! The squirrels do provide loads of cheap entertainment.