Saturday, August 23, 2008

Vociferous Baby Birds

This summer I have had numerous baby birds, Sparrows, Finches, Grackles, Starlings, Robins, and Flickers, all coming to my backyard to feed their new little fledglings. It's been such a joy to watch all the new babies getting fed. At first I thought the Grackles and Starlings had the loudest lot of babies, until the Flickers arrived with their new little ones. The Flicker babies make the most racket of them all. They are slightly smaller than the adults and have not guite got all their pretty markings and colors yet, but they sure can raise a ruckus. I can always tell when the Flicker babies are there. As of this posting, I am still getting Finch and Sparrow babies with their little pin feathers sticking up on their heads like little punk rock stars! They are so cute, mouths open wide and flapping their stubby little wings and making as much noise as possible so that the feeding parent will feed them first.

On another note, I finally am rid of most of the Grackles and Starlings. They were draining my hopper feeder on a dailey basis. This was getting rather expensive, so I switched to putting just safflower in the hopper and now all I have are just a few straglers here and there. The little song birds love the safflower and I'm not going broke feeding the birds.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Say's Phoebe

A Say's Phoebe stopped by to visit today. Last summer I had a family spend a day in the yard, sitting on the fence and waiting for their parents to bring them bugs. I think this one was a juvenile as well. The wings of adults are a solid color, instead of the rufous bars this one has. I've heard them around the neighborhood all summer and got some good pics today.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Golden Eagle Nest at Roxborough State Park

A few weeks ago my husband Kevin and I took my Vortex Sandpiper Spotting Scope and digital camera to Roxborough State Park to try digiscoping a Golden Eagle nest. We found the nest pretty easily because the nestling was making a loud screeching call over and over again. It was up in the rocks on the hogback, and much easier to see with binoculars or spotting scope than with the naked eye. The nestling was sitting on the edge of the nest and sat patiently for us to take pictures. Digiscoping involves shooting pictures through a spotting scope, which with my scope can magnify the picture up to 45 times more than the camera alone. Adapters are available depending on the camera and spotting scope, but Kevin and I have practiced just holding the camera up to the spotting scope and lining it up right to get a good picture. It definitely takes practice, and I need to learn how to get better focus and color. The hardest part was seeing the image in the LCD field because it was so sunny out!

Here's a picture taken with the zoom lens I have for my camera, you can see the magnification is nowhere near what we get with the spotting scope. Can you find the eagle and nest?

Seeing this Golden Eagle was a first for me! Golden Eagles always make me think of a time when a former co-worker referred to them as the "birds with hairy legs," because their legs are feathered to the toes.

Northern Cardinal on the Colorado Front Range

A rare site on the Front Range is a Northern Cardinal. On 3 of the past 4 days a single male Cardinal has visited our back yard in the Ken-Caryl neighborhood of Littleton, CO. We are just inside the “Hogback,” a ridge line just to the west of Denver. Our Red Bird was comfortable on and around our feeders with Black Headed Grosbeaks, Lesser Gold Finches, Spotted Towhees, and Black Headed Chickadees. This has been reported on the Colorado Field Ornithologist Rare Bird Alert hotline.