Soon after I arrived at Anahuac NWR, I set up the Hard Rock Bird Café. It took a few weeks for the birds to discover the feeders, but discover it they did. Lately, I’ve had more than my share of hundreds of common grackles descending on it. I haven’t taken any pictures of them yet as they’re a rather skittish hoard, but tonight I thought I’d show you some pics of the other birds that dive in for a snack when the grackles and blackbirds fly off when I open my squeaky window above my kitchen table. They have gotten used to that squeak, and just wait for those big piggish birds to leave.
I placed the feeders near some yaupon plantings so the birds would have a place to alight coming and going. This American goldfinch was all puffed up to combat the low temps this morning.
While my rig’s stairs were still covered in ice, and there were lots of icicles hanging off the rig, the bushes and trees didn’t have the icy coating that we experienced last Saturday. That’s a good thing unless you’re trying to get interesting ice pictures.
Not all of the birds that visit me are interested in the seeds. I do think that because other birds are hanging around, some of the non-seed eating birds come around to see what all the commotion is about. Such is the case with this ruby-crowned kinglet. They are just a bundle of activity as they search for insects among the branches. I was happy for it to sit still long enough to get a shot.
Then, several yellow-rumped warblers bubbled through. I’ve come to recognize their little “tic, tic, tic” call as they, too, look for hidden spiders and such in the bushes. One of them even ate some of the dried up holly berries.
Not many worms available at this time of the year, so this American robin stopped by for some berries. I’ve been told that Native Americans used these berries to brew up a tea that gave them hallucinations until they consumed enough to cause them to vomit. (Ilex Vomitoria (sp?)) I don’t know if they were seeking a ‘vision’ or just a way to clean out their systems. What ever… I haven’t seen any birds staggering around.
A shy cardinal came along to enjoy both the seeds and the berries this morning. As I watched this bird, I noticed three things about its feathers. The tail feathers are already looking worn along the ends. It won’t produce new tail feathers until late summer. Can you see the greyish edging to the feathers on its back? By the time breeding season is here, those grey edges will be worn off and he will be a magnificent brilliant red all over. Then, one of its primary flight feathers on the wing appears almost black. Do you see that black stripe? I think that’s unusual.
Seems like I’ve always known that if you put out bird feeders, you have to expect more than seed eating birds. All the little birds suddenly disappeared at one point this morning, so I took a look see.
Sure enough! A young Cooper’s hawk had come swooping in to visit the café. After all, they have to eat too! Freezing cold weather is hard on many creatures, and if this young lady survives her first year she has a good chance of living a nice long life. That’s the nature of things, and I welcome her here occasionally. I just hope she dines on some of those blasted grackles!
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy