Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: chickadees


silent nestbox
one chickadee didn’t fledge
I bury him in his nest


the chickadee
rattles like a snake
in her nest
when I look inside
to check the nestlings


a chickadee clings
to the birdhouse entrance hole
nestling chorus


the chickadee sits
on her nestlings, each breath
a feather’s tremble

I think I’ll be posting my small stones here for NaPoWriMo and maybe past that. I’m not sure I want to keep maintaining two blogs. We’ll see.

Great Backyard Bird Count – Day 3

Yesterday, I decided to do my Great Backyard Bird Count counting along the trail in our neighborhood. I left at 3:15. The weather was early-spring perfect, and a welcome treat after the previous day’s drizzle and rain.

I spotted a few mockingbirds, including this one:

Northern Mockingbird

I love listening to them sing; it’s like having all the other birds wrapped up in one. I guess they’re like the ipod of birds, set on permanent shuffle.

Often, I’ll follow a bird’s song only to find a mockingbird, but this time, there was a little chickadee bouncing in the tree. The number of dee’s in their call gives their assessment of any threat. I only rated one dee.

Carolina Chickadee

As I walked down the trail, I saw both turkey and black vultures spiraling overhead. I saw two hawks, but even with the binoculars, I couldn’t ID them as they were too far away. I suspect they were red-tails, though, since most of the hawks around here are.

At the bottom of the hill, the trail opens up into a kind of grassy meadow along the creek. A crow sat on the highest tree calling out to anyone who would listen. While studying the trees around the meadow, I saw a great blue heron glide past, slowly flapping its great wings.

Walking back up the hill, I heard a number of other birds chirping in the trees. I caught glimpses of chipping sparrows and even a blue jay, the first one I’ve seen since August.

Up near the trailhead, I ventured into a meadow where a small creek runs narrow and quiet beneath thick undergrowth. Looking up, I noticed a woodpecker clinging to the tree and apparently feeding or depositing something in a hole. He was either a golden-fronted or a red-bellied woodpecker, but he hopped into the hole before I could get close enough (even with binoculars) to figure out what he was.

I did get this shot of his head, as he sat there surveying the woods around him.

Mystery Woodpecker

It’s not enough to ID him for sure, though.

And, here are my “official” counts for the birds I could ID:

  • 2 Northern mockingbirds
  • 2 Turkey Vultures
  • 1 Carolina chickadee
  • 1 American crow
  • 1 Great blue heron
  • 1 Black-crested titmouse
  • 3 Black vultures
  • 2 Chipping sparrows
  • 1 Blue jay

Free Birds

Sunday was a nice day for backyard birding. The Carolina chickadees (above) came back with a vengeance. I hadn’t seen any since March, but since Sunday, they’ve been everywhere. I assume a bunch of babies must have just fledged nearby.

In addition to the chickadees, blue jays and grackles took turns on the hanging seed block. A house finch seemed to enjoy the safflower block that the squirrels find distasteful, and house sparrows dotted the ground looking for the small seeds that fall off the feeders.

Of course, we also had the usual flock of white-winged doves as well as one mourning dove that hangs with his white-winged allies.

Ignoring the food, a Carolina wren brought bits of fluff, twigs and even some Phoebe fur up to the nest box on the porch. The previous couple moved out after their babies left the nest so it’s nice to see someone moving in. As of today, there are two eggs in the nest.

Earlier in the day, I spotted a tufted titmouse, which was exciting because prior to him, I had only ever seen black-crested titmice in the yard. Incidentally, I hadn’t seen any titmice of any kind since March. I suppose they’re in cahoots with the chickadees.

And finally, just before we went in, a cardinal came by. I rarely see them in the yard, and when they do come around they always fly away just as I notice them. This guy actually stood still long enough for me to take his picture.

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