birds

It was wonderful to see some sun and apparently we weren’t the only ones out enjoying it.

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But first there were the days of snow (unusual for our area) when Bubba, our resident hummingbird, hunkered down waiting for that sunny day. I tried to help by putting out warmer sugar water since the stuff in the feeder had frozen overnight.

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We passed three juvenile bald eagles perched in the trees near the side of the road.

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This one seems to beg for a caption of “what are you looking at?”
The two other young eagles were hiding behind a thicket of branches, so hard to get a decent shot of them. We suspect the larger bird (in this shot) may have been one we watched being raised in the nest from two years ago. Last year’s pair didn’t pose as conveniently. They were in a location not far from the nest, so we’re pretty happy that all the birds we watched over so happily and anxiously seem to have made it into adolescence.

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I lucked out and had this kestrel hanging out on my side of the road. Better lighting in that direction didn’t hurt a it (for a change).

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Another “what are YOU looking at” pose. I’ve always loved these tiny little raptors because of the coloring and the simple fact that they’re just so darned cute! Finally caught a half decent shot of one. Doing a happy dance here.

The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained in sudden flight but, they while their companions slept, they were toiling upwards in the night.
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Good Poems for Hard Times

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38 thoughts on “birds

  1. What amazing captures! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hummer in the snow, seems so strange…hope the little guy survived! So nice of you to offer him some warm food.

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    • Bubba (as we call him) is alive and well. The snow didn’t appear to bother him a bit. He seems to have found a girlfriend even. This species (Anna’s) has adapted to staying year round and getting by on bugs, sap and sugar water provided by folks who love the little flying gems. They are very territorial, chasing off any who stray into their feeder area. I DO worry about my little Bubba when we move south though.

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    • Yep. We anxiously watched over that nest with the young eagles these last two (three?) years. I get one more season to watch over them before we move south. Should be lots of bird and wild critter activity down by the new location to make up for it though. We already caught a b&w shot of the neighborhood bobcat. Still trying to figure out settings to get a better shot and the beavers that are obviously meandering around the banks of the creek seem to be eluding the camera somehow. Looks like it’ll take a bit of fiddling and loads of patience!

      The hummingbird can take our relatively mild winters by going into a torpor state until conditions improve. Feeders also help keep them going when there isn’t much blooming. If you’re interested, there’s a great post about this very same topic: http://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/featured-stories/birds/annas-hummingbird-our-winter-hummingbird/

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  2. Your Bubba is a hardy soul, Gunta. I enjoyed seeing your birds here, and really liked that photo of the Kestrel, a bird I always enjoy seeing too. They’re such a dapper bird. Wonderful quote too. Always a pleasure to visit here, my friend~~

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    • I’ve lived in this area since ’94 and have seen it snow 3, maybe 4 times. It’s never been more than an inch or two and only lasted more than a day on two of those occasions. Once you cross the coast range and on over the Cascades, they do get varying amounts of snow.

      As for the bald eagle. This one was a juvenile. They don’t get their sleek white head and tail until they’re several years old. I just loved a previous comment that described them as “kids who can’t be bothered to comb their hair”. Pretty apt, eh?

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    • I really wasn’t aware of hummingbirds until I moved out west, but then our climate on the coast here is mild enough for some of them to winter here. They are such a treat.

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    • Don’t know your location, but if I remember right it’s somewhere in CO. You should be able to spot these guys if you’re not too high up in the mountains. They prefer open fields or lakes. I used to see them on the fenceposts surrounding wheat fields. In this instance they were overlooking and flying along the flooded fields where the cows graze in summer. Good luck in spotting one. They are wonderful.

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  3. What terrific shots – the happy dance is appropriate (well, it’s appropriate most anytime, isn’t it??). I love the hummingbird – what a look. And the kestral photos are gorgeous, no wonder you’re pleased. They’re so pretty….we also love them because we usually can identify them immediately, right? No guessing like with some of the bigger birds of prey! πŸ˜‰

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    • I look for any excuse to execute a happy dance! They’re good for the soul. It’s been fun (and a touch sad) watching poor Bubba hunkered down out there on the apple tree branch during this frigid spell we’ve had. The kestrels… they’re just beyond cute! I never thought I’d catch a decent shot of one, but there you are. Miracles do happen!!! πŸ˜€ Definitely no guessing with that sweet little thing. It was the very first raptor I learned to identify back when living in Utah. There were loads of them out in the fields. I’d generally see them sitting on the fenceposts. Alas, when I revisited the area a few years back the subdivisions had taken over. sigh

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    • Utterly pure, dumb luck. I’ve tried to catch these same guys, in the same spot, but was usually driving. It truly helps to have someone else at the wheel when the bird is on the passenger side of the car. Thanks!

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  4. Beautiful shots. Juvenile bald eagles always look so shaggy to me (like kids who can’t be bothered to comb their hair). The kestral is gorgeous. We have them here, but I haven’t had the good fortune to capture one with the camera yet. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hummingbird in the snow.

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    • LOVE your description: “(like kids who can’t be bothered to comb their hair)”. So very, very apt. I was just simply very, very lucky to catch the kestrel. He cooperated by flying away from us, but in our direction of travel. I’d seen them on those power lines before, but never had the opportunity to catch them until now. As for the hummingbird… our weather is generally mild enough for them to hang around year round. They just have to put up with the rare (very) occasion when the temps drop and we get a bit of snow. At least it doesn’t stick around very long.

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    • The poor little hummer had to be pretty cold. He’s all puffed up trying to stay warm. The thing that gets me about the hummingbirds is that they keep so busy and expend so much energy guarding their feeder. I guess they don’t know that I’ll fill it if the intruders empty it. I seem to have quite a few favorite birds, but Kestrels are right up there on the list.

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  5. I’m happy dancing with you with the Kestrel captures. πŸ™‚ They are so flighty! I saw one today and turned around on a dual highway then turned again to go past him and…..he was gone. Seeing yours is a delight! Love the Eagles and great photo of Bubba. I bet he’s wondering when it’ll be spring.

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    • This little guy did take off when we slowed down, but only kept flying in the direction we were going. Eric had a chance to carefully slow the car down (so it wouldn’t do that lurch when the brakes grab) and I shot these before he came to a total stop. I was truly amazed and thrilled that they turned out as good as they did. There is something so very, very thrilling to catch these wonderful beings with the camera.

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    • Bubba seems to be doing just fine. As feisty as ever. Chasing off any intruders. At least I try to make his little life a bit easier by giving him unfrozen juice in the morning.

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