My header images these days contain pictures of the birds that come to our feeders. I thought I’d do a post that matches up the images with their species. There are currently eight birds in the rotation. This is a female; the male is darker. A pair of these nested in our hanging plant a few years ago. They usually feed on the ground, but we’ve seen them several times on our tube feeder this year. This one has more tan on its sides than…Continue Reading “Hardy Winter Citizens”

“Many Christians have a good doctrine of redemption, but need a better doctrine of creation,” writes John Stott at the start of The Birds Our Teachers. Because God reveals himself in his works, and because he delights in creation, Stott urges Christians to study “at least one branch of natural history” as an avenue of knowledge about God. Seeing as I just paused in my writing of this to snap pictures of two flickers jabbing at ants in my back yard, it’s plain enough that…Continue Reading “The Birds Our Teachers”

I’m considering starting a separate blog for nature posts. The idea of a second site to maintain has never really appealed to me before, but I seem to have so many photos and nature-related thoughts that a blog more narrowly focused on the subject might actually work. But in the meantime, I can’t resist sharing just a couple (out of many!) of the sights from this morning’s walk with the girls. We stumbled upon another nesting site, this one belonging to a red-bellied woodpecker. There…Continue Reading “Pond walk”

Mrs. Robin has laid a full clutch of eggs under our noses. Her nest is awfully near the ground, and awfully near the front door. But we’re all on the alert against predators and have even altered our lifestyle to the extent of letting the dog out the back door instead of the front door to avoid spooking her. I wish her all the best… she’s settled in on full incubation duty now. I was beginning to think that the pileated woodpecker nest we’d found…Continue Reading “Nesting News”

This fellow sang from the treetop where Older Daughter and I went looking for warblers. He’s a good-sized bird with a rich, cinnamon-colored back and an incredible repertoire of song phrases. When we read about him, we learned that he’s a shy bird who usually stays hidden in the bushes, but he can be seen singing over his territory in the spring. Both days we were there, he was perched in the same tree, singing his heart out. Brown thrashers eat insects, seeds, fruit, and…Continue Reading “New-to-us Bird: Brown Thrasher”

Mrs. Pileated visited our back yard this morning and brightened the overcast for a little while. Obviously I haven’t mastered the art of photographing birds in flight. But even blurred, the pattern of coloration on the outspread wings is dramatic. She harvested what she could, then flew away. There is a robin’s nest in the shrub right next to our front door. Looks like we’re in for some up-close nature study, provided she doesn’t get scared away. We can look out a bedroom window directly…Continue Reading “Back yard nature notes”

I couldn’t believe how close this hawk came to us in the woods today. It was amazing to see him hunting at such close range! He seemed to catch something, floundered around in the leaves, then flew back up to his perch. Hunting is hard work. He never did catch anything while we watched, but he perched in several trees and continued trying. I have no doubt he satisfied his hunger eventually. I kind of like the effect of the blurred wings in this photo,…Continue Reading “Hunting redtails, bathing sparrows, and birding humor”

I’ve seen a few birds out and about lately. We’ve had a return to some chilly, overcast, damp weather that hasn’t been conducive to venturing into the great outdoors, but whenever possible we’ve tried to get out and enjoy some sun. I’ll save the blooms part of my title for tomorrow — after I learn more about ferns. But here are some of the birds I’ve seen…     Older Daughter drew a cartoon of him in his lovesick spring state of mind. I hope…Continue Reading “Birds and blooms pt. 1”

The girls and I were thrilled to discover a pileated woodpecker nest! Both adult woodpeckers were at the entrance when we caught sight of it. This is the male, and he is probably incubating the eggs. What a delight it will be to observe this tree over the next month!