an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

Posts tagged “birds

November Pool Party

November Pool Party
November Pool Party

November Pool Party

The sparrows are making the most of a warm sunny afternoon in southwest Pennsylvania to enjoy a really good bath. No wonder I have to refill this thing every day!

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Beauty Overall

Beauty Overall
Beauty Overall

Beauty Overall

I stood on a bridge and photographed the wildlife activity in the creek today as I walked my errand to the bank and back. A fish that looked like a carp that looked like it was planning on a little spawning was moving the silt around in the creek bed; I photographed the activity, trying to see it more clearly. I also happened to see a goose farther downstream, standing in shallow water, first silhouetted, then against a reflected background of foliage. I photographed the goose too.

A while later the goose decided to take a little swim and quickly came toward where the fish was busily moving the creek bed around with pushes from its tail. Along his way the goose passed over still and riffled water, and the span of ripples he created as he floated were lovely, and the goose was lovely too, in silhouette. That was a lovely series of photos, and the one featured here is one of those.

Then as it came closer to me I saw this goose’s wings weren’t folded as usual, and one wing was lifted higher and almost held over his back. He’d been injured, and possibly had a bad heal, but he was still carrying on with his business in the creek. I wondered if he could fly and decided I’d keep an eye out for him.

It was interesting that the position of his wing wasn’t noticeable until he was very close, and where seeing him up close the wing might have been the first thing to notice, it was a minor detail. Seeing the goose in the context of what he was about in his daily routine told far more about him than his physical appearance alone. The beauty in him was in his actions and the scene overall, and that only one detail.

I feel fortunate that I can walk my errand and see these things, something new each day, and find inspiration and enlightenment during my own daily routines.

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Feeding the Kids

Mother house sparrow feeding her two babies.
Mother house sparrow feeding her two babies.

Mother house sparrow feeding her two babies.

I was alerted by the loud and desperate cheeping that there was a feeding event about to happen. This female hosue sparrow was being hounded by her two children and hopped from the feeder to this spot on the branch. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to get this photo without the bird feeder in it–and a little clearer–but I’m glad I got this photo. Then she left to find other food and the two babies, as big as her, stayed exactly where she told them to stay while she was away.

The two baby sparrows wait for their mother to return.

The two baby sparrows wait for their mother to return.

“Will you feed me?”

"Will you feed me?"

“Will you feed me?”

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Well Camouflaged

Well Camouflaged
Well Camouflaged

Well Camouflaged

A goldfinch landed just for a moment in the river birch as the sun shone through all the new leaves on everything. The photo is taken through a double pane window at an angle into the sun, I’m shocked I could focus at all and glad I caught this little guy.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Sing Your Song

Sing Your Song
Sing Your Song

Sing Your Song

The wren may be the size of your thumb but she fills the morning.

I have been trying to get this photo for years, the wren standing up with her head thrown back and her mouth open, especially in the morning light. They flit around so fast and I’m often photographing through my window so I can’t follow their flight. But I heard a sudden burst of wren song and looked out to see this little one on the deck railing. I focused and caught one-two-three photos as she hopped a step or two between each verse and looked to see…that I had forgotten to change the filter on my camera from incandescent to average balance, so the three photos were tinted very blue. I can remove that, but I also noticed that the plastic bag I’d used to line a hanging basket on the edge of the deck railing (the cocoa shell liner is seen at the right edge) had been pulled up by either one of the squirrels or one of the birds, and it just wasn’t something I wanted in this lovely photo. I had one more chance before she hopped behind the post and flew off, and this was that one chance.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Make it Stop

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

This is a little tufted titmouse I photographed over the weekend when it was snowing and icy…again. The little guy got his wish! Today was in the 40s, and it’s getting warmer.

Photographed through my window.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


It’s A Bird Bath, Not…

three doves on birdbath
three doves on birdbath

Buttwarmer

…a Buttwarmer! I put hot water in the bird’s winter water bowls each morning, and some birds use it for other purposes than drinking and bathing. The birds were very amusing today, almost as if one more snowfall made them as crazy as the rest of us.

Another dove came up to the three warming their butts and asked to use the facilities.

four doves

Do you suppose I can fit in there?

Guess not!

four doves

Guess not!

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


‘Tis A Puzzlement

female cardinal in tree
female cardinal in tree

‘Tis A Puzzlement

Cardinals can be such intellectuals.

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Bright Spot in a Dark Day

male northern cardinal
male northern cardinal

Bright color

It was so dark today that even this male Northern Cardinal’s brilliant feathers were dulled down instead of his typical flaming red. He’s tucked into the bare branches inside the spruce while ice pellets are falling, not a nice weather for anyone out there.

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Cardinal Camouflage II

female cardinal on branch
female cardinal on branch

Cardinal Camouflage II

Female cardinals need camouflage too, and this lady has chosen a suitable backdrop of dry river birch leaves and just a few from the burning bush, which is still burning at the moment. The male cardinal modeled his backdrop just the other day.

But just so you can see the photo I really wanted, here is the slightly blurry one of the cardinal in the posture I most associate with cardinals, but the wind gusted just a bit and my camera lost its focus point.

female cardinal on branch

Darn, why did the wind have to gust at just that moment?

I’ll be photographing out this window all day if the cardinals visit this feeder all winter. They actually have several nests in the very tall Norway spruce that’s about ten feet from the window, with the feeder just in front at the foot of it. We may be seeing cardinal photos all winter!

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Cardinal Camouflage

Cardinal Camouflage
Cardinal Camouflage

Cardinal Camouflage

A bright male cardinal is still camouflaged against the fallen leaves, but not for long.

Very little snow here, and none in their favorite feeding space surrounded by the spruce, river birch, azalea and burning bushes.

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


First World Bird Problems

sparrow with ice cream cone
sparrow with ice cream cone

First World Bird Problems

This little guy was lucky enough to find the empty ice cream cone someone had put on top of the fence post by the Dairy Queen. He’s lucky to live in a place where food and water are plentiful not to mention the occasional treat, and it’s far more than he can eat, but when another sparrow comes along and takes a bite he doesn’t want to share, complaining to that other sparrow in typical sparrow fashion. Watch the slideshow below to see the rest of the action.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Baltimore is Back!

Baltimore Oriole in maple tree
Baltimore Oriole in maple tree

Baltimore Oriole

I’ve heard his chatter and song off an on for a week or so and I finally spotted him. The Baltimore Oriole is back in the back yard, leaping from branch to branch high in the maples, looking for a good meal of bugs and other good stuff. I first spotted one in my yard nearly 15 years ago and it seemed to be lured to the wild black cherry. Since then I’ve let a few extra mulberries grow because orioles do like their fruit and will nest near a good food source. I had found the hanging way at the end of a branch in the maple in the front yard, then a few years later in the maple in the back yard; somewhere I have a photo of it, but I’ll be darned if I can find it.

Wild Black Cherries

Wild Black Cherries

Mulberries

Mulberries

The leaves are just big enough now that birds are obscured, and the females are about the color of new maple leaves, so though I scanned the trees top to bottom with binoculars I did not spot the female. I’ll keep a lookout for this year’s nest, and keep my hummingbird feeders full and add the oriole feeder this year as well as put out some orange slices and other tasty fruits. The mulberry tree directly under this maple has the biggest, darkest, juiciest mulberries on any of the trees in my yard, in fact, they look more like big blackberries. The wild black cherries are small and turn a deep black-purple. This seems to be the fruit varieties and colors the orioles like best, although both trees are often considered “pest” or “weed” trees because from blossoms to fruits to leaves to branches they are “messy” trees. I’ve no doubt, though, they are two of the reasons I have so many bird species in my yard.

They’re not named for the city of Baltimore, but both the city and the bird were named for the British Baltimore family whose colors are orange and black.

These were the best photos I could get from the ground and from the deck. The maple trees are 70 to 80 feet tall and this guy was happily hopping along the tops of all the branches. If I can get a shot from the second-floor window I’ll be so happy! And I may have to seriously consider fitting a converter onto my 70-300 lens, or getting a lens up to 500mm.

Baltimore Oriole in maple tree

Baltimore Oriole

 

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.

 


As The Crow Flies

black and white photo of crow taking off from tree
black and white photo of crow taking off from tree

As The Crow Flies

 

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Birds in Air

two sparrows
two sparrows

Birds in Air

I was happy for a sunny morning too!

The light was just right to be able to catch the birds with a fast shutter speed, so for once I could capture the details of their activity. Some of them look as if they are suspended in air! I absently took photos hoping for the best. The photo above was cropped out of a larger one because these two look as if they are celebrating—although, knowing sparrows, they are probably bickering.

The two photos below show the sparrows taking over the birdbath from the cardinal, and just the press of birds in and around the feeder. It’s like watching waves as they fly in and out, and they have such energy.

sparrows at bird feeder.

With the cardinal.

sparrows at feeder

Lots of sparrows.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Everybody Fly!

birds at feeder
birds at feeder

Everybody Fly!

Everything was okay until Bluejay-Zilla showed up a the feeder.


Mockingbird

mockingbird
mockingbird

Mockingbird

A new visitor at the water bowl on the deck today—a Northern Mockingbird.

The temperature fell below zero overnight and this morning when I stepped out to fill the feeders and the water bowl all the birds were very glad to see me. On days when the temperature is below freezing, I heat water to refill this water bowl so that it warms up the bowl itself and the wooden shelf on the deck railing and stays fluid longer before freezing. Often the birds will simply gather around it for warmth as a few doves did earlier. I watched the flutterings of mourning doves, cardinals, blue jays, titmice, sparrows, finches and others, then along came the mockingbird. This bird lives in the maple in the front of the house eating the berries on the English ivy that grows on the tree, and this is the first time I’ve seen it at the watering hole.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Full of Sparrows

sparrows in spruce
sparrows in spruce

Full of Sparrows

I lost count at about 24 because they moved so much. The spruce boughs, though they are bare, are a really happening place for sparrows waiting in line for the bird feeder.


Ripe Purple

poke berries
poke berries

Pokeberries

The pokeberries are ripe in my garden—but they aren’t something I planted, nor will I harvest and eat them! American Pokeberries, Phytolacca americana, are a the fruit of a native wild plant that is nearly entirely quite toxic to humans and animals, yet prepared and eaten properly are nutritious and even healing, and also make an interesting red dye. It’s a matter of learning about the plant and being careful, something humans had learned to be over millennia or they would simply die. But cooking and rinsing the young leaves, only young leaves, no stems, several times produces “poke salad” which you may have read about in pioneer or southern cultural novels. The berry pulp has toxins but the seeds are the highly toxic part, so carefully cooking the berries without crushing or softening the seeds produces a pretty red dye, though it’s not as intense a color as you would expect, nor very long-lasting.

The pokeberries show up in my garden courtesy of the birds. They can eat the berry, but the seed is toxic to them as well, so they carefully eat the berry and swallow the whole thing, excreting the seed with a proper amount of fertilizer to give it a good start when it sprouts the next year. These seeds are favorites of cardinals, catbirds and mockingbirds, so if you want to invite those species to your yard you can carefully bring home a bunch of purple pokeberries, preferrably in a container so you don’t get any juices on your hands, and just bury them stem and all in a spot you’d like them to grow. Hopefully next spring you’ll see vibrant but simple green leaves with red stems emerge from the soil.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Gray Catbird

gray catbird
gray catbird

A gray catbird was really giving orders.

No, they don’t need to be rescued, and these weren’t even the ones in my back yard who sit quietly hidden in the branches and softly say, “Meow. Meow.” They are so convincing I’ve actually gone out to look for a cat a few times though I’m fairly certain it’s a bird I’m looking for!

These birds were on the bank of the creek where I walk to Main Street. As I approached the area where they were I heard more of a “chip! chip! chip!”, which I typically associate with cardinals as a warning sound. But seeing no red I looked for movement and immediately saw this small gray catbird clutching a rock and obviously giving orders.

Then I heard another catbird, farther down the bank very near the water. I looked closer and saw him clutching a fallen wingstem plant.

gray catbird
The other catbird called to lure Junior in that direction.

In the meantime the first cat bird was really working itself up!

gray catbird
This bird was really working itself up!

I had an idea what was going on, and yes—there! Junior catbird hadn’t yet earned his pilot’s license and he was hopping about on the rocks. I had put my telephoto lens on my camera so I didn’t need to get too close and cause them all to fly away, but the mom and dad catbird were still pretty upset by this human hanging around and looking at them.

gray catbird
Junior.

Junior moved to a more protected place and the first catbird observed the change.

gray catbird
There he goes.

The catbird that had been by the water moved up to protect Junior from the persistent one-eyed human talking nonsense. It’s also a good photo of a catbird if you need to identify one.

gray catbird
Dad catbird sits on a sapling stump observing.

Catbirds are related to mockingbirds and thrashers and all are called “mimic thrushes”, and while they do imitate other birds and sounds in their environment, they are not quite as famous as mockingbirds for this charming habit. (Really, when the mockingbirds start up it makes me laugh—it’s as if you’ve turned them to “play” and they just keep methodically repeating from one sound after another until you’re really done listening.) Catbirds aren’t imitating cats, they simply make a sound that resembles a cat, though there are other features about them that I have always found very catlike and I’m pretty sure the other characteristics helped this bird be named for another species.

Catbirds are fairly small, smaller than an American Robin and more slender than an American Cardinal, which doesn’t help you at all if you are not from North America, but other countries have similar or related species for comparison. They are quite a lovely slate gray, actually a very catlike gray with silvery highlights. But they also have a black cap and their wings and tail are darker…kind of like Siamese points? I’m pushing it there, but those are distinguishing characteristics. Under the tail you’ll see a chestnut patch, as in the second photo.

They are about 9″ long, but more than the average length of that is their tail, and they use their tails to advantage, one of the things I really do find similar to cats. In most of the photos here you’ll see they have their tails tilted upward, and it can often go to a nearly 90 degree angle like a wren, and they also tend to flip that tail as they talk and hop around.

Aside from these two parents setting up a racket they are generally very quiet birds and tend to stay in hidden and protected areas such as dense trees and shrubs, grapevines and brambles—in fact, I’ve been trying to get a photo of one in the daylight for so long I was happy to see this threesome out in the daylight. But taken from all my years of rescuing cats, I’ve also found cats to keep to the same sorts of places. The one time they do display themselves is when they perch at the top of a tree and sing their little hearts out…kind of like a kitty who wants some attention.

So there’s today’s lesson on a bird! As you walk around, keep a lookout for whatever is there. You never know what you might find, even in the middle of a city.

Learn more about catbirds at Cornell University’s All About Birds page for the catbird.

The phrase “the catbird seat” means to find one’s self in a very advantageous circumstance, literally in a good seat to enjoy something, or in a good position where things are going well, “sitting pretty”; here is a pretty clear explanation of how the phrase was first used and what it’s come to mean.  Here is James Thurber’s short story entitled The Catbird Seat

The catbird as a totem teaches you about communication, to communicate clearly, to learn other languages both metaphorically and literally, and also to be mindful of what you say and how you say it, as the catbird stays in the shadows and speaks sparingly until she finds the best spot from which to sing her message.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Fledgling Blue Jay

blue jay
blue jay

Fledgling blue jay

A fledgling blue jay hopped onto the deck rail, not sure what to do, so he talked about it. The bird water bowl is right there and no doubt it’s a regular stop for the bird’s parents, but he didn’t seem to get the idea, instead flying off.

I photographed this through the screen on my back door which softened the focus and added a little refraction to the highlights, and I kind of like the effect.


Northern Flicker

northern flicker
northern flicker

Northern Flicker

Today was flight training day for a juvenile Northern Flicker as his parents, he father seen here, flew from tree to tree and tried to get him to come to them. You can’t miss flickers when they are around, they are as loud as blue jays and when they really rev up their ki ki ki ki call it sounds sounds as if they are loudly giggling.

But the most notable thing about them is every detail of their appearance—they are large woodpeckers, 10 to 12 inches long, and have tan and black striped wings and tan and black polka-dotted chest with a prominent black crescent like a necklace, yellow or red underside their tail and wings, and males have a red crescent on the back of their neck. They frequently feed on the ground and have long beaks that reach for insects in tree bark and in the soil. I am glad to see them because they eat snails and slugs and other garden pests. I’ve been hoping something would come along to help me control those slimy things, and  guess the flicker family thinks they’ve found heaven.

Here is a photo of him calling his progeny…

northern flicker

Northern flicker talking.

And looking to see if he’d shown up.

norther flicker

Hey kid, what part of “come here” don’t you understand?

But when I went back in the house Giuseppe, one of my cats, led me to the window by my computer and pointedly looked out. I thought there might be a hummingbird, but it was actually the juvenile flicker—a male, as you can see by the nascent red crescent on the back of his neck—was sitting quietly in the grapevine garland around the porch. I went outside to take a closer look and see if he was possibly entangled; birds land on this frequently but with his age and inexperience he might not know quite what to do. I spoke to him and reached up to pull the vines apart and he collected himself and off he went to a branch on the lilac near the ground, then hopped into the ground covers and went rustling away underneath the cover. I’m glad he was okay, I want those flickers to feel welcome.

juvenile northern flicker

The juvenile flicker


Grumpy Bird

fledgling robin
fledgling robin

Grumpy Bird

GOT UP EARLY AND GOT THE FIRST WORM…

AND I ATE IT!

For all my feline-loving friends, this little fledgling robin’s disapproving frown reminded me so much of Grumpy Cat’s frown!


White-throated Sparrow

White-throated sparrow
White-throated sparrow

White-throated sparrow

Lots of sparrows visit my feeders right outside the windows, and while I’ve heard white-throated sparrows I’ve not seen one, at least not up close. I know they are ground feeders, and in winter I will often hear their little “tseeet tseeet” at dusk and see them deep in one of the dense bushes. But those stripes on his head, the yellow markings and especially that white spot really stood out—this one was right up in my lilac, not coming to the feeder just above it, but scouting the ground underneath before diving down for a prize seed.

White-throated sparrow

White-throated sparrow