Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bits of Color

Gold Finches early this winter.  Their feathers become bright yellow in the summer.

Brandon's Dream Catcher - Summer Tanager

During the winter months, I feed the birds.  The seed mixture is sold by The Wild Birdhouse in Topeka.  Once the feeders are filled, the word spreads through the bird communities in a day or two.  Soon there is a crowd waiting in all of the trees.  Sometimes there are indigo buntings, cardinals, gold finches, and blue jays all waiting their turn and adorning the drab winter scenery with their brilliant plumage.  The cost of the seed is a small price to pay for such a rainbow of living color in the dead of winter.

There are three different types of woodpeckers, chickadees, vireos, sparrows, titmice, and juncos.  Sometimes a lone quiet dove will come in, too.  The birds may fuss a bit among their own kind, but there is no open warfare between birds of a different feather.  Everyone just naturally gives way to the blue jays except the titmice.  Maybe they are cousins.  It is the woodpecker who commands the most respect from everyone.  Though I have never witnessed violence from the woodpeckers, no one is willing to chance that there might be violence, apparently.  Even the blue jays defer to them.

Another upside to this small investment of time and money is that in summer months I am lucky to see such surprising jewels as this summer tanager in the same trees as an indigo buntings.  (None of those photos turned out.) The tanager was establishing his territory right outside my bedroom window in a loud, serious dispute with a rival male.  As he was savoring his triumph, and perhaps resting, I was able to take his portrait.

This morning this blue bird was perched in the redbud trees right outside the office windows.  I am not certain if he is an indigo bunting or a blue grosbeak.  
I do not know for sure what this bird is, except beautiful!


Don said...

Now that is really cool. I've only seen on Tanager in my life time and the Indigo Bunting is pretty neat too.
We've got a pair of nesting Baltmore Orioles this year and the weaved basket hanging from the tree is only about 20 feet from a grape jelly dish that the female really likes. The male sips on the humming bird feeders.
Great photos!!

Jackie said...

Well, you learn something every day. I assumed the red bird was a scarlet tanager, until I looked it up. The summer tanager is the only entirely red bird in North America. I had never heard of it before. I am still trying to determine what the blue bird is.. maybe he is just that: a bluebird! There are oriole nests here, too, but I don't specifically feed them. I will have to try the grape jelly.

Don said...

I meant to mention that you might have a "Blue Grosbeak" there....I've gotten them confused myself as I have seen both. The Blue Grosbeak has a thicker beak than the Bunting. For some reason when you see them in the natural they just look different than some of the best bird books. Here's a link showing both: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Indigo_Bunting/id

Jackie said...

It is a close call! Indigo Buntings always have appeared dark, colbalt blue to me, irridescent. And this one is much brighter blue. My photo matches one online photo of an IB perfectly. But when I look at the grosbeaks, he looks like one of them, too. I will have to study further...