First Hummer Of The Season

We had ZERO hummingbirds in the spring. Very disappointing. Donald Ray Burger keeps a log of Houston hummingbird sightings going back to 1993 and when I read that he had his first fall sighting on August 5th I decided to put the feeders out. Today we spotted two hummers. One male and one female, both Ruby-Throated. It was late in the afternoon, but I setup the tripod real quick anyway and caught my first photo.

Hopefully I’ll get some more shots before we head out on vacation. Even better, maybe they’ll still be here when we get back!


Poor little guy. Looks like the wind blew him out of his nest which is up pretty high in the Bottle Brush Trees so I couldn’t put him back, plus it looked like he might have a hurt wing as a result of the fall.

That and the neighborhood cat combined didn’t give me a good feeling about his chances of making it through the night so we scooped him up and took him to the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition just to be safe. His parents were frantic and dive-bombing me like crazy. I’m sure it was quite the site to see.

I felt bad. But in this scenario, everybody lives.

Cynthia named him Fergus.

The Wild Peafowl Of West Houston

Off Memorial Drive between Kirkwood and Dairy Ashford reside the wild peafowl of West Houston. Peacocks and Peahens roam the yards and streets, putting on a show and making a racket. Their call sounds like a baby crying out or a cat in severe pain. Some residents describe their call as “sounds like somebody being murdered.”

Overall they seem oblivious to the human residents and the occasional gawkers like myself who drive down to see them.

Apparently the population of about 50 birds are offspring from a pair that a landowner gave his wife more than 30 years ago. From what I understand, most of the residents like the birds.

And this one particular Peacock had no problem at all with me taking his picture as he presented himself, in all his glory, to any Peahen who cared to have a romp or a gander.

Spring Is Coming – But Wait!

We’re having some very odd weather here in Houston.

The last few days have been very comfortable and rather mild. There’s been just a hint of spring in the air. I’ve noticed that the birds are gearing up for the upcoming mating season. You can see it in their activity around the house and in the neighborhood.

This male Cardinal was singning to beat the band and showing off his mighty crest.

And these two House Finches are busily building a nest in the neighbor’s tree

They seem blissfully unaware that we have our second snowfall of the season predicted for this afternoon.

That’s right, snow.


in Houston, TX

Poor birdies.

Backyard Birding Report Oct. 25th, 2009

A murder of very large, very loud and very clever crows have taken up station at the end of the block. Apparently there’s a pecan tree down there yielding some nuts. The crows are flying to the top of the neighbor’s house and attempting to crack the nuts using their beaks. When this fails they let the nut roll down the roof and into the street to be crushed by oncoming cars. It’s quite a site to see. At one point there were about 7 or 8 crows lining the peak of the roof and all had pecans they were working on. One by one they let skitter to the street below. I can only imagine what it sounds like inside the house.

Wait A Minute Mr. Postman

I headed off this morning to go to Starbucks and grab a coffee in preparation for the day ahead. In the front yard there were feathers scattered across the lawn, an indication that something horrible happened to one of the many doves that frequent our yard. I assumed that a neighborhood cat had scored a tasty meal and hoped the day’s rain would wash the carnage away.

As I was returning home, having acquired the aforementioned coffee I spotted the neighborhood Cooper’s Hawk landing on the neighbor’s mailbox. I ran inside and grabbed the camera and managed a few shots before he spooked and flew away.

If you click the images below and examine the larger version you can clearly see feathers in his talons. Feathers that match the feathers that litter my front lawn. I guess this clears the neighborhood cats of suspicion in at least one bird death…