Backyard Birding Report

The baby Mockingbird I reported earlier is getting big enough to fly and turns out to be one of two babies living in the bushes in front of the house.

Still has some of his downy bird fuzz, but should be grown and on his way soon. We’re pretty tired of the incessant peeping. The mother Mockingbird does keep a watchful eye on the youngsters and goes to the backyard frequently for food.

Distressing that the Grackles have been showing up in greater numbers. We’ve even seen some babies being fed by their parents. They love the suet and the bread we put out and gunk up the birdbath dunking it.

I put out a larger feeder that is filled with a seed and corn cake. The bigger birds love it and the Blue Jay finally has a feeder that can accommodate his size.

Ricky the Cardinal was putting on a an odd show as I sat in the backyard this afternoon. Leaning from one side to another and making an insistant chirping noise he seemed to be confronting me.

Or showing off for the lady Cardinal…

Speaking of Ricky…a few weeks ago I noticed these two dark birds I had not seen before. Dull brown heads and smallish. About the size of the Cardinals and definitely not Blackbirds, Crows or Grackles. I didn’t really think much of it until this weekend when I saw this

It was obvious to me that the black bird was doing that little wing shake open mouth thing that baby birds do when they want their parents to feed them. Certainly Ricky was not going to feed this guy…WRONG!

What the heck? I watched Ricky feed this guy on and off all weekend. On Friday when I mentioned it to Cynthia she said “Oh, that’s a Cowbird!”

Turns out that Cowbirds lay their eggs in Cardinal nests and if the Cardinal doesn’t detect that a strange bird’s egg has been added the Cardinal will hatch the egg and raise the Cowbird as it’s own.

Poor Ricky! I can just imagine him thinking “Boy this kid’s ugly…and what an appetite! Guess he takes after his mother’s side of the family….”

To Photograph A Mockingbird

One of the more elusive visitors to the backyard feeders. This guy paused for a few photos before deciding that no amount of suet was worth risking an extended visit. Both shot with the vintage Minolta 500mm f/8 Reflex. Note the smoke ring-like circular bokeh in the second picture, a characteristic of this kind of lens that can either be really interesting or really annoying.