I’m an admitted  Orinthophile….  I’m  active in my obsession.. constantly looking up , finding new  species  that I’ve never seen before, or have  seen but  didn’t  realize  what it was…. This affliction  (I personally don’t  consider it an affliction but  some do)  hit me  long ago, as a child.   I  didn’t   truly begin feeding the addiction  until  I’d traveled the world and  “settled down”  then with a telephoto lens  I’d  go  birding… or  twitching as they call it in the UK…. I’d  set up feeders and blinds… I’d   go through  lots of  35mm film and freak out if I didn’t have an extra  roll at all times…  the “hobby”   waned for a  few years   while raising kids and horses and dogs…. But it was always there…. I’d be out on a  ride  and  see a red tail hawk  doing lazy  circles in the sky,


Turkey Vultures

Turkey Vultures above our house

or  a   bald eagle  soaring on the thermals, turkey vultures  circling in on  a dead deer in the woods… from the  giant raptors to the  smallest chickadee or  hummingbirds   I’m fascinated  by,  and love  birds…  maybe it’s a natural thing that started  with Icarus… I believe the Wright  brothers  had it….. Da Vinci  had it ….Audubon  for sure  had it 😉 …. I  know a lot of fellow avian  enthusiasts, even an Ornithologist or three… I’ve given up   wondering, why I like them so much, and just enjoy them and help them when I am presented with the opportunity.   I’ve learned  a lot about  different species and about  birds in general, but  I’m no  expert! I couldn’t name all their anatomical parts or even their latin names… I don’t have the bandwidth or  storage space in my  brain to hold that information  anymore… maybe when I’m  older and need  to exercise the  grey matter  more  I’ll  put that on my list of to  do’s   but until then  I will just observer and enjoy and  identify…..  my latest part of birding is  watching the natural  pecking order of species in my yard this fall and through the winter… I’ll be  watching come spring and next summer as well… .for now here’s a  typical Autumn day in the yard:

Dawn  is about to  break , the sky is gradually becoming   brighter, the darkness slowly receding… I hear the  chirp chirp twitter and then the hmmmmmmm that is the Anna’s  Hummingbird close by ready for  her first  sip of nectar after  a night of slowing her metabolism down to rest.


She’s the first one at the  feeder every morning, than it’s her  mates  turn, he tries to  sneak in early but gets chased off until she is good and ready to share….once she’s had her fill  he  flits  back in and drinks deeply the sweet water…while he is drinking the  sun peeks  above the horizon  the first true rays  start to  shine through the trees. Steam  rises from  wherever they touch  evaporating the  heavy dew. The Junco’s  come in to the feeders  next , quickly to be chased away  by the  chattering and  feisty  Chestnut backed and  Mountain Chickadees….  The chickadees  grab their fill and the Juncos  return  with a  few sparrows in  tow to get the  seeds on the ground…. Nuthatches  fly in and walk upside down on the feeder to the openings and grab the best  of the seeds and nuts  one at a time and fly back to their feeding tree to enjoy the protein of their breakfast. Next up – Towhee time…. They  are slightly  larger birds and will hit the feeders to  scatter seeds on the ground  and then hop down and  enjoy  them while they  can…the Junco’s and sparrows  come back and are tolerated as long as they keep their distance….  After  Momma  Hummingbird has had her first fill  up of the day,  she also tolerates the other  birds while she comes and goes along with her mate and offspring to  grab sips  throughout the day…the rotation of  Juncos, Chickadees, Nuthatches on the feeders continue throughout the day. When it’s  not their turn at the  feeders the Juncos will wait on  the rooftops  on the edge of the gutters, tapping impatiently , letting the Chickadees know that their time  is nearly  up.

Golden  Crowned  Sparrow (migrating through)

Golden Crowned Sparrow (migrating through)

Female Golden Crowned Sparrow

Female Golden Crowned Sparrow

A loud  SQWAK CAW CAW CCCCAW  and a Stellar Jay  comes in –  Everyone flees the scene like it’s a  major drug bust by the  Feds… the bird is  gorgeous but  raucous ….. with it’s  blue body and  black head with  a large crest  it  is easy to see how  it could be  the  “fuzz” helps itself to its fill  and  leaves as loudly as it arrived….


Things return to normalcy in the  yard…. Hummers,  juncos, sparrows, nuthatches, chickadees….  Another interruption – this time a Northern Flicker arrives…  but most of the sparrows and juncos  remain.. .the  flicker does  just that….  Hangs on the  feeder and flicks  away the things it doesn’t  feel like and  picks out his favorites….

Norther Flickers

Norther Flickers

The  scattering  seeds are  gathered by the towhees and sparrows nothing is wasted….  It’s now time  though for the Finch/Siskin invasion to begin!  Nearing noon the American Goldfinches and  Pine Siskins  swarm the  tube feeder, the ground, the hopper feeder…..there are probably 50 birds seeds flying , squabbles breaking out inter and intra-species ..the Juncos are up on the gutters   tapping their beaks  on the metal  like an old roman coliseum  they are  there for the show!


The hummers  fly in and out of the traffic  of the  finches and siskins  to snag sips  eventually something spooks the  flock and  off they go to the trees to chat up a storm and  the cycle continues….  Nature is fascinating in it’s organization,  even when it is intervened upon by my bird feeders…it is sorted out, shared in a specific way that they all instinctively know….  All co-existing and knowing their  role, their place….. I haven’t seen any  predation at my feeders this year surprisingly..  I used to have the occasional  Coopers Hawk or  Sharp-shin  visit and grab a  meal but not  this year… I suspect  the construction around , the so called “progress”  or sprawl  is  destroying their  habitat….  We’ll  be moving soon  back out to the  deep woods/Mountains AKA  –  BFE … where  some of the   songbirds will become snacks for the raptors…some of the squirrels will be  lunch for the hawks….but, until then I’ll   just continue to  watch and learn from the non-predatory birds – some reminders for me:  know when it’s my turn,  know when it’s  time  to  let  someone else  go ahead, stand up to my peers when needed and occasionally  even fight for what is mine…..and sometimes  fly away as fast as possible  in a zig zag  fashion  to avoid the hot pursuit of someone I’ve offended!

As always:  Stay Safe, Be Kind, Keep the Park Clean, Pay it forward, Make a Difference and One Love.


I have an  album of bird photos on Facebook that is public  for  photos only my wife or I have taken of  different species of  birds  if you’d like to see more photos click here:

8 thoughts on “Berdnerd

  1. FABULOUS!!! Your “break” must have been good for you…that was SO well written and I could really SEE all of the activity in your back yard!! Nice to have you back my have been missed!!!!

    • I think this was my favorite you have written!!! It was like I was there. Love how you put the birds activity into our own human activities at the end 🙂

    • I think I still have my birder books and book identifying all the birds I had seen back when I was actively taking pictures and writing things down. Plus, it “didn’t count” if I saw the bird at a zoo place like Silver Springs.

  2. Lovely, and lively! Selfishly, I am pleased to have full-name-birds this time, no having to go figure out abbreviations! 😉 Thanks, as always, for sharing.

  3. Wow, I was on my way to read your latest health update and remembered I had been going to read this the other day and hadn’t. Wow you get some neat birds, but area has to do with that some. I’d love to see a Stellar Jay someday. Thinking back I always noticed birds too, I remember an Baltimore Oriole nest we had hanging in a big bush when I was growing up. Then came the horses when I was about 35 and I kept making a list of birds I’d see, but ran out of time to really get into it. 2004 I wanted a digital camera and found a peregrine cam and it took off from there 🙂 Thanx for a day in your yard.

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