More Backyard Birds

backyard blue jay
Right behind the house (where the birdfeeders are), you'll see a lot of your more "domesticated" birds. Blue Jays are very frequent visitors, for example. There have been lots of Blue Jays this year - and they seem a lot shyer than I remember them being when I was a kid. They are just as noisy, but more easily spooked by humans.

backyard sparrows
Here are five of the approximately five hundred sparrows that live in my yard. Can you see all five? They are pretty well camoflauged this time of year.

backyard woods
At the back of the yard is a strip of woods that borders the Hultman aqueduct. It is actually a very steep hill back there; much steeper than it appears here. Walking back there can be dangerous because it is not only steep but VERY slippery when wet!

backyard titmouse
I was looking for warblers again. They were there, too. They were very, very high up and flitting quickly from tree to tree. There was absolutely no way I could even see one clearly, never mind take a picture. The smallest bird I photographed was a shy little Tufted Titmouse.

backyard titmouse 2
He did his level best to hide from the camera, but his big eyes and pointy head couldn't be disguised.

backyard woodpecker 3
I saw more woodpeckers than anything else, probably because it is easy to track the pecking sounds. It doesn't hurt that they are often on dead or dying trees where they can't hide behind leaves, of course. I think this is a Downy Woodpecker, mostly because I think I see black and white feathers on the edge of the tail.

backyard woodpecker
The major difference between Hairy woodpeckers and Downy woodpeckers is that Hairy woodpeckers are about 3 inches bigger than Downys. Size is difficult to judge without an actual comparison or a known reference point, however, and I had neither. Hairy woodpeckers also have proportionally larger beaks, but this one was so busy pecking that I never saw her face! The only other difference is the barred outer tailfeathers of the Downy woodpecker, which is the very questionable basis for my call on this bird.

redbellied backyard
There were a few Red-bellied woodpeckers around, too. They were pecking a lot, but they also yelled at me now and then for tresspassing in their woods. Red-bellied woodpeckers are not particularly shy.

redbellied backyard 2
I think Red-bellied woodpeckers are very appealling and attractive birds. (Actually, I think they are adorable, but I try to stay away from using such imprecise and emotional words in public. Sorry, Chris!)


  1. What beautiful pictures. I'm glad you shared them. :)

  2. Interesting observation about shy, easily spooked, jays. Back in April when the snow finally melted beneath the pines, I found several piles of blue jay feathers - I suspect they were dining left-overs. I also suspect that is why they are so easily spooked, because they are a favorite food to accipiters. Good post & pics.


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