Isn't he a handsome little devil? This photo of an Mourning Dove just reinforces my oft-repeated assertion that 'common' everyday birds are often startlingly beautiful. Perhaps in this case, he is more startling than beautiful!
Mourning Doves are "common' and familiar birds in the US. Nonetheless, they really are a rather uncommon looking bird. This one's puffed up feathers make this Mourning Dove appear twice as large as she really is.
This proud papa is so tired from the burdens of parenthood that he is about to doze off in the sun. Mourning Doves have multiple broods each year, so they are always busy hatching eggs or feeding and caring for their young. Don't you love the amazing blue eyelids?
A male Mourning Dove sitting on the roof. Male Mourning Dove's are pinker and brighter than females, but he is far too pink even for a male. What is the cause of this rosy glow when I didn't mess around with the color processing? I have concluded that he looks pink from a combination of morning sunlight and the reflected light from the roofing material.
Mourning Doves, Like their cousins the Pigeons, like to sit on wires. They are such an ordinary sight that we hardly notice them. A closer look at their bright red feet, their polka dots and stripes, their startling eye-rings , and their spherical shapes, however, will reveal a rather extraordinary ordinary bird!
The fledgling Rose-Breasted Grosbeak perched on a wire. He appears to have been at the suet feeder, or maybe he has found some juicy berries somewhere.
Seeing this little guy up close was one of the high points of my birthday!
He seems too young and vulnerable to be on his own, but I've seen no evidence of other Rose-breasted Grosbeaks around.
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks fledge 9 to 12 days after they hatch. That seems a very short childhood to me!
This fledgling Rose-Breasted Grosbeak seems quite healthy and well, although a bit lonely. At least he's been successful at finding food!
I don't see many Red-winged Blackbirds in my yard. I hear them around, but they aren't really bird feeder aficionados.
Still, it was fun to get close enough to take photos of a Red-winged Blackbird.
They weren't very shy, as it turned out. Two RWBs hung around for a bit, checking out the other birds and basically ignoring me.
He might have been looking at the chipmunks bouncing all around the yard. They are pretty comical to watch.
Maybe they just stopped by for a little rest and relaxation.
I finally captured him! My male juvenile Rose-breasted Grosbeak, looking a little more mottled and worse for wear than last weekend.
Who could not be enchanted by his baby-face. And he was calling so piteously for someone to feed him. He's not ready to go it alone!
He seems a bit put off by he uninvited company!
On top pf the unfamiliar stripes ans spotted appearance, this species could not be confused with another.
I feel privileged to even have seen one!
The baby Downy Woodpeckers are too adorable for words. (Sorry about the sentimentality!)
The freshly fledged Downys are tiny, which is apparent if you can reference them compared to an object with known dimensions, like this suet feeder.
Even these tender babes are forced to fight off the sparrows if they want to eat, however.
At first she was taken aback by the arrival of company at the suet feeder. Then she was attacked.
When the young woodpecker fought back, the sparrows retreated. She was able to get a few bites of food, anyway.
Here's something I'll bet you've never seen before! I know I haven't, and there's been a bird feeder in my various back yards for 50 years! On the other hand, pigeons are really quite extraordinary looking birds when you see them as individuals.
Yes, I'm paying good money to feed Grackles, House Sparrows, and Pigeons (aka Rock Doves). I also provide food for squirrels and chipmunks (albeit unintentionally!)
These guys are HUGE! The sparrow in the photo is a good indicator of their size.
These pigeons didn't actually eat anything. They evidently don't care for shelled seed, and they couldn't use the suet feeder.
They emptied the feeder onto the ground while looking for the occasional unshelled sunflower seed. All the ground critters were grateful for the unexpected treat. The grackle eventually chased them away, by the way.
I saw SO MANY baby birds yesterday! I Spent 8 hours in a tent in my back yard trying to get a photo of the baby Red-breasted Grosbeak we saw early in the morning. But I never caught a glimpse of him again. For one thing, there are TOO MANY SPARROWS in my yard!
I'm not kidding. We have WAY TOO MANY sparrows right now. Either House Sparrows have giant broods or there were thousands of them to start with.
It's like being overrun with rodents (which are also in far too plentiful a supply!)
But as much as they aggravate me, I can't hate them. It's not their fault they were introduced to an environment where they thrive much more than native species.
They can also be very cute. The females always look so happy - and how can you resist a daddy sparrow helping his offspring learn how to survive!
I'm overwhelmed with sparrows! So overwhelmed that I don't even know what this guy is. I'm going with an immature something!
This bird is eating the bug, worms, or caterpillars that are eating my neighbors new tree. This tree also provides a lot of cover, so it's a bird hot-spot!
But by far the strangest thing I saw across the street was the bird using the telephone and electric wires as a playground!
This female sparrow was even swinging on an electric wire!
And having a grand old time doing it, if her delighted singing is any indication!
Laughing Gulls evidently pair up in May also, and they seem to have courtship rituals that closely resemble the terns. Arching one's neck is one move that always impresses the female Laughing Gulls.
Loud calls appeared to play a role in Laughing Gull courtships, just as they did in the courtship rituals of Common Terns.
Like the Common Terns, Male Laughing Gulls will bring gifts of food to potential mates.
There was a whole lot of pairing up going on when we visited Pymouth Beach in May, 2011.
There was a whole lot of mating going on, too. This 'piggy-back' position is really an introduction to intercourse for the gulls.
Hilke Breder, the brilliant author of One Jackdaw Birding, who noticed the courtship behavior displayed in this photo when I first posted it a few weeks ago.