Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chickadees, etc.

Here in Colorado, we have two kinds of Chickadees. The Black-capped variety has been around on-and-off all summer.

They are small birds, only about 5 inches long, and have an unbroken black cap covering both eyes and the top of their heads. They don't stay at the feeders long, preferring to grab a seed and quickly head back to the nest.

The other variety is the slightly larger Mountain Chickadee. They look very similar to the Black-capped Chickadee except the Mountain Chickadee has white eyebrows and a smaller cap.

They have only recently come to our yard feeders and birdbath, although we regularly saw them when we hiked. I assume they are done raising their new families and are coming to lower elevations for the fall and winter.

This feeder is filled with thistle - which attracts different kinds of finches - but the Mountain Chickadees seem to also like it as a change from the sunflower seeds in the larger feeders.

The Downy Woodpeckers are regular visitors. She is clinging to a chunk of oak that we have hanging from the feeder hooks. Everyday we spread a peanut butter and suet mixture on it for the woodpeckers and the nuthatches.

The humming-birds continue to entertain us! This little guy is sitting on a honeysuckle vine near the feeder. This morning there were half a dozen buzzing around. I had to hang a second feeder to keep them all happy!

We still have lots of flowers for the birds to enjoy.

It's challenging getting pictures of them in flight as they move so fast. I've been experi-menting with different settings on my camera trying to get better pictures.

We thought this was another humming-bird the way it jetted around - but it is a moth. I don't know its official name - but everyone calls them humming-bird moths. They are about the same size as the small birds but do not feed at the feeders, preferring the flowers.

Ms. Grosbeak seems to be checking the menu before deciding what she wants for dinner.

The other day, while hiking and geocaching in Red Rock Canyon, we spotted two beautiful Red-tailed Hawks flying overhead. I almost fell over trying to get a decent picture - and since we were on the edge of a cliff, that wouldn't have been good!

Towards the end of the trail, this cute little chipmunk was munching on an apple. He didn't seem to mind me stopping to take his picture. We were surprised to see two apple trees growing near the trail. We tried the fruit and it was very good. I'm sure the wildlife enjoys it.

Look at the size of this bee enjoying the nectar from one of our pansies. He has a reddish-orange spot on his tail. I don't remember seeing bees like this when I lived on the east coast.

This picture proves we are feeding our birds well - maybe too well! This is a chubby young House Finch.

I feel just like her some days!

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