Yellow…But not Mellow

Everywhere you look, you will see pops of bright yellow frantically bouncing around the yard. The Orioles are back in full force this Spring! We get several different Oriole varieties in Todd’s Backyard. All slightly different, however they share the same shrill chatter, as shocking as their brilliant hue!

Their chatter reaches all time highs when they are playing their high-stakes game, we like to call, Who-Can-Get-The ‘Oriole Glory Hole’!

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In this game, there are 2 prizes!

1st, their ‘watering hole’. They constantly fight over position on the hummingbird feeders to quench their appetite for their favorite sugary treat! Not only are they competing amongst themselves (or similar versions of themselves), but they have to fend off the ferocious little hummers!

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And the 2nd prize….or maybe this is the 1st prize…

oriole2The female  ‘Glory Hole’ if you will….eeehhhhem.

Anyway, the Oriole fun and games, be it a bit noisy, are always fun to watch! You can’t help but be a little excited when these spectacular specimens of  fine feathered fellows come back to Todd’s Backyard every spring.

Here they will stay until fall in all their ‘Glory’!

oriole6This is a Scotts Oriole.

And below is a Bullocks Oriole.

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orioleThe Hooded Oriole

Oriole, Oriole, sprightly fellow. Flitter about all brightly yellow. Have your fun, but don’t harsh my mellow!!!

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Happy Hummer Days!

It’s Christmas morning….for us, with out kids, all is calm and all is quiet. We celebrated with our family and gift giving the previous night, but it was this morning we got a most wonderful, and unexpected gift!

The weather was sunny and mild, so we took our coffee out on the porch to enjoy the beauty of Arizona this time of year! As we watched the morning sun streaming through the yard, we could catch glimpses of sparkling color among the branches of the trees and shrubs. Just like little Christmas ornaments, the hummingbirds were decorating the desert landscape, as they woke up, preening and warming in the rising sun. Perfect timing for getting some great new photos!

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We wandered through the yard, as if on a treasure hunt, looking for all the little jewels among the branches.

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We are so lucky to be able to spend Christmas with our little hummer friends, as folks in colder climates don’t get this opportunity!

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And, this Christmas morning, the hummingbirds were out in their full glory, chirping, buzzing and trilling!

We were having such a great time! And it got even better when this little broad bill posed for me…

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And gave me my best Christmas present!…Photos of a lifetime…

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Hummmazing!!! A glorious day to celebrate all of God’s blessings 🙂

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Wishing everyone a very Happy Holiday season from Todd’s Backyard!

Owllelujah!

We had a visitation!….Well, actually our neighbors, George and Eileen had a visitation, but they were nice enough to share it with me! They called yesterday afternoon to suggest I sneak over and bring my camera in hopes that I might get to see their special visitor!

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And it was indeed a very rare site! He let me get pretty close to get these amazing shots!

He has been hanging around our area for a little while. In fact, there have been other owls in area as well.The other night we were awakened by a conversation one was having with his friends. We heard the call coming from the mesquite tree right off of our porch, then from afar, another was responding.Todd went out with a flash light, and spied a small owl. I thought it was our chickens at first, because it really didn’t sound like and owl, more like a baaagghhhk, baaaaaaaaggggk, baghk! But, then I guess that was probably because these owls knew whooooo they were talking to 🙂

A Bird’s Eye View

One afternoon, in the soft Autumn light, a figure appeared that caught everyone’s sight. Sitting tall and calm on a twisted tree limb, he surveyed his surroundings to see if the pickin’s were slim.

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The visible visitor was very pleased to find, the pickin’s where plenty and amusingly terrified! He always loved to watch the show, as his prey panicked and scurried and freaked out below!  Now, satisfied he would have a nice hearty meal, he sat back and relaxed to watch everyone squeal!

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The sparrows swarmed and hid in the bushes, the quail dove under cactus to cover their tushes. The doves left the scene in a winged whoosh of flurry and the squirrels dove in their holes in a psycho crazed hurry! All the while, their feathered foe took his time, primping and plotting his culinary crime.

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When he was sufficiently refreshed and ready to rock…”Now, my little morsels, time to eat!” Screeched Mr. Hawk. His tail twitched, his eyes focused as he scanned Todd’s Backyard. He looked and he looked, he looked very hard. Something was amiss…where had all the food gone? He knew he had seen it!…Had he been wrong? Then he reminded himself, he chose to snooze, and of course you know what they say….

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Keep your eyes on the prize!…And don’t be a fool 😉

Becoming a Bird Nerd!

I always thought birdwatching was basically….for the birds! (or nerds…) I could never imagine getting an adrenaline rush at the sight of some rare feathered foul. I always imagine a group of camouflaged kooks with their binoculars, handbooks and journals, wandering through the woods looking for the elusive Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Well, we’ve got binocs….we’ve got handbooks….

But, we don’t have to trudge around the woods, (or in our case, desert) to go find a plethora of winged wonders.  Our porch provides very comfortable accommodations for birdwatching…A nice chair, a refreshing cocktail, a fridge with more cocktails, the camera and a handy field guide to bird identification…how could it not become a fun and interesting hobby!  We’ve captured some really cool pics in the process…Here’s a bit of our bird gallery….

Cactus Wren


Hooded Oriole


Gila Woodpecker


Curve-Billed Thrasher


Phainopepla (not related to a Cardinal)


Northern Cardinal and a Pyrrhuloxia (Cousins)


Rose Finch

Gold Finch

This is just a small sample of the variety of birds we get in Todd’s Backyard. This does not include: Hummingbirds, Quail, Sparrows, Doves, Pigeons, Blackbirds, Cowbirds, Warblers, Owls, Hawks, Thrushes, Verdin, Shrikes, Flycatchers, Crows, Vultures…I could keep going!  We live on a migration route, so at anytime during the year, we can see almost any kind of bird! I just have to include this last photo, even though it’s not very clear….

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

We think….or perhaps we just had too much to drink!!