Chirp Wars

Chirping…Buzzing, crowing, hooting, ka-cooing, whistling, screeching, trilling, tooting, whoot-whoot- woooing, tweeting (not the on-line kind ;)) This cacophony of sound emanates from the yard, bursting through every open window of the house! ‘Tis the mating calls and loud bird brawls that dominate the atmosphere in Todd’s Backyard this time of year. You may think this a serene and peaceful environment, and perhaps it is for some, or most. But, if one requires supreme concentration (like me, with my A.D.D.) or one who would appreciate a nap (like me, with my insomnia), you may get a little irritated with all the HOO HOO HOOpla! There are a few brash birds in particular that dominate that top the high decibel charts with their loud  and abrupt conversation tactics…..

TODD’S BACKYARD TOP 3 AUDITORY AGITATORS:

#1. MR. PETER PECKER The sweet sing-song of the finch and gentle rustle of leaves will suddenly be drowned out by the raucous cackle of the WOODPECKER…or even worse, his pecking on the chimney or front door which will unleash the spontaneous outburst of barking and howling dogs, deceived into thinking we have guests.

TBY_0016_BIRD

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#2 THE CARDINAL’S CLAN- Oh yes, he is strikingly gorgeous in his brilliant red suit, but his piecing screech is as loud as his appearance!  When he’s in love, watch out! And his screaming babies are just as bad…When they want to be fed it’s worse than any child’s tantrum. Witnessing the scene below, I believe , Mr. Cardinal is trying to teach his little screechling how to eat from the bird feeder.

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#3 CAN-NOT-IGNORE ORIOLE- A summer resident, the orioles have just recently arrived along with their piercing call. They sit in the mesquite tree off the porch clacking and whistling, making their presence known.  Oh, oriole, we see you in all your brilliant yellow glory! So put a sock in it and shut the F*&# up!

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Don’t get me wrong, I love all the birds, and we are so lucky to live smack dab in the middle of a  migration route! After all the migratory birds have traveled through, the ones that remain for the summer will soon be drowned out by the buzzing of the cicadas (locust-like bugs)  when the heat starts to crank! So, sing birds, sing! And I will rejoice with you in this lovely pre-Summer Spring!

A sad casualty…

A couple of weeks ago, we heard the most lovely and unusual bird call. And we found it coming from a most lovely and unusual bird! We think it may have been a pet, not a native bird to this area, because it looked rather exotic. As a consequence, we were worried that it may not be suited for the chirp ‘n’ turf wars in Todd’s Backyard desert bird habitat. And we were unfortunately correct….

DEADBIRD

Todd found him on the ground, outside the chicken coop 😦 Not sure the cause of death, but appears to have been pierced in the stomach….and possibly his ear drums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Birds and The Bees

Oh, the  facts of life! 3 things are certain for the resident’s of Todd’s Backyard…birth, death and rebirth. The cycle of life is incredibly apparent over the years of documenting the seasons with photos. The Summer heat, the Fall lush, the Winter freeze and the Spring blossoms…over and over again. Always something to look forward to!

The yard is rebounding this Spring faster than we have seen it in the past. The bees are going crazy…But something is different this March. The orange trees have not blossomed. And, it seems they may not this year, after loosing all of their leaves to the freeze. Poor bees!  Any hives around our place will be filled with ‘hummingbird food honey’.

Luckily, we haven’t had any bad bee encounters. I don’t know if these are Africanized bees, but no one has gotten stung yet. In fact, these bees are actually pretty friendly and entertaining to watch. (Lets hope they stay that way!) I had one fly up my pant leg, and he didn’t get mad…just gave me a tickle and flew back out!

The humming birds can still manage to  get a sip, as soon as the fearless little Rufous Hummer comes in to chase all the bees away.

The Elusive Rufous Hummingbird….

Don’t let his cute looks fool you. He is  a vicious little beast! As soon as he chases off the bees, he’s chasing off all of the other birds!

And the birds are thick! We’ve been able to capture a lot of new pics for Todd’s Backyard bird gallery…

The Cardinal

The Starling….. a new resident!

The Thrasher

The Oriole

Nests abound! The doves are in love!

Oh indeed! Hide your eyes!

Well, this is what happens in the Spring…. It is a ‘fact of life’….sometimes you just get screwed!

And as the old saying goes ….”The only things certain in life are birth, death and taxes.” I guess this pic pretty much sums it up for us! Alas, just as the desert is coming back to life, Todd and I have to face tax season. Ouch!!!

I can only hope that after this tax season we can rebound like the yard has! And life goes on!

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!!

Birds of a Different Feather…Flock together!

Some of the most vivid stand-outs of Todds’ Backyard, are the many Cardinals that frequent the feeders and foliage. Most folks don’t immediately think of a Cardinal as a desert resident…..although, we do have the ‘Arizona Cardinal’ football team- I guess that’s appropriate! The Cardinals (birds, not NFL athletes), bright red, flaming heads, dot the yard among the green cactus and brush….It’s always a bit of a rush to see them!

The cousin of the cardinal is the Pyrrhuloxia…

Similar…I think most would think that this is a female Cardinal…We did for a while, until we were set straight by our neighbor’s grandson, when he was about 10 years old. Since then, we can tell the difference.

Recently, we’ve been capturing a lot of interesting photos…at first, we thought that it was the male and female Cardinal….

But, take a little closer look and it’s a male Pyrrhuloxia and a male Cardinal.

Maybe they’re starting their own new team!

Go Cardinaloxias!