Our Lovely Neighbors

Yesterday, I finally saw (and photographed) two new birds that I had been hearing for several weeks. It prompted me to post some of the individual encounters I have had over the past week or so.

While waiting for a pair of Eastern Bluebirds to show up at a nest box where I had seen them a few days ago, a Gray Catbird flew in and landed right on a post next to the box. I knew it was a bird I hadn’t seen before, and until I viewed the photos on my computer I couldn’t confirm its identity. I had seen this bird flit by me a few days ago, as well. But, without a snapshot there was no way for my old and yet birding-amateur eyes to confirm.

This Gray Catbird dropped from the top of the post to nab an insect. He looks like he is playing the role of Superman.

When I was filming a little House Wren that tolerates my presence at its nest, I spotted a bird in the thick growth of an overgrown field, nearby. For a few weeks, I had been hearing the “pee-a-wee” sound that this bird makes. I was able to get a couple of photos, and it flew off. This is NOT an Eastern Wood-pewee, as I previously posted. Thank you to the Illinois Birds discussion group for pointing out that this is, in fact, a Great Crested Flycatcher! This species tends to hang out in the upper canopy of the forest, so that I was able to catch a glimpse of one at eye level was a fortunate occurrence.

Here’s the House Wren that has permitted me to get increasingly closer to its nest box. I think that being in the golf cart is a good way to appear “inanimate” so I am able to get a bit closer to some birds than they might otherwise tolerate.

He looks like a grumpy old man.

We have many Red-winged Blackbirds around, probably because we have the exact type of habitat they love. They are most often found around the pond. Here are a few shows I got of this bird that, while plentiful, is hard to photography – just like a black dog is hard to photograph. It’s challenging to see any definition.

The next image has a female, and three male Red-winged Blackbirds stationed at the top of a tree that overlooks the pond.

The Dickcissel is a little bird with a huge voice. They fly to the very highest branch of a tree and share their story with everyone who will listen.

This next photo is of the above Dickcissel as he flew off.

A female Red-winged Blackbird had taken a position at the top of a tree. What I believe is a female Orchard Oriole flew in and displaced her from that position, then they both took off in either direction.

I have observed Eastern Kingbirds in the mowed front yard of our home, hunting from the backyard fence, at the pond, and at the far south east part of the property where an E Bluebird pair and the Kingbird hunt the same area simultaneously. I don’t know how many there are, but I have seen them in nearly all corners of our 50 acres. This is one of my favorite birds, but I never seem to get a decent photo.

Southeast corner.
Southeast corner.
Front yard of house.

When we moved to our current property in 2001, I was surprised to have a resident Northern Mockingbird. I hadn’t experienced one when I lived in Wisconsin or northern Illinois. At first, I couldn’t believe all the different birds that were singing right outside our bedroom window. Then, I spotted it and realized all those vocalizations were coming from one bird! The birds that lived by the house were very territorial when dogs or cats walked across the yard they thought was theirs. I took these photos last week when I was up by the old house. Apparently, the quarter mile distance is too far for the Mocking bird to visit us at our new home, and I was happy to see that there’s still a Mockingbird presence here.

A couple weeks ago, we put up a number of nest boxes, and I was surprised to see an E Bluebird pair just two days later checking out one of the options.

And, in conclusion: I cannot leave off the Tree Swallows that are in my backyard box – just 30 feet from my office patio. I watch them every day from my desk. I figured they would have fledged already, but I looked it up, and they take quite a while to leave the nest (about 22 days.) So, the last photos of this post will be ones I took last evening. The chicks are still in the nest tonight. I don’t know when they hatched, exactly. But, they sure seem ready to go. What I do know is that these birds work hard for a living!

It brings me tranquility and joy to share my world with these lovely creatures. They make great neighbors.

Have a wonderful day.

2 Comments on “Our Lovely Neighbors

  1. A great post. Love all the different birds you featured in this post. I live in Arkansas and the Mockingbird is our state bird. They are a pest when it come to blueberry and blackberry season – when we grow a large amount of these berries in our yard. But we let them get their share. Discovered your blog – I love nature and the outdoors.

  2. Beautiful photos!!! I especially love the mockingbird, as it is the TEXAS state bird! (As well as Arkansas!!) We live in Northern Illinois, and have them at Midewin but this spring, for one day, we had one in our back yard!!! I knew it by the White wing patches!!! Thank you for sharing your photos!!

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