Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Early Bird Gets the Worm

American Robin
The Robins are very plentiful this year and wonderful visitors to our yard!! They are one of the first to sing in the morning and the last to sing at night....

Depending on the area and the resources, Robins can have up to three clutches in a year....Sometimes the mother lays her second clutch of eggs before the babies leave the nest at two weeks of age.  The male assists with feeding the first brood for another couple of weeks until they are able to fend for themselves and are fully independent, while the mother tends to the second clutch, and if lucky, the third.

If you have a good supply of food, shelter and water on your property, you will be sure to attract all varieties of songbirds throughout the year....

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron, which is the largest North American Heron, is poised on top of this spruce tree by our fish pond.  His plan was to do a little fishing, but his view was slightly obscured this morning as he noticed our Pekin ducks were having their morning bath and there was a lot of splashing going on!! He only stayed long enough for me to snap a couple of quick photos and then he was off!!  He will return, as he does most days.  Great Blue Herons can hunt day and night.  They have a high percentage of rod-type photoreceptors in their eyes that improve their night vision.

The Great Blue Heron has a wingspan of almost 7 feet and stands almost 4 feet tall!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bad Hair Day

Female Purple Finch enjoying some sunshine at the feeder



Then the next day....


What a difference a day can make.... !!

Despite the rain, our feathered friends were visiting the feeders all day long!!
(although soaking wet, she's still a little cutie)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Feathers For Our Feathered Friends

Our Pekin duck and chicken feathers are in high demand these days........ They are plentiful and free for the taking!!

This adorable male Tree Swallow was playing with this feather before going to the nest box with it.... Clean, loose feathers are important for Tree Swallows. They line their nests with them, lots of them....It keeps the babies comfortable and dry.

They are everywhere... I found this feather hanging onto a dandelion.... The first thing in the morning when the ducks and chickens emerge from their house, is the best time to capture this spectacle!!  The Tree Swallows are not far; look up, and you will see them swooping and gliding everywhere.... In the meantime, they are in search of a freshly preened feather from down below.... don't blink if you want to witness the take, because they are fast!!

There he goes!!  As you can see, there are a few more feathers close by, but they won't be there for long....

The male Tree Swallow was having a little bit of a problem getting this feather in the nesting box.... He was trying so hard.... I looked closer and noticed that the hollow shaft, also known as calamus (the pointed end pictured just above his head) was too long to fit in the nesting hole.  I waited until he eventually dropped the feather.  I assisted by snipping the calamus off.  Then, I tossed the feather into the wind and a few seconds later, he caught it in mid-air!!

And there he goes with it to the nest... !! Oh, you're welcome, glad to help out (wink, wink)

We have been watching the Tree Swallows collect many of these naturally shed feathers and take them to their nest over the past two weeks.  Here's a peek when they arrived.

The female and male both work very hard in the nest making process....

Rise and shine.....

Say hi to Squirt....she is happy, along with all of the other Pekin ducks to contribute her soft downy feathers to the nesting Tree Swallows!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Our Tree Swallows are Back !!

Our tree swallows arrived a couple of weeks ago and there are lots of them....they are so amazing and fun to watch!!  They fly so fast and are darting everywhere....They perform awesome acrobatics while chasing after flying insects...

This male tree swallow is stretching.  He has been sitting on this branch for a few minutes keeping a close eye on his female.

We have a breeding pair nesting in the box again this year....When the female is producing her eggs, she needs extra calcium, so we offer some crushed egg shells for them to eat.  We raise laying chickens, so there are plenty of eggs!! And, our pekin ducks help out too....When the tree swallow prepares the nest, they are looking for soft bedding and one of the supplies they seek are freshly preened feathers.

Here is the very dedicated female looking quite comfortable and ready to lay her eggs!! If you want to read some interesting facts about the tree swallow or see some more images of them, stop by over here and check them out!!