Backyard birding

I just did a loop of the yard to make sure I’d brought in all my gardening junk and got a real treat. The area is alive with birds: robins, downy woodpeckers, cardinals, an oriole, and it looks like I have three nesting pairs in residence. The flycatchers are back – they’re using a two year old nest (refurbished, I’m sure) that is perched on top of a shutter, right under the eaves. I have to admit that I don’t know what kind of flycatcher they are although they’ve raised many clutches either on the shutter or in a nest a foot away from the back door. I guess it’s time for a little close observation with one of my bird books in my lap. The other two pair are easy to identify. The ruby-throated hummingbirds are nesting in the big lilac tangle again this year. Last year I got to watch a bit of the male’s mating display; this year (about 20 minutes ago) I got to watch the female perform her evening clean-up. Feaking (I hope it’s OK to use that word on an H-bird), some scratching, wing preening – she was sitting in the evening sun and the her iridescence was jaw dropping. Finally a black fly flew up my nose and I twitched – it was all over. There is a tufted titmouse nest in a hole in an old, dead apple tree. I was thinking about cutting what is left of the tree down last winter – I’m glad I didn’t.

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