Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to APRIL!!!! Spring is AWESOME. Enjoy some beautiful TULIPS from Biltmore!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Backyard Birdies

male Rose-breasted Grosbeak
I can't believe that I haven't done a 'bird' post in a long time... I still feed them --and watch them every chance I get. I love my backyard birds---but for some reason, I just haven't had the camera in that direction lately... I'll try to do better in 2013. Anyhow ---I did have a couple of pictures of some 'migrating' Grosbeaks --which I took during Fall and never featured them on a blog. SO--today, I'll share those two pictures ---plus some that I took during December...

 Above is a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak --which visited us on October 10, on his way south for the winter. I thought (since we were on our long trip during much of September) that I had missed their visit this year. Luckily, this guy stopped by --so I got his picture. They look so different in Fall --as compared to their brilliant black and red/rose colors which we see in May (on their way north).

female Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
Here is a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak which visited us on  October 13.   Usually,  the males travel a couple of weeks ahead of the females---but this female must have been with the male we saw on October 10.  Unsure of that though!!!!!  You can recognize these females since they have a HUGE white eyebrow.  They are usually this color year round.

male Northern Cardinal
Here is one of our all-time favorite birds --which are with us all year long.  I love these male Cardinals especially in winter when there is snow on the ground.  That red color is so pretty against the white snow.  BUT--as you can tell,  the Cardinals also lose much of their pretty color this time of year...

male Downy Woodpecker
Here is another year-round bird for us,  the Downy Woodpecker.  This one is a male since I can see the red spot on his head.  Another similar woodpecker which visits us some is the Hairy Woodpecker.  The Hairy looks like the Downy ---except that he is MUCH larger.  I hope to get a photo to share with you of the Hairy in 2013.

White-breasted Nuthatch
Another one of my favorite birds is our White-breasted Nuthatch... These birds seem to wait for me to put out the plate feeder.  They love the Nut and Fruit Blend I buy at Walmart for them...  They take all of the peanuts that they can get!!!!

A Carolina Chickadee
Here is a good buddy to the Nuthatches and Tufted Titmice.  He is a Carolina Chickadee---and this little guy loves to talk to me when I am outside... He thinks I am his best friend ---and I may be, since I feed him!!!!! ha......  Mr Chick-a-dee-dee-dee is a bird with ATTITUDE!!!!!

Tufted Titmouse
AND---another buddy of the Chickadees and Nuthatches is the Tufted Titmouse.  Those 3 groups 'pal' around together ---and are so much fun to watch.   Isn't he a pretty little guy????

Finally,  here are some of our MANY Goldfinches.  We have had an abundance of finches all Fall.  For awhile,  we had a zillion (it seemed) Pine Siskins... Luckily,  they moved on ---so that our Goldfinches could find a turn at the feeders.  We have a few House Finches --but not too many.. Right now, it's mostly Goldfinches.  As you can tell, the Goldfinches also lose their bright yellow colors in winter.

Other regulars to our feeders (which I hope to get photos of soon) are:  Red-bellied Woodpeckers,  Pileated Woodpeckers,  Northern Flicker Woodpeckers,  Bluebirds (which I LOVE),  and  Carolina Wrens.

Once it gets cold (and hopefully snowy),  we will see Dark-eyed  Juncos.  Our Robins will come to the feeders also when it gets really cold outside.   The Bluejays and Mourning Doves are gone now---but will be back in spring, along with the Brown Thrashers.  As I've said many times,  we have a great group of Backyard Birds here.

Hope you are enjoying  December, despite the heartaches around us.  Merry Christmas!

Here is a cute poem/story sent to me by a friend in Texas... Thought you would enjoy it.

Do Birds Have Christmas?

On a chilly Christmas morn, as I looked out the window
at a crystal coat of frost on the Mulberry tree,
I saw a sudden movement, like a darting shadow,
that quickly transformed, into a happy Chickadee.
A thought crossed my mind, as I watched this little friend.
Could I learn the truth, from a fine-feathered brother?
If the Chickadee could talk, my ear he would bend.
Do you birds have Christmas, or is this day just another?
I watched, and listened, for action and sound.
Suddenly, a Brown Creeper, diving with speed
halted its plunge, a foot from the ground,
to peck at some old suet covered with seed.
More tiny friends appeared, to my delight.
The tree filled with blacks, reds and yellows
as Goldfinch and Cardinals arrived in a flight.
Do birds have Christmas? Tell me, little fellows.
Some Juncos flew in, these darts of slate.
They were hopping and jumping like children at recess,
while they fed on some seeds with the ground as their plate.
Do they know of Christmas? I can only guess.
I pushed close to the window with my forehead,
as nuthatches and woodpeckers joined in the throng.
All colors of feathers, white, black, yellow and red;
each different, but the same, all getting along.
I sneaked open the window, and heard them all sing,
At last to my mind came all the right words.
It was as clear as their chorus, a choir on the wing.
Birds don’t have Christmas, Christmas has birds!

By Mick Zerr-- Christmas Morning 2005 

On another note,   I feel the need to say something about the horrible tragedy which happened in Connecticut last week.   One of my friends (Donna) wrote an incredible post for ALL of us.  I found myself --while reading blogs and Facebook on Friday---getting upset at some of us jumping to conclusions and placing BLAME  in specific ways...  This incident could happen anywhere/anytime ---and it will continue to happen unless we ALL bring God front and center in our lives, and start living the types of lives which God would intend us to live.  We have a society problem, a cultural one --a FAMILY one.   Let's all continue to pray for our country... Please read Donna's blog (click HERE).   Let's all take a deep breath and be ONE NATION --uniting together to make each of us better.