Tag Archives: Bird

Father, daughter place bets on who will see the first hummingbird

At first, it seemed like a fairly passive competition. Two of four family members declared a bet on who would see the first hummingbird of the season. Things were pretty quiet until a week later and neither one had yet had a visit from said hummingbird. The tension began to build.

While these two hummingbird-crazed competitors shared daily phone calls and e-mails to see whether the other had yet won the bet, the other two of four  watched from the sidelines, sharing eye rolls and refusing to play the game.

You have to understand these two. Both are accomplished photographers and will spend hours outside sitting completely still, eyes glued to the hummingbird feeders. Yep. You read that right. Feeders. And not just two….multiples strategically placed around the respective back yards.

Until this afternoon, not a single tiny Trochilida had bared its fluttering wing to either watcher. Sadly, the camera was not at the ready when it should have been.

Backtrack a moment…apparently, the camera had been around earlier in the week, because the Bluffton photographer captured the family pet, a tiny chipmunk who lives under the A-frame. Dubbed Mr. Monk, the little guy had ventured out to inspect one of the hummingbird feeders.

chip 1 chip 2 chip 3

Isn’t he adorable? Ah, but apparently that only fueled the fire. Until today. The e-mail from hummingbirdwatcher number 1 came as follows:

Here are my past records of first sightings:
June 7, 2003, female¬†(I probably saw one earlier but didn’t write it down)
June 7, 2004, male (I probably saw one earlier but didn’t write it down)
May 29, 2008, female
May 13, 2009, female
May 15, 2010, female
May 17, 2013, female – at 12:30 p.m. in the backyard
*I never started watching seriously until 2008.

Response from hummingbirdwatcher number 2?

RUB IT IN. I have yet to see any, but be assured, will report when I do.
I did see baby chipmunks (many of them) running and hiding in tunnels on campus today. They were cute.

Personally, from a spectator’s perspective, it seems to be a bit of a draw. After all, chipmunks are awfully cute. Still, I told them both: Pics or it didn’t happen.

Both claimed that the bird/animals were too fast and that the other photographer was too slow.

Eye roll.

Birdman gets his fix

My husband loves birds…all kinds of birds…except he has little respect for the sparrow. I’ve never understood this, but then I’m not much of a bird expert. I’ve always had a soft spot for sparrows so when the birdman gets on a rampage about the sparrows feasting on his finch food or whatever, I launch into a childhood favorite…”God sees the little sparrows fall, I know He loves me too…

Of course, this song usually just results in great groans and rolling of the eyes. Next to the brilliant yellow goldfinch and energetic, aerodynamic hummingbird, the lowly sparrow has little to offer in the way of beauty.

At any rate, the hubs loves his birds. When we’re traveling along an otherwise boring highway, he always manages to catch sight of every large bird — often a hawk — sitting on the fence posts in nearby fields.

So it came as no surprise when he sent me three photos today — two of a hawk and one of a small owl — all three of which he saw while making the daily rounds with the dog.

Here’s what he saw:

This is Xavier Hawk, named for one of our favorite little neighbors, on whose porch the hawk was perched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then just as the last of the afternoon sunlight was fading into dusk, he caught site of a small — perhaps baby — owl.

Duck, duck, goose

My early morning runs along the local bike path take me past two quarries and usually involves sightings of ducks, geese, a heron, and — on very rare occasions — a bald eagle.

The ducks that hang out at the Buckeye quarry often sleep curled up in the grass near the bike path, and their close proximity sometimes distracts me from running. It’s impossible for me to pass up the chance to try to make friends with the cute little guys and girls?

With spring comes the extra fun of watching for baby ducklings and goslings. This morning I watched mama and papa goose shepherd their four little goslings across the grass. One little guy kept lagging behind and then had to run to catch up. I managed to take a photo of part of the family.

Later, as I was heading out on my bike through our back yard, I saw three male ducks wandering through our yard. I actually saw one of them sitting in our tiny fish pond (just big enough to hold one duck at a time) but when he saw me, he hopped right out and waddled off after his buddies.

Because a creek runs along the back of our property, ducks have become fairly regular visitors to our neighborhood. I suppose some homeowners might not appreciate them — especially their droppings — but hey, who can complain about such entertaining and beautiful birds?