Birds of Winter, Part II

Red-shouldered Hawk

I’ve really been enjoying photographing the birds this winter–and enjoying the mix of birds that are visiting my feeders and hanging out in the woods nearby. Of the photos in this post that I consider noteworthy, or that are among my favorites, the majority are woodpeckers. (I have an affinity for woodpeckers.)

This male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is one. They’re winter residents here in North Carolina and seldom visit feeders. Instead, they make shallow wells in trees and suck out the sap and any insects that might be in it (hence, the name). I heard this guy calling late yesterday afternoon and ran outside with my camera. (I had just finished working for the day, so his timing couldn’t have been more perfect.) I followed the sound until I finally found him settled on a red oak, where he hung out and fed for about 15 minutes.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers are also among my favorite backyard visitors, and there are several who’ve been coming around for suet and peanuts this winter. You’ll notice that three of the four photos below are of a male (red crown and nape), while the female in the first photo has a gray crown and a red nape. (Click any image to enlarge.)

And of course, there are the regulars. The little songbirds who visit the feeder and the bird bath everyday, rain or shine, regardless of the season, but most especially when it’s cold and snowy.

These Chipping Sparrows came to the feeder en masse during a recent winter storm, in a flock of about 30. I sprinkled seed on the ground for most of them, but about five or six decided to take refuge in a hanging tray feeder.

And then, of course, there are birds of prey (in addition to the Red-shouldered Hawk at the top of the page)…

Although he doesn’t look it, the Barred Owl in this photograph is actually injured. Six of us searched for him one morning after he was spotted in a neighbor’s yard unable to fly. We captured him and took him to the Carolina Raptor Center where we learned his injuries were too severe to be rehabilitated. He had likely been hit by a car. That was a very sad day, indeed.

I hope you enjoyed the format of this post. I think I’m going to continue doing photography posts this way, with short narratives, instead of simply categorizing the birds. I’ve got plenty more photos and different birds (and stories) to share, so I may start doing these posts once every week or two.

15 responses to “Birds of Winter, Part II”

  1. The Birds

    The world begins again!
    Not wholly insufflated
    the blackbirds in the rain
    upon the dead topbranches
    of the living tree,
    stuck fast to the low clouds,
    notate the dawn.
    Their shrill cries sound
    announcing appetite
    and drop among the bending roses
    and the dripping grass.


    P.d. You’ve really surprised me with these wonderful pictures, L! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, J. Beautiful poem. It made me think of the Chinese proverb: “If you keep a green tree in your heart, perhaps the singing bird will come.”🙂 And I appreciate your compliments. Nature photography is becoming a real passion of mine.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very sorry to read about the injured owl. 💔 Nice of you all to look for him and seek help.
    Your photos are gorgeous! What an incredible variety of feathered friends! I appreciate that you included descriptions and the name of each bird. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was sad. It was worse to see him suffering, though–and to know that he was out there injured. He was such a beautiful bird. And I’m glad you enjoyed the photos! That means a lot coming from you, Michele, as I always admire your photography. We are blessed to have a variety of feathered friends here in NC. I look forward to sharing more of them. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Poor thing. Reminds me of an injured redtail hawk I came across a few years ago when traveling in Northern AZ. Not sure how it faired after rehab picked it up. I hope it was able to heal and return to the wild. Thank you so much! I appreciate that more than you know. I enjoy photography, especially being outside. There is much to learn! I look forward to more photos.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. They are truly all so beautiful. My favorite is still the Eastern Bluebird for some reason 🙂 I feel like holding him in my hand close to my heart would be perfect 🙂
    The red tailed hawk and barred owl also drew my attention..such majestic beauty.
    I’m sad to hear about the owl. That brought tears to my eyes..but hopefully there is peace in knowing he is no longer suffering.
    Thank you for sharing such wonderul photos of your backyard friends 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! The bluebirds are sweet, and they’re fun to watch. They eat berries from a cedar tree at the edge of the yard. They usually show up in the late morning and spend several hours going back and forth from the tree to the bath–and chattering as they go–like it’s their social hour. Really cute.😊
      Raptors are so majestic. They’re usually very stealthy, so it’s always a treat to look up and spot one nearby. That poor owl broke my heart, too. I was glad we found him and were able to get him to a hospital, though. I think we all would have felt much worse knowing he was suffering.


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