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.