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After work I walked up Harvard Avenue arround 4:15.
The baby ladderback woodpecker was still in his hole-nest, awaiting another meal.
Mom and Dad had been nervous this morning, as there were cats around, but there were no cats in evidence this afternoon. Soon baby will be out flying on his own if he survives the ~20-foot fall out of the nest.
A male lesser goldfinch was looking cockeyed at the windy spring afternoon (or he had a crick in his neck):
A black-chinned hummingbird was high in a tree, surveying his domain (you know they own everything):
Then I heard a beautiful song, one new to me. I thought the singing bird was in a certain very large pine in someone's backyard, but couldn't figure out how to approach as no one was home. Finally I headed north, around the corner, around another corner, and there was a public alley, so I headed south on that, listening for that bird. I didn' t hear again, but I did stand in the shade of huge trees, including that pine, looking up, watching.
I finally saw a new bird and took a lot of pictures, most of which came out blurry due to the distance (wouldn't you know, the leaves were sharp and in focus, but rarely the bird). It was at least 50 feet up from where I stood and no moving very much (which means, for example, it wasn't a giant kinglet, a bird that likes to flit around constantly).
Here are two of the in-focus pictures:
Look at the beak:
The beak tells me that this robin-sized bird may enjoy cracking open nuts or hard seeds. A "gros beak" of some kind? I wondered if this bird might be a Western Tanager (saw a dead one, run over, in the Peace Center parking lot, ironically), but this odd guy or gal above has a dark head, not an orange one. I briefly thought it actually might be a robin with a muddled red breast, but of course robin beaks are sharp and yellow and their eyes are ringed with yellow. I don' know that this is the bird I heard singing, either; it didn't make a sound as I watched it. And it wasn't in my book, which lists birds by color -- I looked under orange, yellow and black but no luck.
So, any guesses? I'll keep watching for him or her to reappear and let you see any pictures I get.
John has correctly identified the species. Some may be migrating through, but many will be here all summer. I have one that hangs out around here and sometimes comes into my yard. Once you learn their distinctive song (which is similar to a robin's, but different) you can hear them all up and down the river in the bosque.
Nice photo of baby Ladder-back, Debby. If you want to see my photo of a mom Ladder-back gathering peanut suet to take back to her brood today, check out http://moby.to/hudivn
Thank you for the quick identification, John, as well as letting me know I have a good chance of seeing this bird again. I hope I see him/her again out in the sunshine, though, improving chances of a sharp picture! Bill, I bet you're right, that's the song I heard. It was charming and loud, like a Robin, but more musical. Your information about how long these birds can hang round also gives me hope. That's an excellent picture on your site. I've seen both parents feeding the little baby above; it seems the mom gathers a bigger mouthful of food though (I've got the pictures to prove it). I wonder if they'll stay and have another chick in that same nest, maybe a female next time.
Great photos! Debby, can I borrow that photo of the baby ladderback for my FB page and credit you?
I hear a lovely, complicated song every morning and I can't see the bird. It's in a distant tree. It is repeats of different songs or trills - about 5 or 6 repeats and then a change. I know starlings imitate others (I have a pet starling and sings Happy Birthday)... could it be a starling?
ps - I saw a black chinned hummingbird doing a "pendulum" courtship (or territorial?) dance over our hummingbird feeder yesterday. That was interesting!
I'd be pleased for you to use the baby ladderback picture on your FB page! How sweet :) I took quite a few of him, and many of them turned out very good. I didn't see him this morning (May 18), so maybe he's out now, following his folks around. I"ll watch for a young one in the area. Maybe he'll have a sister later this season.
Starlings are quite vocal, from sounding like they're playing come to trilling and whistling and having a good old time :)