Sunday, September 22, 2013

Awesome Yard Birds!

Well it's been a while since I have had a new post here at Bird Lady Blog.  I've been a bit pre-occupied with becoming a first-time Grandmother, with baby boy Cyrus due on Thanksgiving Day!  Also, I was having an issue with getting car sick when I would go out birding.  But today, as fall has officially arrived, the birds decided to come to me!  Awesome bird days like these are few and far between...

As I stepped out on my balcony to get a wiff of that cool, crisp fall air, I heard a familiar sound.  It was a Pileated Woodpecker, one of my favorite birds, my 'Spark' bird, the one that got me interested in birding over 27 years ago.  As I scanned the ground where the woodpecker was, I catch a glimpse of another one!  Two Pileated Peckers foraging for ants most likely.  Ants are the main diet of these woodpeckers.  I ran to get my binoculars and camera to try and get some footage of these awesome birds.  When I got back, I noticed there was a third bird a few trees away from the other two.  When I took a break from the binoculars, I saw a fourth woodpecker fly on to the scene!  Likely an entire family!  And to top that off, there was also a Northern Flicker hanging with the gang of Pileated.

I took four different videos I will share.  Pardon the shakiness.  While I was videoing the birds, my son let the darn cat, Stanley Oliver outside.  Immediately he ran over next door and started stalking my lovely woodpecker family!  OMG, I would be devastated if he was to get one.  I did send my son out to get him when he proceeded to get too close to them.

After all the excitement of the four, well five woodpeckers, I went inside to download my videos.  Not long after that, I went back out on the balcony when I heard some birds calling back and forth.  For a quick second, I thought the Pileateds were back, but the sound wasn't quite right.  Then I thought perhaps it could be a Belted Kingfisher, they have an interesting call like what I was hearing.  I scanned the trees, over and over, looking for any movement.  Back and forth the birds were chatting with each other.  It took quite a while for me to finally see one of them when it flew to another tree.  I got the binoculars, but it was difficult to see, and mostly was hanging out behind a bunch of pine needles, so I couldn't see it clearly.  I snapped a couple of photos, thinking I might be able to zoom in on the computer and see better.  The photos weren't clear either, as the pine needles were in the way.  So I get out my trusty iPhone iBird app and do a search based on the criteria I do know.  Came up with three possibilities, an American Kestrel, which I knew it was too big.  A Sharp-shinned Hawk, which I have seen here once before, and a Merlin, which I have never seen.  Not knowing which of the two it was, I listened to the call of both birds.  Sure enough, it was not the Sharp-shinned, but indeed it was the Merlin!  A life bird for me!
A Shy Merlin hiding
So between the four Pileated Woodpeckers, the Northern Flicker, and a pair of Merlins for yard birds today, it makes for an A-W-E-S-O-M-E Bird Day!


  1. :) Glad they came to you :) We live in such a great area for different birds.

  2. Excited to have 107 species on my bird list now!

  3. Congrats on the lifer Merlins!!! I wish I had Pileated WPs here, I miss their calls and the sight of them.

  4. Congrats on the Merlin, awesome bird! And I love the Pileated, wonderful videos! Happy Birding and have a great day!

  5. Oh my, you had quite the day! Congrats on the Merlin!!

    1. Always fun to get a new life bird on the list!