Nature Notes on Birdwatching

Gray Catbird in our Bald Cypress Tree, photo taken July 2009
Gray Catbird in our Bald Cypress Tree, photo taken July 2009

I took these photos way back in early July, when the weather was unseasonably comfortable. My daughter and I would wait in front of our home each morning for her carpool to theater camp, and one morning we had fun photographing a catbird.

Catbird Fluttering in the Bald Cypress Tree, July 2009
Gray Catbird Fluttering in the Bald Cypress Tree, July 2009

This morning as my daughter and I walked to her camp (she now goes to one in walking distance) we discussed pets. That is, she again inquired if she could have a guinea pig. Or a rabbit. Or a dog. There are many reasons we will not be getting a pet, one of them being I like animals, and I think it would be cruel for me to own one and forget to feed it. So I came up with an alternative solution: if we set up a bird feeder in our backyard, maybe she could enjoy all the birds that come to visit?

So I am wondering if you have bird feeder suggestions. We don’t have a large tree in our backyard, just large bushes that are almost trees. Where would I put it?

Oh, and all I can say about nature today is that it is too hot and humid for me to go outside. My tomato plants, so vigorous in early July, are producing tomatoes but also producing spotty, unhealthy leaves. True birdwatching will have to wait for cooler weather.

Update: My daughter’s end of summer camp newsletter reports that in twenty years she will own an animal shelter.

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22 thoughts on “Nature Notes on Birdwatching

  • Hi Leora,thanks for visiting my blog. Sorry to say I have no idΓ©a what that flower is. It is a wild one and hard o find itΒ΄s name.

    I love those bird images. Escpecially the second image. I like it when there is some action.

    You have a nice blog. Think I put you on my blogroll πŸ™‚

  • Your photos are absolutely lovely. I love birds photography.

    My bird feeders are the stand-alone type, not attached to a tree. I purchased the feeders that you can attach to the free-standing metal poles. Some feeders attach from underneath through a hole, and some poles have two “wings” where you can attach the feeder. I have them near trees and standing in the yard, not near a tree. The birds come, they eat, they chirp and chatter, they leave, they return, and the cycle continues.

    Loews has a great selection of feeders and they have poles.

    The poles just get inserted into the ground, and then you attach the feeder. Voila…birdies, birdies everywhere. πŸ™‚

  • Hi Leora, great pictures!

    I have the same kind of setup as jewwishes does. I have put mine in the back yard facing my bay windows where my kitchen table is. That way I can watch them all year long. I love bird watching. πŸ™‚

  • My bird feeders are hung on the little ornamental stand with the swallows where I hang the suet balls and nuts, and a plant rack where I attach the nuts feeder. It works perfectly. They come for breakfast, lunch late night snack .. And I love watching them. Love your pictures Leora, I’ve never seen a Catbird before!

  • You are so good at this – I made a dozen photos of a very cooperating mockingbird – none of them was acceptable – great work – the tree is beautiful and the wings of the bird – magic!

    • The big, fat, expensive telephoto lens I got in May helps a lot, but even then for birds one needs patience. I’ll try again when the weather is cooler.

  • Great post, Leora! I can’t wait till winter, when your catbird will visit me. πŸ™‚ As to where to put your feeders, I would suggest coming back to either my blog or Michelle’s and click on the “Backyard Habitat” link. The NWF has loads of useful material on just that subject.

    And I think your daughter is heading in the right direction! πŸ™‚

  • That catbird looks like a bit of a character – really lively! Having bird feeders is a really good idea, you are giving wild creatures a helping hand and get the fun of having animals around without them being too much of a responsibility. With winter coming up feeders that can hold fatty treats will help them get the nutrition they need, look for something easy to keep clean and ask about squirrel proof options. Unless you end up preferring the squirrels, of course πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks for all the tips. Aha, you are also @craftybird on Twitter! See how different personality traits and ideas come out on a blog vs. on Twitter.

      I like the idea of helping the wild creatures. I hope if I forget, I don’t hurt any. Eeks, that would defeat the purpose.

  • Great shot of the catbird. I notice you got a lot of good suggestions for birdfeeders. When I used to use them I had a lot of different sizes and also had suet cages for the woodpeckers and other birds that eat suet. The issue with different sizes is that some are suitable for the finches and small birds and others for larger birds.

    However, I ended up turning my whole garden into a feeder, by that I mean that I grow the food they like to eat and have lots of habitat for them so I stopped using feeders except when it snows which isn’t that often in my part of NC. A few times a year I will put out food in the event of snow and or ice but I turned my garden into a bird habitat. One reason for that was back when I had a bunch of feeders, all the neighborhood cats would come to my yard to hunt. They do still come (although not as often) but since the birds aren’t centrally located around feeders they stand a better chance. I let my plants all go to seed and also have loads of berries so that’s the food for the birds now.

  • Well this is exciting for me!!!! I have a page on my blog about bird feeders, but I agree about the pole. You could even use one like you hang planters on and get an inexpensive feeder that the squirrels can’t use. Squirrel Buster
    One like this is weight sensitive and closes when a squirrel jumps on it and it is easy to clean.

    You could get a bird bath instead and enjoy birds that way. Let me know if I can help..I am excited… Michelle

    • Thanks for the link! Online shopping is one of my favorite ways to go – now I can see one!

      I’m wondering about bird baths and stagnant water, also freezing in winter. Not sure if that would work well.

      Glad you are excited about this idea! You have inspired me with your own birding knowledge and enthusiasm. Certainly seems easier than a dog. Cheaper, too.

      • I have two bird baths in my yard…one in the front of my house, where I can watch them through the window, and one in the back, where I can also watch them through a window.

        They are hilarious to watch. From robins, cardinals to sparrows, finches to bluejays, the parade of bathers is continuous…even in the winter, when you would think they would find it too cold. But, no, they love the birdbaths all year round.

        I empty the birdbaths out once a week so the water doesn’t stagnate. In winter the water can freeze, but it quickly melts.

        My birdbaths are made of cement (I believe), and I bought them from a statuary place.

        Okay, I’ll stop babbling.

        Shabbat Shalom!

      • Oh, I love your “babble.” You are such an informative babbler.

        Sounds like a bird feeder on a pole is lower maintenance. And since my yard is sometimes used by busy boys, I could probably stick a pole in a corner that wouldn’t be disturbed.

  • Great shots of that catbird! I do envy all you folks who take such great bird photos. Feeders are fun, but once you start you have to make sure they are always filled. Birds get to depend on them, and some can starve quickly if you let them down — which is why I don’t have feeders. We go away for days at a time.

  • The catbird is one of my most favorite birds! Such personality and beautiful vibrant songs! I think what you’ve suggested to your daughter is a GREAT idea! Backyard, front yard, and/or side yard birding is so FUN!

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