Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.

PART I-THE GOOD: Seeing a new bird in your backyard can be a thrilling experience. A few years back, I remember an exotic looking bluish bird visited one of our feeders. Look at that beautiful blue color! What is it? After a little research, I figured out that I had seen an Indigo Bunting.

My wife recently had such an experience. Over the past month, She has been observing the courtship behavior of one dominant male pigeon in our yard. She has been impressed by the way the male fluffs his feathers, up and herds all the other pigeons like a flock of sheep. Last Wednesday, she was talking to me on the phone and said she noticed a pigeon with oddly colored feet.-"Wait a minute-It has a different colored band on each leg!" she exclaimed excitedly. She described the various coloring of feathers and overall size to me. Also noted, was the number 41 was on one of the leg bands (I'm not really that interested in pigeons but I'm pleased that my wife is subtly honing her birding skills). After asking around, we discovered that this was more than likely a racing pigeon. I don't know much about pigeon racing. If you are familiar with this sport, I would appreciate any additional information you could give me. This Pigeon is surely going to lose the race. It's been hanging out in our yard all week now.

What bird had you excited the first time you saw it in your yard?

Other than the pigeons, Tufted Titmice and American Goldfinches have been the most common visitors to our feeders this month. There has also been plenty of Red-winged Blackbirds, Northern Cardinals, White-breasted Nuthatches, Northern Flickers, Downy Woodpeckers , Common Grackles, House Finches, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Black-capped Chickadees and Blue Jays at the feeders.

This is a Mimosa Tree in our backyard. Many birds, including Baltimore Orioles and Hummingbirds enjoy picking at the flowers on this tree. Recently, I found out that this tree is considered to be invasive. From what I understand, they are a a problem in the southern states. They don't seem to be a problem in this area. Does anyone know if having one of these trees in your yard can cause any problems?

PART II-THE BAD: The weather has been extremely hot and humid this week. Extreme humidity is like Kryptonite to me. It has dampened my enthusiasm for birding, or any other activity that involves physical movement.

On a more serious note, the towns of Bloomfield and Granby have been leveling huge sections of wooded areas and Farm fields for industrial development over the past few months. No wonder bears and foxes have been visiting us at my worksite (Granby/Bloomfield border). They're running out of space to live. This should be good news for House Sparrows though.

PART III-THE UGLY: Despite the heat, I decided to take a short walk to do some birding on a nearby nature trail. Seeing this pile of junk in the middle of the trail entrance, was enough to make me turn around and go back home. I tried to envision what type of person would leave a pile of debris consisting of discarded vinyl siding, nails, shingles, insulation, and various other rubbish.

Then it dawned on me. Maybe somebody was trying to make their own contribution to the park. Maybe they thought this would add some visual interest to the area.-Or maybe they thought that this would make a nice play area for children. What a wonderful gift! How could I have been so cynical?


KGMom said...

I am going to comment on The Ugly--people doing something like this drives me nuts. Why? I ask--what's wrong with people? WWWP?
Actually--I rant.

NM High School Sports News said...

When I first started backyard bird feeding I was living in Mesa AZ. I was most excited when I saw a black headed grosbeak. Here in NM, I was thrilled when Lesser Goldfinches first visited my thistle sock!

Here is a link to Racing Pigeon Digest's online forum. Maybe you will find out what info you are looking for. I don't raise pigeons but have been researching them recently.

Good Luck


LauraHinNJ said...

People have such bad manners. Clearly, they see no value in that wild place and use it as a dumping ground instead.

Mimosa trees remind me of being a kid - my neighbor had one and just a whiff of their scent brings me back to being 7 or 8 years old. I don't think they do very well here for some reason. I'm sure the hummers and orioles must love them though!

Ruth said...

We had a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at our feeders for 48 hours this spring. I could hardly tear myself away from the window. I just have Nijer seed out now for the house and gold finches.

Anonymous said...

Every new yard bird excites me! The most exciting new yard bird I've had this year was a Chestnut-sided Warbler. Last year I would have to go with Blackburian Warbler.

Larry said...

kgmom-You wouldn't want to hear what I had to say when I came across this.
abq-b-fly guy-thanks for the link.
Laura-I've heard that they only have anaverage life span of 15 years around here.-This tree is about 12 now.
Ruth-Those are beautiful birds to see in your yard-I've caught only glimpses of them in our yard.
Vern-I guess you must have a very rural yard to have those kind of birds!

Anonymous said...

2 things: My family got very excited when a hawk visited to munch on a pigeon. We live in such a suburban area that I never thought we'd see such a thing.

Re: garbage, Last week when we took the teens out exploring, we had to endure the junk left behind by folks. We pulled two grocery bags full of garbage from our last destination. I don't mind if people want to have a little party outdoors... I just wish they would carry their garbage out with them.

Jayne said...

The very first time I had an indigo bunting, I was shaking so hard I had to hand my husband the camera! We still didn't get a decent shot! I also got very thrilled with the first rose-breasted grosbeak.

Larry said...

Watching a hawk take prey is a brutal but riveting sight.-I actually put out a small trash can in one area for the same reason-at least it makes it easier to get rid of the trash.

Jayne-those were probably the two most exciting yardbirds for me as well(along with hawks).

Mary C said...

Hi Larry - I guess you could say I get excited about each and every bird that visits here in my yard. But a few that really get me going are the ones I don't expect to see - like an oriole landing on my hummingbird (window) feeder a couple weeks ago, and band-tailed pigeons. And I even saw a Cooper's or Sharp-shinned hawk land on the roof of my patio one day (I think that was last year).
As for the "ugly" - if I would know or have seen who did it, I would take the garbage and dump it right in their front yard and then ask them what they think of others dumping in their yard and see how they react. :) These people are so thoughtless - but dare to do to them what they do to others or others' property ... hmmm.
And since you mentioned humidity - ugh! I'm am so grateful I don't live back East for just that reason. :)

Anonymous said...

The most exciting bird we saw was an American goldfinch, but it was gray with the black bars. It was probably a juvenile, but was so distinctive from all the others.

Of course, I was excited about any goldfinches anyway because they are my favorite wild birds. We had a bald cowbird for awhile, but his feathers apparently finally grew in.

Anonymous said...

LOL< not really sure what my "first" bird was! We had many birds at the feeders and one day I said, "These birds need to have a name"! Got a field guide and well history has been written!

Mary said...


I join you in the cynical category... What a turn-off to see such a mess. I'd want to turn around, also.

The first bird that thrilled me at my feeders was a woodpecker. I am new at birding and when he arrived I nearly fell over, just three months ago. Titmice excite me, too, because the show up quickly and leave before I can find the camera.

The grackles and starlings have left my house (yay!). I have similar birds, including the rock doves. I don't know much about pidgeon racing - I'll need to look it up.

Cathy said...

Oh, Larry - It's just so frustrating that the few creeps among us can despoil so much.

The bands on the pigeon got me wondering. I photographed a similarly banded pigeon this Spring on the edge of Lake Erie. I guess I figured he'd been banded by bird banders. Duh. They were bright red bands. Poor bird. He was hanging around the restrooms and was so tame. It never occurred to me that he'd lost his way.

It's so drippy humid here on Cape Cod - we're all a little grumpy:0)

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
I wondered why I hadn't seen my neighbor for a while and it appears he's been dumping construction debris in your neck of the woods instead of the ginormous pile in his own backyard. Stuff like that goes way beyond irritating for me too.

As far as excitement over birds seen in my yard goes, I get excited pretty easily for any new bird, but I think visits from a Pileated Woodpecker, Eurasian Collared Dove, and a Northern Shrike (not on the same day though) are most outstanding.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

People can be such swine. I wonder if the dip-wad who dumped his trash lives like that at home.
The most thrilling backyard bird for me was a pileated woodpecker and believe it or not it was the FIRST bird I saw on January 1, 2006.
I've never seen a mimosa tree- very pretty!

RuthieJ said...

Hey Lynne,
Check out my blog posting from April
If I may use my dipwad neighbor as an example, the answer to your comment would be, "yes, they DO live like that at home."

Larry said...

Ruthiej-Those are some nice yard birds!-Irritating is nota strong enough word for it!
Lynne-dipwad-there's word I don't get to here often-Maybe they didn't mean to put the trash there-Maybe they jut put it down for a while and forgot about it.