Bill's Backyard Birds

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karenandbill
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Bill's Backyard Birds

Post by karenandbill »

With winter still having its icy grip over most of the country, I thought we could all use a bit of encouragement that spring is just around the corner and the birds will be making their way back north. So I thought I would post some of my bird photos over the last couple of years. A few were in the parks, but most were taken in our backyard, about 15 minutes from West Yellowstone. Our shots are not professional quality but we do the best we can with the equipment we have and the colors are still beautiful.

At the end we will share Bill's up close and personal experience with the chickadees and pine siskins.

We have a number of Western Tanagers migrate through every spring. But this one stayed around and made several appearances during the summer.
Imagewapitistanangerjune2020 023 by William Reinke, on Flickr

The Lazuli Buntings are Karen's favorite. The last two springs we have had several hang around for a couple weeks.
ImageDSC_0004 by William Reinke, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0009 by William Reinke, on Flickr

We've had as many as 4 or 5 pairs of the Black-headed grosbeaks in the yard at once.
ImageDSC_0001 by William Reinke, on Flickr

We get Evening Grosbeaks in spring and fall. This one was still feeding its young into early fall. It was enjoying honeysuckle berries and the juvenille wanted its share.
Image019 by William Reinke, on Flickr

This third Grosbeak was a first-timer for us. We saw this Pine Grosbeak along with his mate on a hike in the Tetons last fall.
ImageOctober 2020 054 by William Reinke, on Flickr

Warblers are especially hard to photograph, but this yellow-rumped (Audibon's) warbler was also along a trail in the Tetons and managed to stay still long enough for Bill to get this shot.
ImageMay-June 1 031 by William Reinke, on Flickr

These Eagles were in a field down the road from our house. With Henry's Lake across the road we are treated with daily sightings in the spring and early summer, often soaring overhead between the mountains and the lake.
Image399 June 8, 2020 007 by William Reinke, on Flickr

The Stellar's Jays make an occasional appearance but usually don't stay around long.
Image399 June 8, 2020 009 by William Reinke, on Flickr

This Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker showed up last spring. We were hoping for a nest with babies nearby but we never found the nest.
Image399 June 8, 2020 144 by William Reinke, on Flickr

This past fall Bill went out to put a few seeds on the feeder when a Mountain Chickadee landed in the tree right beside him. He decided to just stick out his hand with a few seeds on it, and to his surprise the chickadee came down to his hand and snatched a seed. A few seconds later it was back. It proceeded to do this six times and this was the start of a lasting friendship. Bill noticed a few days later that this chickadee only had one leg and was a bit smaller than his cohorts. So maybe this was why he was so willing to hand feed. His friends took notice and soon there would be half a dozen or so come to Bill's hand. Each would make a quick grab and fly away.

Imagecar,mtn pics june 14 012 by William Reinke, on Flickr

One day Bill was out feeding the chickadees when a group of migrating Pine Siskins were nearby in the trees. One took notice of the chickadees and watched. Soon it decided this was too good to pass up. So it flew down to Bill's hand. But unlike the chickadees, this one stayed on his hand and proceeded to eat the seeds there. Well, the other Siskins decided that this was a great idea for them too. It wasn't long before Bill had close to a dozen on his hand and arm at once.

Image018 by William Reinke, on Flickr

Image013 by William Reinke, on Flickr

They were flying all over and around him. Notice the one on Bill's bill (of the cap). Another one is barely visible perched on his right shoulder.
Image011 by William Reinke, on Flickr

And on the string of his sweatshirt in this shot.
Image010 by William Reinke, on Flickr

This happened several times with the Pine Siskins, but not with the numbers that were there the first day. The one-legged chickadee now buzzes Bill if he sees him outside so Bill carries a few seeds in his pocket to oblige.

We have thoroughly enjoyed the birds, so thought we would share.

I forgot to mention that one day early this winter season, I shoveled a path through the snow to get out to the area in the yard where I feed the chickadees. I stand very still while I'm feeding them. While looking down at one on my hand, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye coming right towards me through the path I had shoveled. It was a short-tailed weasel also called an ermine, pure white except for the black tip on its tail. I was so shocked, I didn't know what to do. It was coming straight for me and I was concerned it might run up my leg or something. But I just stood there and it continued past me just behind the back of my boots and then disappeared as quickly as it had come. It happened so fast that I almost wondered, "Was this real?" But I could see its tracks and it definitely was!

--Bill
Last edited by karenandbill on Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.



RikWriter
Posts: 339
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:36 pm

Re: Bill's Backyard Birds

Post by RikWriter »

Man I wish I lived 15 minutes from West Yellowstone!
That's so cool, with all those birds on Bill's arm.



karenandbill
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Re: Bill's Backyard Birds

Post by karenandbill »

RikWriter wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:49 pm
Man I wish I lived 15 minutes from West Yellowstone!
Hopefully, you can move out this way soon. We love it!



mdtrot
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:57 pm
Location: East Texas

Re: Bill's Backyard Birds

Post by mdtrot »

Remarkable! Thanks for the pics.



Dorothy
Posts: 165
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:45 pm

Re: Bill's Backyard Birds

Post by Dorothy »

How absolutely cool! With each photo, I kept saying to myself, "Well, THIS is my favorite!" Then came the next one, and IT was my favorite, too! I love the grosbeaks, as we saw our first grosbeak (a blue grosbeak) a year or two ago in Ouray -- didn't know what it was but figured it out ourselves and wew SO proud of ourselves and so excited to see a "new" bird. So loved all of those. I'm still looking for my first really good glimpse (and photo) of a stellar jay, and absolutely loved the "birds in the hand" photos.

As for the ermine -- just WOW! That is a once-in-a-lifetime type experience (although, of course, you hope you'll have that opportunity again and again). Thanks for brightening my day.



karenandbill
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Re: Bill's Backyard Birds

Post by karenandbill »

Dorothy, That's so cool that you got to see a blue grosbeak! I've only seen one in my lifetime and it was quite a few years ago. Karen was thrilled the first time she saw a Stellars Jay. She had a picture of one when she was a little girl in a sticker book and thought the colors were just beautiful. I had seen them several times, but it took her until about 10 years ago on one of our early trips to Yellowstone.

We really have been pleasantly surprised at the number of birds we get in Island Park. Most don't stay around long (except the magpies and chickadees), but spring and fall migrations usually bring some pleasant surprises. Our second season there we came up in the early spring and there was a flock of brown-capped rosy finches. Didn't know what they were and had to look them up. We had never seen them before and haven't seen them since. This past fall we had about 100 Bohemian Waxwings come through, also first timers for us.

--Bill



Nikon_nerd
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:06 pm

Re: Bill's Backyard Birds

Post by Nikon_nerd »

Karen and Bill,

Wow what a wonderful variety of birds you guys have visiting your back yard !!! I can only imagine how wonderful it must be. All we get are starlings and pigeons in our horrible urban environment. I love the pictures of Bill with all the birds eating out of his hand! So wonderful. Thanks for posting the beautiful images.

(P.S. - can you email me your address in Island Park so I can move in next door!)

Stay safe.

Looking forward to more wonderful images from you guys.

Nerd



karenandbill
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Re: Bill's Backyard Birds

Post by karenandbill »

Nikon_nerd wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 6:17 pm
Wow what a wonderful variety of birds you guys have visiting your back yard !!! I can only imagine how wonderful it must be.
We do really enjoy the birds and living in this area. We bought this place just to be close to Yellowstone not realizing how great this whole area is! Unfortunately, it has been discovered and housing prices have skyrocketed. Glad we bought when we did. Last fall we had a couple of small places come available in the neighborhood, but they were snatched up really fast.



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