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Posts Tagged ‘Birds’


We love bird watching and here in the Sierra Foothills we have a huge variety of birds that we enjoy! One of my favorite birds in our area is the Black Phoebe! It is a small bird that is beneficial to us as it is a flycatcher! And, a pair of these little birds have decided to make our home theirs too! We could not be happier and love sharing with them! So let’s take a look at this lovely little bird, shall we?

Phoebe - The bug catcher

Phoebe – The bug catcher

The black phoebe is a small, plump little black bird that has a white belly, and a bit of a crest on its head. It feeds on flies and when it catches one it makes a snapping sound.

The black phoebe is a monogamous bird. Once they pair up, it is the male that finds sites for possible nests, but it is the female that makes the choice. When the male finds a spot he thinks is suitable, he will hover in front of the spot for 5 – 10 seconds. If the female likes the spot, she will be the one to build the nest.

The female builds a nest out of mud, so a source of water needs to be nearby. The nest measures 3 – 8 inches in length and about as wide. It is solid with the exception of the top where she pads the nest with plant fibers. The bowl of the nest in only about 1″ deep and about 2 1/2″ wide.

We discovered that we had a nest on our house due to the mud and bird droppings that showed up on the side deck of the house. With a nest comes babies, and we have babies!

Babies in the nest

Babies in the nest

The pair stay close to nest. They have decided that the peak above the nest is a good watching point for any possible predators.

Mother bird

Mother bird

Watching the babies has been a treat as they look over at down at me.

Who are you?

Who are you?

Initially I thought that there was only one, but then I saw a second beak!

Two beaks

Two beaks

There were three, but one fell from the nest and was buried yesterday. :( We love having this lovely little flycatcher around our house. To hear what the black phoebe sounds like, click here and scroll down the page a short bit.

If nothing else, this lovely little bird makes a wonderful roof ornament!

Roof ornament!

Roof ornament!

I hope that you enjoyed your brief encounter with our black phoebes! Now go out and have a great Sunday, and thank you for stopping by!

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On our most recent trip I got fortunate enough to catch two different birds, in two different places taking baths. While the birds are completely different, the way that they take a bath is very similar. One bird is the Great White Pelican and the other a Seagull! Shall we go and check it out?

While I was standing there admiring the beauty of the Great White, it took a long drink of water, then began its bath with a small splash of water.

It starts with a splash of water

It starts with a splash of water

Now the Seagull is a bit different. It just dives in!

Diving in for a bath

Diving in for a bath

The Great White pulls water up and over its body with its massive wings.

Pulling the water up

Pulling the water up

So does the Seagull.

Taking care of the back

Taking care of the back

The Great White pulls its wings down forcing water towards its chest.

Getting the chest

Getting the chest

So does the Seagull.

Pulling it in

Pulling it in

After splashing water on its face the Great White gets to the face cleaning.

Cleaning the eyes

Cleaning the eyes

The Seagull washes its face too!

Cleaning the face

Cleaning the face

Once done, the Great White gets out of the water to dry off.

Drying in the sun

Drying in the sun

So does the Seagull! It flies up to where it can perch and spreads its wings the same as the Great White.

The Seagull dries it wings

The Seagull dries it wings

It is pretty amazing to see two different birds, that are so different, behaving so similarly, don’t you think?

Enjoy your Sunday! And, thank you for dropping by today!

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While on our cruise recently, each time we came into a port, the ship was visited by a variety of seagulls. They were pretty much looking for something to eat, and while most folks ignored them I had some pretty amazing conversations with them! They were hams when asked if they would mind being photographed. So, today I will be sharing with you some of those moments spent with these lovely birds. See if you can see what they are saying!

Aha!ReallyCheck out my kneesLovely kneesLovely profileNo kiddingWhatPretty feet

So, what do you make of the conversations?

I hope that you have enjoyed today’s post! Thank you for stopping by today! Have a great Saturday!

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Those amazing folks over at Let’s Be Wild have chosen the subject “Birds of a Feather” as this week’s challenge! Having just spent 4 1/2 hours at the San Diego Zoo with Russel from Russel Ray Photos, along with his partner Jim and my husband Paul, I was able to put together some photos of lovely birds! Not all are from the zoo, though…Let’s go and check out these lovelies and some not so lovely but still amazing birds!

One of the most colorful and beautiful birds that we observed at the zoo is the Mandarin Duck. They are brilliant in color and they are quite a sight to see!

Mandarin duck taking a break from swimming

Mandarin duck taking a break from swimming

The next really colorful birds are truly amazing! I was able to catch three flamingos lined up in a row napping!

A trio of flamingos sleeping

A trio of flamingos sleeping

We saw a lot of babies at the zoo, and here is a cute little duckling out for a Friday afternoon swim! This photo is what my friend Penny would call an awww photo!

A baby swims

A baby swims

And the birds were nesting too! Here is a pair of cormorants with mother bird on the nest and father bird standing along her side!

Nesting cormorants

Nesting cormorants

The newest bird at the zoo is the White Pelican. It is such an amazing bird that I will do a post featuring this bird at a future date! Be sure to check out the colors on this “white” bird.

A white pelican loaded with color

A white pelican loaded with color

The herons were pretty amazing too! Here is one on the lookout followed by another shot of a different one.  The second photo reminds me of a flasher, and that is because of the way it is holding its wings!

A gray heron

A gray heron

This heron is flashing!

This heron is flashing!

I have no idea what type of bird this next one is, but it is looking right at me!  I see a lovely regal lady wearing a hat and with the most beautiful eyes.  What do you think?  Thanks to Russel Ray for identifying the bird below!  It is a Harpy Eagle!

Pretty bird!

Pretty bird!

Then we came across the condors! They are amazing birds, and I was able to catch this one as he stretched its wings!  Check out the fur collar!  You might want to double click on this photo to really see the detail in the face!

The condor spreads its wings

The condor spreads its wings

From the deck of the cruise ship we were on, I was able to catch a pelican as it flew by!  This is indeed a lucky shot!

Flying high!

Flying high!

The above photo looks to be a bit grainy but it is actually the air that was really hazy!

The funniest thing I saw was on the deck of the ship in the pool area for the kids. I was lucky to find the deck empty of people and was photographing the seagulls on the deck rails. When I turned around, there were three gulls sitting at the edge of a water slide. Then one jumped in to take a bath! The entire series of photos will be another post, but here is a shot of this bird enjoying its bath!

A gull taking a bath on a Carnival Cruise

A gull taking a bath on a Carnival Cruise

I hope that you enjoyed these lovely birds! Please look for the link to my post at the LetsBeWild Photo Challenge! Please feel free to leave a comment on their site for me!

I hope that you have an excellent Monday! Thanks for stopping by today!

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The other day, enjoying the comfortable temperatures of the approaching evening, I went to sit in the screened in patio room. As I looked out into the yard before sitting down I saw a covey of quail scratching the ground for bugs.

Quail in the yard

Quail in the yard

I took a seat and was enjoying the peace and quiet.

All of a sudden the quail flew off in a panic. I have heard them before being startled, but this was a completely different call as they rapidly flew away. I got up to look and see what scared the birds. I did not see anything. So, I sat back down.

Toby, the ever watchful cat, was sitting at the door making a chirping sound and his eyes were glued on something in the yard. I got up and then hunkered down so that maybe I could see what had so captivated him. A flutter along our fence caught my eye! There was a hawk stuck in the fence!

How could this be you might ask. When we moved into this house, it had and still does have a four foot high metal fence that has four inch squares which surrounds the property. When our neighbors built their house they ran deer fencing around the property. It is made of a plastic mesh with one inch squares and is seven feet high. They butted this fence against our four foot fence, and this poor hawk was stuck between the two.

I ran into the house, told my husband of the birds dilemma, and ran outside grabbing a scissors on the way. As I got to where the bird was, I slowly moved towards it. The bird was almost at ground level with its wings stuck in two of the four inch squares, and his head stuck within one of the one inch squares on the neighbors fence.

I sat on the ground as I had to move a log that was nestled against the fence so I could really get a good look. The bird was watching me with its orange golden eye. My husband showed up at this point with a pair of wire cutters and nippers in case I needed to cut the virginia creeper. Gloveless, I reached my hand out to the bird speaking to it softly. It allowed me to touch its wings as I gently felt for a break. Not feeling anything amiss it let me move its wings out of the four inch squares so that it was not encumbered by that part of the fence.

Quickly, I cut the wire fencing. Grabbing the scissors next, I reached back to the bird and stroked its back still speaking softly and telling it that I was trying to help get it free. It watched as I snipped the plastic fencing away from the sides of its face. With the last snip the bird turned its head and looked at me, and then it flew off!

What an amazing experience to have saved this beautiful bird. Also amazing was that the bird did not feel threatened by me and allowed me to touch it several times with my bare hands. My husband said to me after the bird released and I sat there stunned on the ground, that I should have had a pair of gloves on. Somehow I just knew that this bird would not peck at me.

Yesterday afternoon the quail were back to scratching the ground in almost the same spot. They flew off again in a panic, and I saw the majesty of a hawk fly in. We think that this is a Coopers Hawk. I ran for the camera and this is the shot I was able to get of what could be or was the bird that I saved.

Coopers Hawk

Coopers Hawk

I wanted to share this incredible experience with you, and now that I have, go out and have a wonderful Saturday! And, thank you for stopping by!

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Breathe Easier


I was directed to this blog by a new follower. It takes my breath away! How about yours? I would love to know how this was done! Anyone have any ideas on how this gal did this? Enjoy watching this photo!

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I Quail


Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area we constantly had Quail in our yard. Over time they disappeared from the area. We were delighted when we moved to the Sierra Foothills and discovered that this lovely bird, which is the State Bird of California, resides in our area!

Quail – My other favorite bird

This photo has three males and a single female. She sits in the upper right corner. Notice the difference in coloring.

They are here all year and it is really amazing watching them navigating in the snow. They actually appear to be “skiing” over the surface. In the spring it is a joy to see the little tiny babies following along behind the Mom. And in the summer, their feeding patterns take them to the same areas at the same time each day. Knowing this fact, I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to photograph these birds! They spook easily so even in the stealth mode I have scared them off! :(

Quail at Point Reyes National Seashore – Photo by William H. Majoros

Hopefully, I will be able to get more photos to share!

What is your favorite bird? If you have photos of them on your site, please leave a comment with a link!

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My husband did another video for you to see of the adorable hummingbirds that share our surroundings! It was requested by some of my followers to show more of this beautiful birds. Without further ado, I hope that you enjoy this video!

Allow yourself about 4 minutes to watch this short video. You will actually get to see the tongue of this tiny creature!

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You have heard that saying haven’t you?  “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”    The meaning of that statement is:  It’s better to have a lesser but certain advantage than the possibility of a greater one that may come to nothing.  Be that as it may, it has nothing to do with this post other than the fact that I had hummingbirds on my hands today!  Wahoo!   Check it out!

Hummer on my finger!

Look at these babies!

They were gentle to the touch!

OK, I had to save the best shot for the last…Check out the cute butt on this hummer!

Hummer Butt!

We are inundated with hummers this year. First time ever. My husband just counted about 40 in front and we have 10 in the back. Stay tuned if you are a birder, or not, for some amazing photos of nature here in Life in the Foothills!

Many thanks to my husband for putting up with me in this endeavor to interact with our local wildlife!  I certainly will not do this with the fox!

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Now we have been inundated by the hummers this season, but none as big as the one I caught with the camera the other day!

The world’s largest hummingbird

Looking out for the real thing

This is actually one of the local woodpeckers. It is an Acorn Woodpecker. He has been a wonderful source of entertainment as he flies between the hummingbird feeder, then over to the regular bird feeder, and back. He thinks he owns both! Have a great day today!

Now, I am off to a food show! What could be better than that?

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