Tailless Wren

Whether from molting or escaping a predator, this wren has no tail feathers. That doesn’t seem to hinder him from doing normal activities such as flying and eating. Over time, his tail feathers will begin to grow in.

“Well, either a tail is there or it isn’t there. You can’t make a mistake about it. And yours isn’t there!” ~A. A. Milne

Lying in Wait

One afternoon I went out to change the hummingbird feeders which hang up outside our back screen porch. As I started to reach across the rose bush branches to replace the bottles, I saw it. Stretched out and wrapped in neatly among the stems, lay a non-venomous gray ratsnake.

I immediately jumped back, and may or may not have let out a startled scream. As I studied the situation, a little hummingbird came and landed on a branch a few inches from the snake’s mouth. Then it hit me. This snake, which is handy to have around because it kills rodents, was probably also after the hummingbirds.

I was hoping that the snake would be scared by my presence and slither away. But it remained motionless and resolute. My husband came out and encourage him to move on.

I hoped that that would be the end of his hiding on the branches near the feeders. But the next evening, there the snake sat again. As I mulled it over during the night, I realized what I had to do. So early the next morning before the hummingbirds showed up, I went out and cut back the branches of the rose bushes which provided the snake a place to lie in wait.

This turned out to be an unpopular decision with the hummingbirds, who lost their favorite branches to perch on and guard the nearby feeders. And I do miss having a front row seat from my rocker inside the screen porch. Now after getting a drink from the feeders, they tend to fly away to bushes further out in the yard. But still, the more I think about it, the more I know it was the right choice for the hummingbirds’ survival.

I’m pretty sure that I now know why the cardinal eggs disappeared from their nest at the end of the porch a couple of weeks ago.

“Decisions are the hardest move to make, especially when it’s a choice between what you want and what is right.” ~Unknown

Summer Tanager

I heard an unfamiliar song coming from the treetops.  As I looked up, there sat an adult male Summer Tanager preforming one of his chatter calls.  Not normally one that I see in my yard, he was an unexpected and welcome surprise.

“Keep a green tree in your heart and … perhaps a singing bird will come.”  ~Chinese Proverb

A Little Wren

Last year, a little wren built a nest in the eaves of my back patio to raise her young.  This year, she decided to relocate to a patio table and tuck the nest between a bale of straw and two wicker flower baskets which are sitting against a wall.

One afternoon I was sitting out on a bench a short distance from the patio, unaware that she had relocated, when she decided that it would be a good time to work on the new nest. My presence, however, was intruding upon her plans.

Despite my proximity, she proceeded to bring pine needles, dried leaves and bits of moss to form her new home. 

I have to say that I admired her courage and tenacity.

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”  ~Nelson Mandela

A Sunning Blue Jay

This week I saw a Blue Jay sunning on a log in my backyard. It fluffed its feathers, spread its wings, fanned its tail feathers and tilted its head to the side with its beak open, and soaked up the sun.

“Some old fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.”  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Picking out the Seeds

A male Indigo Bunting busily picking seeds from the heads of tall vegetation along the roadside.

I’ve learned to keep things simple. Look at your choices, pick the best one, then go to work with all your heart.”  ~Pat Riley

Red-winged Blackbird

In the spring, the sound of the male Red-winged blackbird echoes out across grassy fields and marshy areas as he noisily defends his territory, puffing up and proudly displaying his ornate red and yellow shoulder patches.

The song of the streaky-brown female can also be heard as she moves stealthily through tall grass in search of food and weaving material for her nest.  Her dull color helps to provide camouflage as she sits in her nest, located close to the ground.

“In spring more mortal singers than belong
To any one place cover us with song.
Thrush, bluebird, blackbird, sparrow, and robin throng.”
~Robert Frost

Dickcissels

I look forward each spring to visiting the Mississippi levee in hopes of a glimpse of this small bird.  As you drive along, you can hear the calls of Dickcissels concealed in the dense, tall grass along the road.  Occasionally, one will fly up and perch on a swaying stalk — guarding their territory, plucking seeds from the plant heads, and belting out a loud song.

Below is a short video of a Dickcissel’s song.

“Sing, then.  Sing, indeed, with shoulders back, and head up so that song might go to the roof and beyond to the sky.”  ~Richard Llewellyn

Feed Me!

This young grackle chick was causing quite a commotion in one of the bushes in our yard.  Not wanting to be forgotten, you could almost see the desperation on its face as it expectantly awaited its next morsel of food.

No need to worry.  It was being tenderly watched over and cared for.  Mom kept slipping into the back side of the bush to give it suet from a nearby bird feeder.