Super Cool Yard Birds

23 Apr

Greg had to run an errand early this morning — gosh, it must have been around 10:30 or so — I wasn’t even dressed yet! Yawn! (Yea, but I’d been up since 6:30am so it’s not quite as luxurious as it sounds!). He called me on his cell (how ever did we survive pre-cell phones?) to tell me that a raven or a crow was working on the dead squirrel in front of our house (I SWEAR that Ruby had nothing to do with it!). I got dressed in record time, grabbed my camera and ran out. Just in time to see the raven swoop off down the street. Drat! I waited awhile but it wasn’t coming back quickly. Still, there was a lot of dead squirrel still there so I figured it would be back at some point.

Greg saw it again later and alerted me again. I went out and waiting this time. While I was waiting, I heard a delicate chirping noise and in came a pair of Lesser Goldfinches. I have been trying to photograph these two and their friends since Tuesday. Lovely creatures.

Lesser Goldfinch, male

Lesser Goldfinch, female

Then a young Anna’s Hummingbird flew in for a snack or two. I love the way the flower makes it look like it has a long red bill. I also love the way each and every photo I took makes it look like he has no wings at all. The great wingless hummer!

Anna's Hummingbird

I was delighted with my success so far but still hoping for the Raven to come back. I waited a bit and then heard it call from a tree on the golf course (the opposite direction it flew off in, trickster-bird!). Then it swooped up the street — I’d love to tell you I got a great shot of it but I stood there with my mouth open watching it fly by with my camera held still in front of me. Oh well, some moments you just have to appreciate even when you miss the shot. After the flyby, he was on the ground within a few minutes. He flipped the squirrel over and started his routine.

[WARNING: Graphic squirrel carnage below. Viewer discretion is advised!]

More walking

First he walked around the bird in one direction. And, then in another direction. He would stop and look at it periodically. And, then he . . .

Why do Ravens Hop?

This is something Ravens do a lot — stand still and just hop in place. I’ve got to get some good Raven books and read up on their behavior. He didn’t start eating until he’d hopped near it.

A tidbit

Mmmmm. There’s a tasty morsel. That’s the very one.

A morsel

Dare I hope there is a nest nearby? He? She? didn’t eat the morsel but flew off with it.

The Raven leaves

Go feed your babies with nummy little squirrel bits, you beautiful creature!

So how great is THAT day of birding? I didn’t have to step off my porch. I saw all that beauty sprawled out in front of me. Lucky, lucky me! (And, one less squirrel at my feeder — it’s a banner day in the Mountains, folks!)


11 Responses to “Super Cool Yard Birds”

  1. Miz S 23 April, 2007 at 2:10 am #

    I need to start trying harder when I take pictures of birds in my backyard, because my pictures are always a little on the crappy side. Your’s and Vicki’s are awesome.

  2. jayne 23 April, 2007 at 4:47 am #

    Cool, cool raven! Never have seen Lesser Goldfinches! Lucky you!!

  3. lizalee 23 April, 2007 at 5:39 am #

    Miz S — my first rule of photography is take as many pictures as you can — I took about 168 yesterday of those three birds and didn’t get 1 that I was happy with of the Hummer, got about 10 I was happy with of the Raven, and got about 5 I was happy with of the male Goldfinch and 2 of the female. Thank goodness for DIGITAL photography!

    Jayne, I get frustrated with the Goldfinches. They are everywhere here — I had 10 of the silly things in my Rosemary earlier in the week. They won’t eat at my thistle feeder. It’s so weird. I see all these pictures of people with dozens of Goldfinches on their feeder and I can’t get ANY finches on mine. Gotta figure that one out! But thanks — it was really cool to be at the right place at the right time!

  4. Lynne from Hasty Brook 23 April, 2007 at 5:50 am #

    Thank goodness for digital cameras is right! I find myself taking gobs of pix to get maybe one of two fit for keeping. I envy you your raven. We have them here in northern Minnesota but they’re quite skittish and shy. Do you think the hop is to scare it into motion in case the food is still alive? I love that you are familiar with the raven behavior. Thanks for teaching us about it too!

  5. mon@rch 23 April, 2007 at 7:20 am #

    The hummingbird and goldfinch, all amazing birds to photograph! I find it great the ravens are that willing to get that close, ours are near impossible to get that close!

  6. susangetsnative 23 April, 2007 at 7:34 pm #


  7. Mary 24 April, 2007 at 4:26 am #

    Great finch and hummingbird photos! I enjoyed the roadkill series…hmmmm (the Raven part of it)

    Great bird day, Liza!

  8. robin andrea 24 April, 2007 at 8:12 am #

    Great shots of your yardbirds. Now I know that I’ve been seeing lesser goldfinches. I photographed one the other day and had no idea what it was. Your ravens are spectacular.

  9. sarala 27 April, 2007 at 5:19 pm #

    Fabulous bird shots!

  10. bevson 3 May, 2007 at 4:58 pm #

    Yay. I love the action sequence, including his hip hop dance. The shot of him flying off with his “nummy” squirrel bits is great.


  1. I and the Bird # 48 at Greg Laden - 2 May, 2007

    […] Super Cool Yard Birds at The Egret’s Nest (my life and the birds in it). White Breast with Photos and Pinkish Header, photos tend to be centered rather than right or left justified on this unmistakable Andreas themed WordPress blog. This post addresses scavenging by a crow or raven, and the activities of a pair of goldfinches and a hummingbird. This is one of the better home-made photographs of a hummingbird you are likely to see, very rare indeed. Range: Central California. […]

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