Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The year of the birds

In honor of the last day of 2008 I decided to do a post as a tribute to the birds of 2008.  This definitely was the year of the birds.  It all started in Feb. when we took a vacation to a little log cabin in the woods in Grayling Michigan.  I've always liked the birds and for my whole life have set up a feeder here and there, but would quickly lose interest. This year was different. 
We visited Hartwick Pines a state park in Grayling and the Chickadees stole my heart.  This is my favorite photo of 2008.  It is also my profile photo.  
Who does not love the Chickadee?
I cannot describe the feeling when this little delicate creature lands on your hand.  Try to do this without a smile on your face, it is impossible. 
And so it all began....
When we got home I immediately went to work setting up every kind of feeding station.
And read all about the birds... learning to identify them, what they ate, what their habits were.  I've even learned to identify many of their songs.  
This simple common House Finch photo is also one of my favorites. 
Nuthatches amaze me with their dances and acrobats. 
I attracted two nests in my yard this year also.  A House Wren and a Robin.
Not a day goes by that these big beautiful Blue Jays are not around.  
They live in harmony with the smaller birds.  The smaller birds seem to have accepted them.  
I almost had the Titmice eating out of my hands.  They would land on the feeders each morning as I filled it. 

Hummingbirds are true jewels.
They never fail to entertain me.
The Red Bellies and the Downy's greet me daily.  
I even had the pleasure of watching a pair of Red Bellies raise this beautiful young male.  For weeks I watched the parents lead him around the yard from tree to tree feeding on the oranges and suet. 
I'm not sure how many Downy's I have.  I have counted as many as 8 at one time.

One of my biggest surprises was the appreciation of Robins that grew on me.  
They are such a common bird that I never paid much attention to them before.  
But look how beautiful they are!  And they sing beautiful as well!  They are brave birds and would hop around the yard within a few feet of me always allowing me to have amazing photo shoots with them.  And the Robin is the Michigan state birds so I should love him!
One pair even gave me this pleasure on the back porch. 
Here is Daddy Robin watching me closely from a tree as I stand on the back porch by his babies. 
And of course there were my Dad's Bluebirds.  
He successfully attracted several nesting pairs to his yard this year.  I would take my camera over there every few days and chase those poor birds all around the 7 acres. 
I'm hoping that I can attract my own Bluebirds this coming year. 
And last but not least were my Orioles!!  
I still remember the first one that landed in the back yard.  The first thing I said was "What is that!!".  I had never seen a more magnificent bird.   
Much to my pleasure several pair stayed around all summer raising their families.

I have even higher expectations for 2009....
I would like to add a lot of new birds to my life list including Scarlet Tanagers, Warblers, Owls, Loons and many more.
I want to set up some nesting boxes for owls and woodpeckers.
I'd like to add moving water to the yard for the birds... some type of small waterfall or something. 
I want my own Bluebirds!!

I have so much to be thankful for this past year.  All of it gifts from God. 


Shellmo said...

Every bird photo brought a smile to my face - especially the chickadee ones!! So many beautiful photos you have posted and so many more to look forward to in 2009!
Happy New Year my friend!!

Pigeon said...

Your photos are so amazing. I think I'll use your site and Shellmo's for my reference guide!

Shellmo said...

Ha - I'm back again! They have some great birding festivals in 2009 in Michigan:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wow Jessica... These are some of the best bird pictures I've seen... Cannot believe you have that Chickadee eating out of your hand. Wow--that's my dream..

By the way, I had a horrible time loading your page.. Guess my 'puter is too old (2004).. That wood background just really slowed it down for me. Don't know if anyone else has a problem. One of these days I'll get a new computer!!

Happy New Year.

Ruth said...

Great pictures! You are fortunate to have such a variety of feathered visitors. I saw my first Bluebird this year...only one. They are not common here and neither is the Titmouse. I put up a bird house but the red squirrel claimed it after he chewed the hole to his size.
Happy New Year with God's blessing to your family and all those birds.

Dee said...

Your oriole pictures are awesome. Good luck attracting more birds. Can't wait to see the 2009 pictures.

Christy said...

I have enjoyed seeing your birds this year. When I visited the Sarett Nature Center, I thought about the post of yours that I had read. I have family over there and your post really intrigued me to stop by there. I look forward to what you have to share of your birds this next year.

Jessica said...

Shelley.. Thanks for the info on the bird festivals. Boy wouldn't I love to attend those!

Pigeon... We'll turn you into a birder yet!

Betsy... I wondered if my new blog template would slow down anyone when they logged on. There is a lot to load. What type of connection do you have? Dial up, DSL, Cable?? When I switch to a spring template maybe I should try to lighten my page up some.

Happy New Year to you too Ruth!

Dee... Hopefully I'll have some new and exciting birds to blog about in 2009.

Christy... I've been wanting to get back over to Sarett. They really have done a lot of additions and improvements this past year. I hear they have a new tree top walk out bridge. I'm anxious to walk out on that.

Margaret said...

Your posts the last few days have cheered me up. I've been in a post holiday winter funk. Thanks for the bird pictures. Can't wait to see more.

Frasypoo said...

A perfect end to a year.
Hope you and your family have a great new years

Ben said...

Wow - you get quite the aviary there! And you got some excellent shots. I like the orioles - because I haven't seen any here. I'm going to keep my eyes open, camera at arm's length, and hope to see more also next year (which starts in 3 hours).
Happy new year!

Jen said...

The blue birds are beautiful! I really like the one picture with the pitch fork.
You've done a great job of attracting all of them and feeding them.
Happy New Year to you and your family.

Laura said...

Those are all beautiful photos! You are so talented at capturing great shots of all the birds that visit you.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Hi,I am new to this blog.Have just spent a fair bit of time looking at your various posts and really enjoyed what I saw.Your pictures are fantastic.I will be following your blog and will visit regularily.

gerry said...

Wonderful shots. In all the uproar of world events, it is great to simply appreciate all the beauty and nature around us.

74WIXYgrad said...

Top Banana time. And you're a winner.

Chelle said...

Never visited your blog until WIXY posted that he was giving you a Top Banana award. Congratulations!
I will be back form ore...those pictures are absolutely beautiful.

Mary said...

These are great and I would love to feed a chickadee from my hand. Wonderful every time I see it. I just found this new blog you have. Didn't think you were posting any more because I kept looking at the old blog.