Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Backyard Birds

I was so happy to see Eastern Bluebirds in my yard again since my trip to Florida.  My brother had teased me that they would die without me here to feed them, but luckily, the neighbor behind us also feeds the birds, so they are still surviving this miserable winter!

 Eastern Bluebird (female)
just look at those feathers all puffed up for warmth

Today, I had my first American Robin come to the mealworm feeder.  It was certainly puffed up against the cold temperature.

I heard that Northern Cardinals are brighter in winter than in summer.  This one certainly seems it!  According to Birds of North America Online, brighter males have higher reproductive success, hold better territories and offer more parental care.  The intensity of the color is related to the food eaten.  Female attraction to more colorful feathers as a sign of a good mate selection has encouraged the evolution of bright colors.  Since February and March are peak breeding season for cardinals, now is the time for all good males to don their bright red feathers.

Northern Cardinal
 frequent visitor to the sunflower seed feeder

 Eastern Bluebird (male)

 Eastern Bluebird (female)

These two were sheltering as close to the large tree trunk as possible to get out of the wind.  It stretched the limits of my zoom lens to catch them, but they were so cute side-by-side and looking in the same direction!

Dark-Eyed Junco (aka Snowbird)
also visiting the mealworm feeder

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