Readers’ wildlife photos

January 10, 2023 • 8:15 am

Today’s photos, taken by ecologist Susan Harrison, pay homage to the pictures of another contributor, Doug Hayes.  The captions are Susan’s; click on the photos to enlarge them.

The Drinking Gang

With a nod to the wonderful “Breakfast Crew” photos by Doug Hayes, here are some of the thirsty visitors to the water feature in my Davis, California backyard — henceforth known as the “Drinking Gang.”  Most of them are perching either on a blue elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) bush that arches over the stream, or on the locally-sourced rocks including sandstone, serpentine, and volcanics.

Water is great for attracting birds, and you don’t need to go crazy building a water feature like this one; a simple birdbath will work, especially if it has running water and nearby bushes for cover.

In the streambed:

Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum):

American Robins (Turdus migratorius) – note also the blue-green serpentine rock:

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus):

On the sandstone boulders overhanging the stream:

Orange-Crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata):

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus):

Black-Throated Gray Warbler (Setophaga nigrescens):

On the elderberry:

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus):

Pacific-Slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis):

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia):

On the elderberry having a snack:

Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana):

Black-Headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus):

On a Hooker’s Evening Primrose (Oenothera elata hookeri) in front of the pond:

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula):

And finally the water feature, with Boris for scale.  Luckily, he and his sister Natasha don’t hunt birds – and I do watch them carefully during their short stints of outdoor time – but his zeal at chasing away neighbor cats probably benefits the birds.

Boris and water feature:

14 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Wow, what a wonderful natural haven you’ve created, Prof. Harrison! The birds are delightful, and Boris is a handsome chap.

    There’s a mix-up with a couple of the photos – the Orange-Crowned Warbler and the Yellow Warbler (so labelled) depict instead the House Finch.

  2. Today’s photos, taken by ecologist Susan Harrison, pay homage to the pictures of another contributor, Doug Hayes.

    “Intertextuality” they call that in Lit Crit.

    Great photos.

  3. Beautiful, just beautiful. I’m envious of the variety of species you are seeing. And how come I never hear warblers warbling? Always expecting something operatic, I’m disappointed with the cheeps and chirps I hear when I’m futzing around out back near our feeders. Performance anxiety maybe?

    1. A lot of warblers are just passing through on migration, in which case you wouldn’t be likely to hear them sing, which is a territorial/breeding behavior. But you can enjoy the beauty of their colors, and the knowledge that your feeders (and water) are helping them get through a tough journey!

  4. Ruby-crowned kinglets are one of my favorite birds. Loved the great diversity of your bird bathers. That’s a really nice water feature you got there. I’m jealous. 🙂

  5. Thanks, everyone, for your nice comments!
    Let me share another tip I discovered by accident: place your feeders and bird bath where you can see them from your home office. The birds make very brief visits to the water feature, and I’d never see most of them if they weren’t visible from where I sit at the computer. Some of those photos may even have been taken while I was in a Zoom meeting 🙂

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