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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Red-napped Sapsucker

Madison County has had high water and many of the areas I love to bird is still not available.  But today I was able to get a picture of a Red-napped Sapsucker and will try to get some more, but for now I will use some old pictures of these beautiful birds for the Madison County bird this week.

Here a sapsucker is looking for a hollow tree to drill a nest in

To feed, the sapsuckers drill series of holes in the bark of trees.  When the holes fill up with sap and insects, they feed on them.  Each visit, they will drill another row of holes to collect the sap.

They will use any type of tree that will produce a lot of sap.

Another great bird that are summer residents of Madison County, Idaho.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Western Tanagers attack oranges

Oranges attract orange and yellow and red as fruit eating birds fill my backyard when I put out this sweet fruit.  One of the most colorful birds I enjoy at my feeder trees are the Western Tanagers.  I like them and they seem to like me.
Usually the first to appear are flocks of males where they fight and sqabble over the oranges and orange flavored suet cakes.

Individual birds prefer different food.  Some fight over a certain orange half while others perfer the suet.  Here you can see the tongue of this male savoring the sweet juice of the orange.

The females are a lot less colorful and come in a couple of days later than the males.

They seem to enjoy the oranges more than the suet and prefer to perch above the fruit to eat.

Many times they will not land on the suet to eat, but will fly to it and sally there until they get a piece.  Then they will fly to a branch to eat and clean off their bill by rubbing it on the bark.

I love trying to catch them in flight as they eat and put on a show for me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bullock's Orioles return to Madison County

They are the ultimate sweet-toothed or billed bird of the kingdom.  Put out a halved orange or orange flavored suet cakes and they will find them.  The Bullock's Oriole is one of the most sleek, beautiful birds that come to Madison County.  The males range from a deep yellow to a brilliant orange.

The females are fairly subdued in color, but their funny little habits make them fun to watch.

Suet cakes, oranges and even the hummingbird feeders are emptied by these beautiful birds when they show up in flocks.

The male has a "playground" voice which is loud and very recognizable, but it very shy while feeding.  To get good pictures, a blind is almost necessary.

Thank goodness for long legs.  This gal uses them to her advantage.  I noticed that it was a habit for most of the females to keep at least one foot on the tree while feeding - most of the time.  I did catch one hanging on the lip of the cut orange while feeding.

I have wasted a lot of time watching and photographing these lovely birds from my blind. But I guess I could have wasted my time in different pursuits.