Wednesday, April 2, 2014

BIRD WATCHING AT THE FARM

**This was supposed to be today's post, but yesterday's post was mixed up with the wrong dates and this one popped up yesterday morning for a few hours.  That's what I get for trying to be funny on April Fool's Day, ha.  Anyway, I fixed it midday yesterday and got the right post up for April 1st.  For those that saw this post already, forgive me, and for those who didn't, well here it is in case anyone had any more information on these birds**

As we spend more time at the farm somewhat relaxing, instead of working so hard, I've decided to take up the hobby of roaming around and looking for birds on the property.  With all our trees and bushes and even a water feature, we must have a wide variety passing through.
So when I was out there recently, I took some time to see what I could find.  Now remember, I am not a bird person so this is all new to me and I don't know my bird species yet so identification would be awesome.
Without further ado, these are the first two I was able to get photos of:


First up is this grey and white one.  It found a pile of grass clippings that the mower had left behind and was having a field day rooting around in it looking for treasures.


Then this pretty brown and tan bird that flew all over the place, staying in tree branches, and rarely venturing down to the ground.
I also think I saw some quail on one of the freshly mowed trails.  There was a group of birds pecking around on the ground but as I came around the corner, they flew into a grove of trees that I could not easily get to.  I Googled some pictures of quail and I think that's what they were.  Hope to catch them, and more birds, on camera soon.
Do any of you do birdwatching?
Any suggestions for us "part time" birdwatchers?



19 comments:

jaz@octoberfarm said...

my place is like bird paradise here. i built a forest right smack in the city and it did not take the birds too long to find it. i have red tangers nesting here and you never see them near a city.

wendywoo said...

I think the first one looks like a mockingbird and the second one looks like a cuckoo... but I live in NY and don't know the birds down where you are...

FionaG said...

I wouldn't presume to try to identify your birds but what I would suggest is firstly a good bird book. The internet is great but a good book covering your area is quick and easy. Also, until you start capturing the birds on camera, the thing to take note of is the beak. It's length, shape, colour, etc. This will give you the family to which the bird is related. Then look for anything striking like face masks, prominent stripes or eye rings, etc, it helps to identify the bird as well. From one bird stalker to another, have fun!

FionaG said...

Sorry, just another thought, be aware that juvenile birds can sometimes look very different to adult birds and females can look very different to males. It can require quite a bit of detective work identifying some birds. LOL.

Unknown said...

The first bird is a mockingbird. Sometimes when you watch these guys they will flare their wings over their head - it's thought that they are flushing insects. They have white on their wings and under the tail. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/northern_mockingbird/id


The second bird is a thrush, I think. Maybe this one? http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/swainsons_thrush/id Although the lack of apparent spots on its chest means I might be mistaken.

Take a swing through that Cornell site. It's an awesome resource for identifying birds. Even if you don't find your bird, it's fun to look for them.

Alison said...

My mother is ( well was before the great Bridge playing obsession took over) an avid bird watcher, you might want to call her, or me for info.

Anonymous said...

With your wonderful bird habitat, you should have quite a variety of birds on your farm - lucky you and lucky birds!
As others have said, the first one is a mockingbird - the state bird of Texas. I love their varied songs - they provide lovely background music as I work in my garden and flower beds. They are also quite the copy cats. I once heard a meowing outside - I looked out to see the cat and it was actually a mockingbird copying the cat's meow. I treat the mockingbirds in my yard with a peanut butter and cornmeal mixture. I put a large jar of peanut butter and some cornmeal in my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook attachment. I keep adding cornmeal until the mixture is not sticky anymore. Then I form into spheres and put out in the feeders.
As for the second bird, I think a previous poster was correct in that it is some kind of thrush. I have seen the same kind of bird in my yard. I live south of Houston, so I probably have the same kind of birds as you.
Happy bird watching!
Texas Rose

1st Man said...

That is so awesome that you've done that. You might not have bees but you have birds! :-)

1st Man said...

Yep, I think Mockingbird, just googled it. Cool, thanks!!!!

1st Man said...

Wow, that's some great advice. Thank you!! You know it's funny, when I was young, I thought people who said they bird watched were odd, I mean, how much fun could it be looking for different birds?? LOL. Now I'm looking forward to looking for them every time we go out there. :-)

1st Man said...

What a great website link. Thank you!! I have saved it as a favorite on my computer and my iPad. That way I can check it while out in the 'wild' as they say, ha. Thanks!!!

1st Man said...

I didn't know that Alison!!! Cool. I'll do one better and get you out there soon to watch with us! :-)

1st Man said...

Well thank you for the awesome comment. Mockinbird, I totally forgot about it being the state bird of Texas. Probably one of the most common birds we'll see out there. I would love to hear one doing a cat meow, that would be awesome. ;-)

And I will keep your suggestion of the treat, we could totally do that. How big do you make the spheres? Small and bite size or are they supposed to be big so the birds can pick off pieces?

The more I look up Thrush, the more it looks like that. Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

I make the spheres about 1 1/2 - 2 inches in diameter - the birds pick off bits. The mockingbirds love it - other birds also join in, like blue jays, wrens, even cardinals. It's especially good in winter time because the high nutritive value helps them stay warm.

Texas Rose

Anonymous said...

Amen, on the bird book suggestion. I still like Person's although there are newer ones out. Look at the pictures. That's what you'll need most as you are first starting out. The more realistic, the better. Then you will start looking at bill and eye color, sitting position, flying characteristics, type bill and overall color patterns. Soon you can take it all in, in one glance. Great fun. big mystery when you can't identify one. You'll notice regional color differences. I can't identify many by their song. Hope to do better on that. Happy hunting!

Anonymous said...

Oops! Typo on the above. I meant Peterson's field manual.

1st Man said...

Thank you for the tip, love it!! I'll blog about it when we do it. Hat tip to you Texas Rose!!

1st Man said...

Wonderful, some great info, thank you!

1st Man said...

Thanks, off to look for that.