Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Surprise!

I was standing in my breakfast room, taking a picture of this red bellied woodpecker….

A modern art image, showing off his red belly.

….when this guy showed up. He’s a male evening grosbeak.

The yellow eyebrows helped me identify our visitor.

According to my Michigan bird book they aren’t supposed to be around here. They live in the northern lower peninsula and the UP of Michigan. But last winter at one of our local bird seed shops there was talk that people around here had seen them.

Such a striking bird, he was hungry and happy that there was seed on the railing.

I’ve only seen one, last winter, just one, and just one visit. But today our initial visitor came back later in the day along with some of his friends!

He brought a friend to the buffet!

First I saw two of them on the railing. And then I realized there were three, then four males, on the railing, in the trees…

A evening grosbeak party at the feeder!

…and on the feeder. Plus one of the birds on the feeder was a female! (over on the left above)

Num, num, num…

It was so cool. I’m thrilled that I got to see them, and even more thrilled that I got some shots.

I’ve been smiling all day.


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A little bit of everything

Here in Michigan you can expect a little bit of everything with October’s weather. Kind of like an everything bagel.

I know I say it every year, but this year the autumn colors were spectacular. Truly amazing.

And we had lots of sun.

And some snow.

Then more sun.

And a bit of snow. And rain.

It was warmer than normal.

And then really cold.

But the days when the sun shown and the wind died down were truly delightful.

I don’t think we can expect November to be nearly as entertaining.

Gosh, that everything bagel sounds pretty good right about now. Toasted. With cream cheese please.


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Goodbye little buddy

Several days last week I noticed a little house finch hanging around the feeders. We have a lot of birds that hang around, but this little guy sat on the feeders, leisurely pecking at the seed, seemingly unconcerned about the comings and going of other birds.

He wasn’t concerned about me coming and going either. He never moved, though he kept an eye on me, as I was filling feeders, until I reached for the one he was occupying. Then he’d fly up to the roof, or over to another feeder to wait. I walked right by him several times, within inches, and he didn’t move. He actually flew up to land on a feeder I was carrying one afternoon.

I knew he wasn’t well, his beak didn’t seem to work right, bits of oiler hull stuck to it. His eyes seemed faded.

I looked for him every morning to see if he had survived the night. Two mornings ago he watched me fill the feeders, walking by him in the process. He wasn’t moving at all, wasn’t eating. I avoided the feeder he was resting on, so as not to make him move.

A few hours later he was dead on the deck railing. I buried him under the ninebark bush, at the base of a lily plant, with a few bright red maple leaves to mark his place.

Bye-bye little guy. I hope you enjoyed your time here with us, you sure did make me smile.


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Colors trigger memories

The maple trees around here are turning colors. They are brilliant reds and oranges and golds this year.

Out on the main road is this little pond. It puts on a show every fall.

Each year I notice how beautiful they are, each year I think the colors are the prettiest ever.

In our small local cemetery the sun focused on a single branch.

Just like this year.

But today I also feel tinges of sadness as fall progresses because my little girl, the one who loved fall and who believed the trees turned color just for her isn’t here to enjoy it.

Our empty backyard.

Katie looked so beautiful in fall colors.

Her colors.

She’s everywhere I look.


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New feeder

I swear the birds in my yard are so spoiled.

Ms. Downy Woodpecker spent a lot of time on the new feeder yesterday.

They wait every morning, growing more impatient every hour I’m late, for their feeders to be filled.

She was curious about me, just inside the window, but not frightened.

Yes feeders. As in multiple.

They already had an oiler feeder, a thistle feeder, a flat feeder and an oriole and/or hummer feeder, depending on the season.

I love capturing her fuzzy fluffy feathers.

But I follow a bird photographer who just purchased a new feeder that seemed to be a bird favorite, so I ordered one too.

Then Mr. Downy showed up, chasing her off. He thinks he’s special I guess.

The birds love it. I don’t know if it’s just because it’s new, or because the bigger birds who can’t fit through my caged feeder have a new source of snacks.

He’s fuzzy too.

Yesterday it enticed three different types of woodpeckers to spend time near our windows.

And then Ms Red-bellied arrived, chasing Mr. Downy off the feeder.

I hope you enjoyed seeing them as much as we did!

And Ms. Hairy Woodpecker arrived too, with her long beak. She at least shared the feeder with the little birds.

And go over and read Backyard Bird Nerd’s blog. You’ll love the variety of birds that she attracts to her yard!

Hey! What about ME? I’m pretty too….but they won’t let me on the popular feeder.

I’m looking forward to spending more time with my birds, but I’ll try to get up earlier to get those feeders filled before they go on strike and demand one treat per image taken. It’s possible Katie left them a copy of her contract and I don’t want that kind of thought process to spread.

I’m new around here (red breasted nuthatch, I’ve never seen here before!), so I’ll just look for seeds over on the railing.