Birds Beyond the Glass

Blue Jay (male) Cyanocitta cristata
Blue Jay (male) Cyanocitta cristata

Blue Jays rarely visit our feeder so I was happy to catch this one having a snack of sunflower seeds. His bold blue, black, and white feather jacket stood out against the soft yellow and green leaves.

In the backyard of my childhood home in Wisconsin Blue Jays were frequently seen in the large oak trees growing there. I didn't know it at the time, but Blue Jays love to eat acorns and they had piles of them to devour in the shade of the huge oaks. They'd sometimes bury the acorns and forget about them creating new oak trees that would sprout up months later. They also like to eat caterpillars, beetles and grasshoppers.

Blue Jays are social birds often seen in pairs or small groups. It is a large songbird with a distinctive call, "Jeer, Jay, Jay, Jay." They take up so much room (10-12" or so) on the deck feeder that a line forms of birds on the roof above waiting for a turn to get a seed or two.




Blue Jay (male)
Blue Jay (male)
American Goldfinch (female)
American Goldfinch (female)

The Glorious Goldfinch

Goldfinches eat scattered sunflower seeds they find on the deck from the feeder above. They also like to eat Nyjer Thistle out of our feeder that has six perches which are often full at feeding times. When the mood strikes them the Goldfinch will eat upside down. It's the only finch able to do so. Other birds such as the Nuthatches and Creepers are upside down eaters as well.




Male American Goldfinch - Back View
Male American Goldfinch - Back View
American Goldfinch (male) Carduelis tristis
American Goldfinch (male) Carduelis tristis
Northern Cardinal (male)
Northern Cardinal (male)

Cardinal Magic

Cardinals are my absolute favorite birds to watch; the male for his red and black sleek ultimate power suit and the female who wears a soft brown and red trimmed fine feather coat. Together the two make a perfect couple on any perch.

If you hear "cheer cheer cheer," "whit-chew whit-chew" or "purty purty purty" whistles you may have a Cardinal or two visiting a nearby tree or at your feeder.

The cardinal was chosen as the State Bird of Illinois by Illinois school children, and it was made official in 1929 by the Illinois General Assembly. The Cardinal is not only the state bird of Illinois, but also, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.


Northern Cardinal (female)
Northern Cardinal (female)
Dark-Eyed Junco (male) Junco hyemalis
Dark-Eyed Junco (male) Junco hyemalis

The Dark-Eyed Junco

The Dark-Eyed Junco briefly stopped by our feeder in search of fallen seeds on the deck before quickly flying away. It's gray and white feathers puffed out making it look like it had coat of soft fur. I've taken to keeping my camera on the kitchen table to capture infrequent visitors like the Junco. They drop in for a few seconds and are gone again in a flash so don't blink when they stop by.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak (male) Pheucticus ludovicianus
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak (male) Pheucticus ludovicianus
Female Grosbeak
Female Grosbeak

Grosbeaks Stand Out

This sharp looking Rose-Breasted Grosbeak cruised in to sample the sunflower seeds and shared his find with a small House Finch. They left each other alone and ate at a steady pace cracking seeds open and tossing the hulls onto the deck floor.

The female Grosbeak is not as fancy as the male primarily brown with a white stripe by her eye and wing linings an orange yellow. I captured a few shots of her on my deck. She was either giving me her best "Angry Bird" look or played shy for the camera while she ate a banquet of seeds.

Camera shy female Grosbeak
Camera shy female Grosbeak
Grosbeak & House Finch
Grosbeak & House Finch
House Finch (male) Carpodacus mexicanus
House Finch (male) Carpodacus mexicanus

Red Head

The House Finch with its slick red crown and shiny black beak is a regular at our feeder. A female usually accompanies this fine fellow and they both stop by a couple times a week to eat the sunflower seeds. They also like to eat fruit and insects, especially aphids. What would be really amazing is if they could add wasps, biting flies and mosquitoes to their diet. They are a joy to watch no matter what they decide to eat.


Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Coo, Coo & Woo Woo

This particular Mourning Dove doesn't seem to have a clue what time it is. Morning, noon or night it doesn't seem to matter to this silly bird. It will hang out on the deck for hours scavenging for fallen seeds and just watching other birds come and go. The tree next to the deck is a favorite spot as well. A dove friend/mate will chum around with him for awhile, but seems to get bored after a bit and flies off.

 American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Robins Nest
Robins Nest

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Comments 6 comments

travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

We have lots of finches (brown ones) living atop our coconut trees in front of the house. Right now, their chirps blend with the morning sounds of honking of vehicles and sound of television, while I'm tick-tacking this comment.

Thansks for sharing!!!


Green Art profile image

Green Art 5 years ago Author

How cool you have a coconut tree in your front yard!! Funny the birds chirp along to the sounds around them isn't it? When we sit on the deck listening to music the birds sing along. The louder the music the louder they sing. My daughter had a parakeet that could mimic the beeping of our microwave perfectly. It fooled me more than once.


debbiepinkston profile image

debbiepinkston 4 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

Green Art, my Dad is an avid bird watcher and I am interested in becoming a bird watcher someday (when I have time). For now, I enjoy amateur bird watching and I learned a lot from you Hub. It sounds like you have an abundance of birds coming to your yard.

I put out a bird feeder last spring and summer, and I did enjoy the birds, but I found that the seeds that they scattered sprouted and I was constantly pulling up seedling of whatever the seed was. Any suggestions?


Green Art profile image

Green Art 4 years ago Author

We have a few new sunflowers this year from the sunflower seeds we feed the birds. We've tried growing sunflowers and haven't had any luck until the birds helped us out.

To keep seeds from sprouting under your feeder you could put down barrier sheet of plastic and decorative rocks on top of that. A stray seed may still end up in your yard but not as many as you have now.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

You have great pictures on here. I also keep my camera on the table to catch the birds at the feeder some of my pictures are on my hubs. We have bluejays all the time but get very few cardinals. Voted uP!


Green Art profile image

Green Art 4 years ago Author

Thanks for stopping by:) I've been trying to capture a really good shot of one of the Humming Birds that frequent our feeder but they are tough to catch. I'll be sure to check out your other hubs to see your bird shots too. Thanks for the Vote UP!

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