The Aviary

As an outdoors guy, I have always been able to identify hawks, eagles, ospreys, buzzards, and many other birds of prey. The thought of bird watching never crossed my mind.

This Spring, at the urging of my wife, I created a virtual aviary in my backyard (Of course, nothing in caged in). What I did do was plant, plant, and plant! My yard is now hidden away like a Key West tropical garden.

The new yard prompted us to begin feeding the many birds that surround our home, and the results were fantastic. I now sip my morning coffee watching various bird species, many of which I am just learning to identify. Here of some of the creatures so far:

American_Goldfinch
Goldfinch


BlueGreyGnatcatcher3
Gnatcatcher


bluejay
Blue Jay


cardinal female
Female Cardinal


cardinal
Male Cardinal


catbird
Catbird



House_Sparrow
House Sparrow


housewren
Wren


hummingbird-ruby-throated-male
Ruby Throated Hummingbird


lincoln's sparrow
Lincoln Sparrow


mockingbird
Mockingbird


mourning_dove
Mourning Dove


nothern cardinal2
Northern Cardinal



swamp sparrow
Swamp Sparrow


titmouse
Tufted Titmouse


Yellow-Finch
Yellow Finch


YellowRumpedWarbler
Yellow Rumped Warbler


There are so many different species and so many varieties within each species that I have a long way to go with this new hobby. However, I have already purchased a dozen books on the subject and I am having a blast. It's just another fun thing to do, and it is far more relaxing than I ever imagined. I find it as rewarding as meditation.

If you ever get the chance (or make the chance), give it a try.


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Comments

  1. I noticed you haven't posted in a while, JJ. Now I see why. Beautiful and colorful pictures!

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    1. m denise c: Yes. Thank you for noticing. Between traveling, writing, and doing those things my wife tells me I really want to do, I have been busy.

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  2. WOW You have a lot of guests in your backyard. I recently discovered backyard birds while I was living in Bozeman, too. Now, that I moved back to Helena, there are so many magpies and crows around and they seem to frighten away the pretty little songbirds. Dang. How would I get rid of the big birds?

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    1. Manzie: I am learning that it is all in the seed. I buy seed that attracts the little guys, but is not liked by the big boys.

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  3. hey, JJ: I've got a Phoebe that has come back for the past 2 years!. They're loners and before I googled this bird, I felt sorry for him.. He's sweet, he shows up during the cold months and chirps and its the same one, (intuition is playing a part here).. He stays till it gets warm and is gone before Spring... Now, I have black geese, quail and hummers... robins, crows and hawks are back! :-).. I'm in heaven- my happy time for sure!

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    1. KBF: Very happy to hear that. I don't know what a Phoebe is, but I think it looks like a sparrow. I have plenty of hawks, but with all the trees and plants, the birds seem to be safe and the hawks leave them alone.

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    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoebe_(bird)

      he's sweet...
      Catbird caught my eye- never seen one... where does it get his name? does that bird mock cats or are cats drawn to them?

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    3. KBF: The catbird makes a sound that mimics a cat. Scares the blazes out of other birds.

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  4. JJ, your yard sounds awesome. I'm amazed at all the different birds you've spotted. I love watching birds, especially flocks of birds in flight. I find it mesmerizing. We're living in an apartment now and don't have many plants so no visits from birds, but I hear them singing outside. They perch on an old antenna up there. I don't know what species it is, but I love listening to the birdsong, even though I can't see the birds.

    For years my mom and dad enjoyed sitting on their patio, drinking their morning coffee or ice tea after dinner, relaxing and watching the various birds flitting around their yard. They had hummingbird feeders and had quite a few that visited every day. It's a wonderful past time, isn't it?

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    1. Lynn: It is exactly what your parents said it is - a wonderful pastime.

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  5. Grrrrr! I forgot to copy my comment, so of course I lost it. It was a long one, too. Just don't have it in me tonight to retype it, but basically I love to watch birds, though we don't have a yard like you do. Sounds awesome! Take care.

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    1. Lynn: You didn't lose it. It came through. We do enjoy morning coffee and dinner on our patio as well.

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  6. Do you put the seed in bird feeders? That seems to me the traditional way to do it. But you aren't exactly a traditional guy... so it wouldn't surprise me if you had something totally different going on!

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    1. Robin: I do, but with a twist. I don't have hummingbird feeders or suet. I planted a lot of bottlebrush, so hummingbirds, small finches and sparrows seem to be attracted to the bushes. Then, they hit the feeders.

      I have twelve different kinds of feeders and ten different knds of seed. I match the feeders with tiny perches to the seeds enjoyed by the smallest birds. I match the larger seeds and wider-based feeders for the big guys. I avoid any seed that attracts birds like Blue Jays that tend bully others.

      And then there is Lylah. She sits under the trees when the birds are feeding What irony that my bird dog provides security from squirrels and cats. You have to love Nature!

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    2. Very interesting. I just knew that you would have a unique twist on this whole thing.

      FYI: I did do a Thursday post last week and dedicated a little something to you...

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    3. Robin: I have been pre-occupied lately, but I will get back on track soon. I'll check out your post now. As for the birds, truth be told, I do a little more. I tried to study the main foods of the individual birds I attract and prepare a special blend. I use wheat, oats, nuts, peanut butter, flour, bread, and suet in a seed mix, and it really works!

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  7. JJ,
    Just wait until you see a painted bunting! We had one visit our newly hung bird feeder last week!

    I will be using your list as reference, =D

    Super that you are enjoying the birds, too!

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    1. A-M: I must look for one. To the best of my knowledge, I have not seen one yet. This is very relaxing!

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    1. Jennifer: I think birds are the sharpest creatures, and they represent freedom.

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  9. These are great - birds love Florida and they love your new aviary. Thanks for identifying them - that's a real treat. You are a natural! One question - my husband has shot birds in our yard and he was curious as to what kind of camera and lens you used.

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    1. helen: Half were taken by my daughter, and half were downloaded images. My daughter uses some kind of telephoto lens, but I am not a photographer, so I don't know what kind. You are so right. Birds love Florida!

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  10. Fantastic pictures JJ!! And how stimulating the identification of all these beautiful birds must be! Unfortunately I can not experience something like that here in Lisbon because I live in a flat in a big city, with lots of cars and people around. But in a garden near by, I also like to watch birds, but I have never been able to take such great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Fanático_Um: Like everything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages. Cities have terrific cultural events, great restaurants, etc. More rural communities enjoy Nature a little more. It would be nice for everyone to experience both.

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  11. I really enjoyed this post, and I know I will visit it again... I love birds. I have seen some of these birds in Wisconsin.

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    1. Julia: I spent an anniversary in Wisconsin in the summer time and saw a great deal of the Nature I used to enjoy in New Hampshire. I love Wisconsin. Now, it's Florida birds.

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  12. Oh, I can just imagine your beautiful tropical garden. How wonderful! And to think that some of little gold finches end up in such a warm and lovely place.
    I'm sure it is such a relaxing time and would give the mind a chance to wander. All so good!

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