Birds, birds everywhere

I had a great morning sitting on the deck and watching the birds as it got light today. Amazed by the activity and variety of birds within sight of the deck, I decided it would be fun to make a summer project of observing, photographing, and painting the birds in the immediate area.

Here are early observations:

A pair of wrens are nesting in the box right off the deck. While one wren carried sticks to the nest, the other spent considerable energy trying to drive off a red-bellied woodpecker that wanted to feed in the area. The fact that the woodpecker seemed to totally ignore the racket and diving attacks didn't seem to hinder the enthusiasm nor the persistence of the wren.

A pair of rough-wing swallows are apparently building a nest in the pole shed. They are carrying nesting material into a box that contains my deer decoy. It is on a shelf about 10' off the ground. They seem to work as a pair, first landing on the gravel drive, then one picks up some nest material which looks like small grassy stuff possibly from the last few days of lawn mowing. Next they both fly back into the pole shed and disappear into the box with the material.

A pair of barn swallows are nesting in the same location over the sliding door of the pole shed where a pair nested last year.

A pair of blue birds are using the nest box just south of the pole shed. The female gathers primarily dead grasses from the lane where I accidentally sprayed Roundup and killed the grass.

An eastern phoebe is attracted to the frame work under my tower blind about 10 yards off the deck. Last year I attached some lumber scraps to the bottom of the frame work so robins, swallows, and phoebe could build nests there. Last year barn swallows took advantage of the site.

Starlings have managed to get past my mesh barrier and are nesting again in the overhang of the trailer.

Canada geese were interested in the pond again this year but by the time I rigged up a floating nest tub they had chosen another location. I have mixed feelings about that. It would have been fun to watch and listen to them but I won't miss the goose droppings that would have likely been deposited on the dock.

I can also hear and see a number of other birds that have not yet found nest sites. These include the red-bellied woodpecker, red-headed woodpeckers, downy woodpecker, white breasted nuthatch, tree swallows, rose-breasted grossbeaks, red-winged blackbirds, purple grackles, song sparrows, ruby-throated hummingbirds, goldfinch (will nest later), yellow-throated warbler, vultures (may be nesting in the bulldozed brush pile from when the pond was built), eastern meadowlark, wild turkey and chipping sparrow are the species that come to mind at this moment.

It's always amazing the sheer amount of wildlife you will see if you can sit still long enough to look for it.