See more Backyard Birds
In a small patch of my backyard in Kennett Square, virtually every type of bird native to Southeastern Pennsylvania has visited one of several feeders at one time or another. Dark-eyed Juncos and House Finches are the most common, followed by jittery Tufted Titmice (plural of Tufted Titmouse) and a pair of Downy Woodpeckers, male and female, that like to climb tree trunks when they’re not feeding. Other daily fly-bys include Northern Cardinals, Mourning Doves, sparrows, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Goldfinches and Chickadees. In January 2013, a Red-Breasted Nuthatch and a White-Breasted Nuthatch made their first appearances.
Most of the birds get along well, more focused on filching a sunflower seed or a peanut than on messing with each other, although several are the bullying types. Blue Jays, Common Grackles and occasionally the Northern Mockingbirds that live in nearby holly bushes and protect their “turf,” will mix it up.
I’ve photographed most of these birds from a door on the side of the garage that leads to the backyard, and more recently from a makeshift blind – a curtain hung over that same door with several holes cut out for my camera.
There are a few birds that are more elusive, or visit infrequently, that I hope to photograph. I’ve only seen a Common Starling in the backyard once – for a bird with a common name, it is anything but common-looking. It has an exotic, glossy black plumage, speckled with white at certain times of the year. My Holy Grail is the Northern Flicker, another bird that I’ve only seen once in the backyard. It’s a member of the woodpecker family that has a beige face, a red bar at the nape of its neck, (males have a black mustache), yellow under the tail and wings, black bars on the back and wings, black spots on a beige breast as well as black spots on a white rump. This bird makes an impression coming and going.
See some of the Backyard Birds I’ve photographed.