My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Chirps and Cheeps Bird Blog

A Birder's Blog About Birding in Western New York

Male Purple Finches!

Published April 11, 2011
Tags: My Feeders, Purple Finch, Pileated, Northern Flicker, Red-tailed Hawk, Chipping Sparrow, Orchard Park, life list, nyjer thistle

Finally!  Not one, but 5 male purple finches showed up at our feeders today!  Until today, I've only had one, lone female sporadically coming by so this was very exciting to finally see a male - a life list for me in a way...

The finches were quite noisy and stayed all day long, vacillating between the back feeders and side feeders.  They couldn't be bothered with the nyjer thistle; they only wanted the black oil sunflower seeds.

The day began with the drumming sound of  a Pileated, a rare sighting of a Northern Flicker, and a rush and flurry of a Red-tailed Hawk swooping down on a squirrel eating some spilled birdseed. He or she was unsuccessful, but it was quite a speedy and vicious pursuit! I also saw my first of the year Chipping Sparrow.

Quite the exciting day in Orchard Park!
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My first male Purple Finch
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Purple Finch
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Purple Finch
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Purple Finch
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Purple Finch
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Purple Finch


Early Spring at Chestnut Ridge Park

Published April 07, 2011
Tags: Parks and Preserves, Chestnut Ridge State Park, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird, bird blind, binoculars

I purchased a new pair of binoculars and a pair of hiking boots! I was quite anxious to try them out but I wasn't sure where I wanted to trek off to.  My son and his dog, Iris were heading out to Chestnut Ridge State Park, so I invited myself along and they graciously conceded.  We took 2 cars, just in case I gave out before they did - and since the park is only minutes away from us, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try out my new equipment.  Oh, I forgot to mention that I also bought a one-man bird blind.  It's actually a hunting blind, but I think it should serve well for photographing wildlife.

It was a bit chilly and snow was still on the ground, but we soon warmed up as we headed up and down the hilly terrain.  Right off the bat, we heard the drumming of a Pileated Woodpecker. This hyped me up for great adventure!  However, the trip proved to be a bust as far as birding went.

Tom helped me set up the photo blind and I sat and waited for birds to show up - any bird - even just one!  But nothing; nada.  As I began to contemplate how I was going to manage folding up that blind myself, Tom and Iris came up the path, calling out the Black-capped Chickadee's two toned whistle.  I didn't fall for it; I knew it was Tom! So thankfully, he helped me get that crazy thing collapsed and packed away and we returned home. I had more luck in the yard photographing a few birds - and even caught a poor photo from a very long distance away of an Eastern Bluebird! This is the first Bluebird I've seen in many years!
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Me wearing my new binoculars and hiking boots
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My son, Tom - where's Iris?
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A very poor photo of an Eastern Bluebird - quite a distance, but at least I got it!
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Male American Goldfinch
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An American Tree Sparrow heartily singing a beautiful song
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American Tree Sparrow showing off his red peak


Goldfinches Go Gold

Published April 04, 2011
Tags: My Feeders, American Goldfinch, Orchard Park, molt, nesting, breeding plumage

As spring is ever so slowly creeping to Orchard Park, I take reassurance that it's coming in that our American Goldfinches are surely changing.  The males are especially becoming more and more beautiful as they lose their winter drabs and don their breeding plumage.  I have some photos taken over the past few weeks to show their progress. You'll have to use your imagination to add their much more animated singing voices!

Factoid: this is the only finch that has a second molt in the spring. All other species in this family have just one molt each year in autumn. They're also one of the latest nesting birds - starting in late June or early July. By this time, most other birds are all done breeding.
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April 4th - this male is almost there!
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March 21st
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March 18th
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March 12th
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February 25th - evidence of molting has begun
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February 25th - front view of a male who has just started the molting process
Reply from: Marge on 4/12/2011 7:58 PM
 Sue - your pictures are so interesting and a blue bird!!! I, too, have not seen one in a very long time. What a treat! E"