Monday, 3 August 2015

EXPAT LIFE: Garden Birds

One of the more everyday fun things that has come about since moving to the US, has been learning about all the wildlife. Now don't get me wrong, British garden birds are pretty, but there's something exciting about learning all the new bird varieties and just seeing how colorful they are. To me, there's something rather tropical about a bright yellow or red bird passing through and munching away on your bird feeder.


Spring comes with the arrival of the American Robin (above) which is actually Michigan's state bird. Thing is, here it's the same size of a Blackbird which, when you're use to them being on Christmas cards and being the same size of a sparrow back in England, it takes a bit to get your head around. 


Oh Woody the Woodpecker (and his Mrs) that you can hear head banging away more often than actually seeing him. Nevertheless Downy Woodpeckers are one of the common garden birds to be spotted in American gardens. Even here in the suburbs it's great to see what would have been a really wild and unseen bird in the UK just chilling out in my back garden.


Blue Jays with their blue colouring and white belly have a bit of a bad reputation. They are noisy, they are super territorial, scaring off other birds (even hawks, owls & humans) and have been known to eat other birds eggs. But with that blue plumage, they sure are pretty.


Northern Cardinals though, they have to be my favourite. Being bright red (although the female Cardinals are more of the reddy brown) they have a funky Mohawk feathering over their heads. We regularly have a Mr and Mrs Cardinal that pop through the front garden.


Red winged blackbirds aren't a sight you see all to often - in fact this photograph was taken on a Detroit Zoo visit. But there's something beautiful about that hint of red on their wing. It's the male Red-Winged Blackbirds that get all that colourful feathering mind you, the females are just a nondescript brown.


Now American Goldfinches don't appear that often either, but I guess the sunflower (one that was self seeded from apparently one of the sunflower seeds that we filled the feeder with once) was too hard to resist. Sunflowers are apparently one of their favorite foods after all. 

We've also had some hawks sitting in the magnolia tree, which often a little scary when you're caught unaware with a huge bird flying onto your porch as it eyes up the sparrows. It's always something similar to the bird photographed above when we were waiting in line for the drive through at our bank back in 2013. As you do.

And of course, wherever you are in the world, you'll always find ...


The pigeon ... it's like a clip from the Hitchcock film Birds when they line up eyeing up the bird food.  

Paying a little extra for the fancy wild bird food certainly pays off when you get pretty birds popping through the garden daily. Joe came across a set of old binoculars at an estate sale for a mere $10 the other week so I can be even more of a twitcher in my spare time. 

Have a favorite bird? Come share in the comments!

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