Monday, September 17, 2012

Birds Playing in the Sprinkler

It looks like summer is finally over! The weatherman said we aren't going to get any more triple digit heat this year. Before I get too much into cool weather mode, I wanted to post these pictures I took of various birds enjoying the sprinkler in the garden a couple of weeks ago when it was still blazing hot. I realize sprinklers are not the most efficient way of delivering water to the garden, and I plan on fixing that in the future, but in the meantime the birds sure to like it. Every time I had the sprinkler going, I got a good variety of birds playing in it, often ones I don't otherwise see. The other nice thing about it is they're usually so busy they don't me getting pretty close with the camera to take pictures of their antics.

I already posted a few pictures of this Black and White Warbler, but I thought I'd put them up again, since it fits with the subject of this post.
Then the next week I got some more birds visiting the sprinkler. The one on the left in this picture is a Nashville Warbler, with the yellow belly, gray head, and white eye-rings. That's another new one for me. The one on the right might be a female Yellow Warbler. There was a male Yellow Warbler hanging around too, but he didn't keep still enough for me to take a picture of him.
Another Nashville Warbler looking very happy singing in the "rain".
Now, this bird has me puzzled. The beak looks too thick to be a warbler. Warblers have thin, insect-eating beaks. This bird has more of a thick, seed-eating beak. I'm thinking it's probably a female something. Females are usually harder to identify since they don't have plumage that's as distinctive as the males. At first I thought she was a female goldfinch, but looking at my bird guide, I think she looks more like a female Painted Bunting. Actually, female Painted Buntings look exactly the same as immature male Painted Buntings too, so that's another possibility. They're both olive-green. I did see an adult male Painted Bunting at the feeder a while ago, and there's no mistaking them! So I know they're in the area, so this is probably a Painted Bunting as well.

A few weeks ago while my husband and I were over at my in-laws' house to water their garden (they were away on vacation) and even more exciting bird flew down to play in the water: a Golden-Cheeked Warbler! Now that was exciting! I'd only seen those before at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. But it stuck around long enough and got close enough that we're 100% sure it was a GCW. My in-laws were very excited to hear they've got endangered species hanging out in their backyard.

Now the birds don't need to play in the sprinklers. They've got plenty of natural rain to play in, and a lot of out summer birds are going to start leaving soon for Mexico and South America. However, we've got a whole batch of winter birds who spend the summer in Canada and winter here and should be arriving soon.

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