We have had our feeders out for a few weeks now. We put out two finch socks full of thistle seed, a regular wooden feeder full of a blend of nuts, seeds, and fruit, a suet block, and a hummingbird feeder. And so, I figured I’d make a post and show you the RIDICULOUS number of birds that have been coming up to our feeders and right on our porch. It’s so awesome—I watch them all the time. Check out all the color we’ve got here in Tennessee!
Probably the number one resident we have. They just converge on those finch socks in the morning and it’s one big goldfinch party. Ten, eleven at a time, just arguing and fussing and hanging off of the socks. They leave a huge mess, but they are so pretty it’s easily forgiven. They are all currently in full courting plumage, so it’s just all bright yellow feathers everywhere, even the females.
I love these guys because they remind me of home—Mom has bird feeders everywhere, too, and the house finches are thick in Oklahoma. We have a few mated pairs that hang out on the wooden feeder, but sometimes, they march over and insert themselves in the middle of the goldfinches, too—which really gives you a look at how tiny the goldfinches are.
I’ve only seen this guy twice, but today actually marks the first time he’s come up to the feeder itself. The last time I saw one was in winter, and he was way down on the fence by the river. I love having him—he’s just too adorable for words.
Chickadees are one of my favorite birds and we have quite a few of them. I can’t tell you if we have black-capped chickadees or Carolina chickadees because they look almost entirely alike. Either way, we’ve got chickadees! They hang out on the wooden feeder and the suet block. I love the way they get nuts out of the feeder and hold them between their toes as they crack them.
We actually have a pair of these! These are tiny, TINY woodpeckers and let me tell you, they are absolutely fearless. I was filling up the wooden feeder today, which is two feet away from the suet block, and one of them landed right on it and scowled at me before fluttering over to the hummingbird feeder and taking a long chug the whole time I was out on the porch.
However, we also have these boys—they dwarf the downies. I’ve always been amused by how they are called “red-bellied” woodpeckers when they don’t really have red bellies. But hey, “red-headed” was taken. I guess they had to do something.
I grudgingly include these fat, bullying bastards on the list because I have a soft spot for grackles. These are eastern grackles, which are colored differently than the ones I’m used to in Oklahoma. Those are green or sometimes purple—these guys are a vibrant shade of blue, as you can see. But they are bullies, and they’ve just recently discovered what used to be a finch haven and have started running the smaller birds off and gobbling up the seed. I do not hesitate to chase them off the feeders. They’re only up here because there’s nice seed.
Yes, we have cardinals. They sit on the ledge and pick up seeds that have fallen down from the feeder, and they are absolutely gorgeous. I love being able to see them this close.
We have a mated pair! I didn’t know blue jays were monogamous, but they are—they mate for life. There are two that run around on the porch, occasionally fluttering up and stealing a nut from the seed in the wooden feeder, but they mostly stay on the ground.
Don’t know what it is about them, but I love doves. Not the white ones—these kind. They’ve also discovered our porch and the awesome seed, but I am a lot more tolerant of them than the grackles because they do not go near the feeders. They stay on the ground and the ledge, patrolling back and forth and eating up anything that drops. One has taken to peeping inside of my backdoor. I think he wants inside.
I don’t see these guys as much as the mourning doves, but I do see them. Same story—they leave the finches along, don’t chase them off, and simply argue a little amongst themselves. There are dove wars, I confess—and one actually ran into the window today.
Tennessee actually doesn’t have that many hummingbirds that stick around for long—only two species, and I’ve only actually seen one since we moved here. It was a little ruby-throat, and a female. She reigned supreme at the feeder for a while, but I think she’s been chased off by the downy—I read that they’ll do that, or even try to kill poor hummingbirds because they are so territorial of their feeders. I hope that’s not the case—I love hummingbirds.
This guy is recent, and he is adorable. He hops around on the ground mostly, but occasionally gets on the suet block. He’s so streamline and flat! I can’t get over it.
We actually have a female instead of a male, but I’m hoping that if there’s a girl, there will eventually be a boy because look at that beautiful bird. I actually had no idea what she was for the longest time because she’d always show up on very bright days, and so all I could make out was her outline and none of her colorations. She loves to sit on the suet block, and is actually quite big.
I’ve only seen this lovely little guy once—he was on the finch sock, and was going to town. For a while, I didn’t know what it was, as I’ve never seen a sparrow with colorations like that before. I hope we get them again—they are actually quite pretty.
Great Blue Heron
Okay, yeah, this guy doesn’t come up to the feeders—if he did, I’d be kind of alarmed. However, I had to include it because I see so many of these now. They are always flying low over the river, and they are gorgeous. They are graceful and amazing and I can’t say enough about them. That is a perk of living on the river that I didn’t think about getting. AWESOME.
But there is one more resident we had, and it has a bit of a story to go with it.
I was puttering around on the computer, minding my own business, when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I look out, and there on our porch is…well…this.
At first I thought it was just your run-of-the-mill pigeon. But then I realized I have never, ever seen a pigeon out where we live. Not once. So I got up and looked closer…
See his ankle? That’s a red tag. It had letters on it, and I managed to make out a few—namely, I saw the letters “AU” on it.
That, my friends, is a genuine registered racing pigeon, owned by someone who is part of the American Racing Pigeon Union.
I had no clue what to do with him at first—I looked up the protocol on lost or hurt pigeons, and it said that if they were hurt or lost, you needed to catch them, keep them in a box or a cage, and read their band—that would provide all of the info needed to reach their owner. However, this guy was perfectly healthy. The site then said that most times, the pigeons are fine—they are just resting on their journey, and advise people to put out food and water for them and leave them alone. So, I did, filling up a little thing of the good seed for him and a thing of water. He ate, drank, napped, and was generally a very unobtrusive guest, and then about two days later—thirty-six hours about—he hopped up on the ledge and went flying off on his own.
There’s a new experience I can say I’ve had—my apartment was a rest stop for a racing pigeon.
Of course, there is a downside to all of these birds. Our porch is covered in seed shells and poop.
Totally worth it, I think.