My Texas Backyard

Altimira oriole

By mid February most birding blog posts feature bird feeders in the snow with the usual suspects in attendance. Cardinals, blue jays, hairy and downy woodpeckers and, of course the flocks of chickadees and hoards of house sparrows.

Some of the hoard of sparrows at the bird bath

Some of the hoard of sparrows at the bird bath

Here in south Texas we do have hoards of house sparrows, but the similarity ends there.  So many different and exotic birds visit my feeder.

no humming birds, just bees

no humming birds, just bees

Rufous and buff bellied hummingbirds were frequent visitors to my two feeders but the only pictures I got were these. Finally had to retire the feeders, it was too dangerous for us and the humming birds.

the mocking bird sings

the mocking bird sings

Mocking birds wake us in the morning with their songs (never a repeated note  and they go on and on until the day gets warm).

The colorful ones delight us as they show off in our yard. The greenjay is the showiest but the kiskadee (who’s call sounds like his name) is a beautiful yellow, black and white bird. The orange bird featured in the top photo is an altimira oriole, he adds a splash of color at the feeder.

green jay

green jay

saucy kiskadee

saucy kiskadee

altimira oriole loves oranges

altimira oriole loves oranges

Yellow bellied wood peckers search the palm tree above for insects, long billed and curved billed thrashers are aptly named as they toss plant debris aside looking for tasty morsels.

golden fronted wood pecker

golden fronted wood pecker

in the palm tree

in the palm tree

curve billed thrasher

curve billed thrasher

Hawks and owls hang out in the dead trees behind us looking for any unwary sparrows at the feeder. We even have a road runner hanging around, seen catching sparrows. The chachalaca is a noisy, gregarious, remarkably tame bird found in the Rio Grande Valley.

road runner, doesn't say BEEP BEEP

road runner, doesn’t say BEEP BEEP

chachalacas being gregerias

chachalacas being gregarious

Cardinals are common here, but there is another bird that at first glance looks like a female cardinal. The pyrrhuloxia is gray with some red on its crest and wing tips. The best way to tell them apart is the female cardinal has a red beak whereas the pyrruloxia’s beak is yellow.

pyrrhuloxia- the gray cardinal

pyrrhuloxia- the gray cardinal

For a northern girl like me it is a thrill to see large flocks of green parakeets fly over the park constantly chattering, then landing in the hackberry trees to feast on the fruit. Seeing birds such as these  in the wild is so great.

just a few of the green parakeets

just a few of the green parakeets

These fellows visit the feeders regularly, escapees from the farm next door. Not too popular at 4 a.m.

feeder visitors

feeder visitors

not welcome

not welcome

What would a feeder be without a squirrel visitor?

What would a feeder be without a squirrel visitor?

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