Thursday, February 24, 2011

Five minutes of observation from an observant observationist*

*I totally stole that line from a favorite blog.

I backed up the driveway today, and opened the door to unload the groceries.
In front of me was a tableau of bird behavior that was fascinating...not just because it was happening, but because I could recognize the players.
We have Pink Spot, who is a male Northern Cardinal who I've watched for two years.  He has a small leucistic spot on his right wing that makes him distinctive.  We also have Orange, who is a newcomer here, and low and behold, he's orange.
Pink spot cardinal

"The ladies dig this freaky little spot I got.  Chicka chicka wow wow....."

I'm horny and no one likes me because I'm different

"I'm horny and no one likes me because I'm different."

So there was a bit of male fluffery going on.  In between these two very different males, there was a female.
A normal female cardinal who had a choice to make.  Or maybe she didn't.  The reddest fellow seemed to have the upper hand.  I will be very interested to see if Orange gets a mate this year.  He is NOT a typical, bright red, healthy-looking cardinal, and with many bird species, that matters if you are going to get any nookie.

Orange got close to her....
Orange and Lady

...but after a few swipes from Pink, Orange had to back off.
Orange and Lady facing away

And Orange was gradually scooted off the driveway.

...and up into the mulberry tree, where his very posture showed how much he really wanted that female:
Orange banished

Meanwhile, a lone turkey vulture zoomed down so low I could hear the creak if its wings:
TV watches

The Lord God Almighty Mockingbird even pushed Orange around and then sat on the cheery tree and glared at me:
Lord Mocker

Oh.  And then a stray dog showed up.
A cute little chi-chi mix, who was confident enough to eat the food I put out, but was too skittish to let me look at his collar.

Hooper was watching the whole affair and starting yodeling at the top of his lungs:
Hooper yodels

Eventually, the stray bolted into another yard, Hooper shut up, the turkey vulture moved onto another thermal, the chip-chip-chip of the cardinals faded.   All this was only five minutes of my day, but it was a good five minutes.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...


Dave Dorsey said...

Susan play by play. :)

Beth said...

poor Orange. I hope he gets a little sumpin' sumpin'.

KGMom said...

Wow--things are hopping in your neck of the woods.

Mike said...

This is awesome, Susan. Definitely my best 5 minutes of birding in weeks!

amarkonmywall said...

So. I made a felted cardinal bird house today. I think I'll post a picture of it and then we'll see who's snorting. I like the glare on that mockingbird's face. And what is that dog?? I think it's a chi mixed with a pit bull.

Angie said...

Oh I love it, I do!! :D The birds and their antics are always some of my favorite moments out of any given day. :) Mr. Orange is a big WOW. I'll have to start paying even more attention to my birds and see if I can pick out a few to name. :D

A.L. Gibson said...

Never seen a Cardinal that shade of orange before! Very neat!

Anonymous said...

That's a miniature pinscher. They are escape artists.