A couple of weeks ago I kept hearing a simple, three pitched call from the yard. I went out to investigate and it was the Black-headed Grosbeak fledgling calling to be fed. Click on photos for full sized images.
It was a familiar song but I hadn’t heard it since last year and it is quite different from the adult’s calls when they come through on their way to their breeding grounds.
If you hadn’t seen this bird actually being fed by the adult, you can tell it is a fledgling by the pinkish bare skin at the commissural point, at the base of the bird’s bill where the upper and lower mandibles come together. You can still see it in this photo where the adult male and the fledgling are at the tray feeder two weeks later, along with one male and two female House Finches (Carpodacus mexicanus).
They enjoyed their time at the feeder until the Western Gray Squirrel(Sciurus griseus) showed up.
Even more interesting than watching the Gray Squirrels playing in the trees was the young male Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) figuring out how to eat out of the tube feeder. He seemed quite adept at using his tail as a prop under the bottom of the feeder and grabbing the perch with a foot.
The Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) were cleaning up the spillage under the feeders…
with some help from the California Quail (Callipepla californica) which usually come around in the early morning and late afternoon. I caught this male scurrying across the open yard to get to the relative safety under the trees.
Focusing my attention on the pond, hoping the young Black-headed Grosbeak would come over and give me some photo ops, I noticed an American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) lurking among the water lilies.
Not knowing much about the bullfrog, I looked it up and found some interesting information. They are voracious feeders!
There were damselflies…
and a Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata) dragonfly looking out from various perches.
A Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) fledgling was also perched nearby. Notice the bare pink skin at the base of its bill also.
This female Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) was getting a drink of water as they often do during the heat of the summer. In hot weather, water is as important to the hummingbirds as sugar and they need a fresh water source for drinking and bathing.
One of the many House Finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) that come to the sunflower feeders also enjoy the waterfall. This is a female that just came over for a drink…
and a fledgling that was all fluffed up after taking a very enjoyable bath.
A female Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria) was waiting her turn in the overhanging eucalyptus…
while the fledgling Western Scrub-Jay approached from below in its brilliant new blue suit.
To see more cool bird photos, make sure you get on over to Stewart’s Wild Bird Wednesday and Anni’s The Bird Depot and maybe share some of your own bird photos!