Tag Archive | feeder

Ruby-throated Hummingbird ~ Archilochus colubris

These were taken last fall, by my hubby. We had just gotten the new easy camera, a Nikon Coolpix, however still needed to figure out how to use it. Lucky for us, the neighboring camp host had a plethora of bird feeders for us to shoot birds at. I love hummers! They are such unique birds. We were very blessed to see one nesting above our camper last summer.

I hope the new feeder I received as a gift brings more of them to my house. Although I’ve never gotten any remotely clear shots of them in my front yard, I do get many of them visiting. I have planted many tubular flowers that are in the red ranges of color, a favorite of theirs.

For now, I know it’s a bit early for these beauties to be up here in Northern Illinois… I’ll just refer to my migration map and be ready for their arrival!!


© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Red Breasted Nuthatch ~ Sitta canadensis

image I started offering peanuts to my feathered & furry friends about a month ago. Word must have gotten around as now I’ve got a few new visitors! Not only do the Blue Jays and Crows love the new treat, I’ve got a Red-breasted Nuthatch now. I’m so excited to see him!


His identity had me a bit confused. I swore he was some kind of sparrow. I have White-breasted Nuthatches around and they really don’t have the same body shape. I think the Red-breasted is shaped and sized more like a Chickadee.

I was also hoping for a better photo than these  😉 Boy, that little guy is fast!


The Red-breasted Nuthatch’s diet changes throughout the year, as their southernmost areas may actually be quite far north. In summer, they eat mostly insects, while in the winter, they switch to seeds. At feeders, they like sunflower seeds, peanuts and suet. In true Nuthatch fashion, they wedge nuts in tree bark and hatch the fruit out by hammering it with their beaks. They also like to stash food for winter.

Red-breasted Nuthatches nest in tree cavities that they excavate themselves. Both parents will work on the nook, and it can take up to eight weeks to dig it out. The nest is primarily built by the female and she uses, grass, moss, shredded bark, needles, and rootlets.

One of the coolest things the Red-breasted Nuthatch does is to collect resin globules from coniferous trees and attach them around the entrance of their nest hole. The resin may help to keep out predators or contenders. The homeowners avoid the resin by flying directly through the hole.

They have an enlarged hind toe and a short tail, which allows them to move in all directions on a tree trunk, along with the undersides of branches. They don’t need their tails to move on the trunks like woodpeckers do.

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He’s not picky at my feeders! Sunflower seeds, niger seed, peanuts or suet work for him =-)

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Red Bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus

Red-bellied Woodpecker’s can stick out their tongues almost 2 inches past the end of their beaks. The tip is barbed and their spit is sticky, which makes it easier to snatch prey from deep crevices. Males generally have longer tongues than females, possibly allowing a breeding pair to forage in slightly different nooks to maximize their use of available food.


This is a female. I’ve not seen a male. Males head is fully red on the back.



Thanks for the peanut suet!!



Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis

I think this was the first bird I was able to identify at a young age. Maybe because there is really nothing like these, at least not here in North America. They do not molt into a bland color for winter, like many finches and other birds. They keep their bright red plumage all winter. They are kind of like the “Cockatoo of the Americas” as its head feathers rise in the same fashion.

Cardinals tend to be ground feeding birds that generally hop around lower branches, although they tend to nest very high in trees.

Cardinals are very protective of their territories in the spring during breeding season and will defend their territory to the end! This is usually the time when they can be found attacking reflections of themselves in hubcaps, windows and metal roofing material.

When they do find a mate in the spring, the courtship is usually focused on the male feeding the female. I love watching the male grab a seed, fly to the female and give it to her.


Cardinals mainly eat seeds, fruit and insects (nestlings mostly get fed insects). Cardinals eat many kinds of birdseed, particularly black oil sunflower seed. They also eat many kinds of insects including beetles, crickets, leafhoppers, cicadas, flies, katydids, centipedes, spiders, and moths.


Female Cardinals are one of the few North American songbirds that sing and often do while sitting on the nest. It is thought she gives the male information about when to bring food to the nest. (Hey Honey, we need some food up here… Don’t go to McBirds either!) A mated pair often shares song phrases; however the female may sing a longer and a slightly more multipart song than the male.


In the winter, cardinals will flock with other birds for safety. It’s not uncommon to see them with sparrows, juncos, titmice and chickadees.

My Autumn Hummingbird

Last spring, I put out a hummingbird feeder for the first time ever. I washed and refilled the feeder at regular intervals. Watched diligently, as it is positioned directly above my monitor at work. I basically have 8 hours a day to wait and enjoy the hummingbirds.

And I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited….

Finally, last week my peripheral vision caught something… no way!

And there she was. So small and perfect. I sure hope she travels safely to her winter home. I would also love to see her return for a visit.


Glad she sat. My camerone doesn’t have a chance of catching her in flight.


I didn’t have too many yellowjackets bugging the feeder, however she buzzed them off whenever they came near.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plants