Tag Archives: backyard birds

A Snack on a Cold Winter’s Day in Siouxland, Sioux City

7 Feb
A house sparrow eats a sunflower seed it found in the snow Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently the Siouxland area had another snow storm. This one dropping anywhere between 4-12 inches depending on where lucky souls happened to reside throughout the region. I felt really bad for some neighborhood residents as they tried to find food after this snow fall and made attempts during a very cold morning to get a meal.

A dark-eyed junco and a house sparrow race to a seed they found in the snow Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A house sparrow eats a sunflower seed it found in the snow Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I watched these neighbors dashing to and fro win the snow, chasing one another away from a possible food source and constantly looking. I photographed them for a while, watching the antics hopes of finding something to eat after the passing storm. Finally I had spent enough time getting fresh air and freezing my toes off. So I put my gear away and returned with nutrients that I filled feeders and spread about the ground, although the little buggers do that well enough themselves as they rush the feeders. Hopefully they got their fill for the time being before looking again in the afternoon as they always do before settling in for the night.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A squirrel eats a seed it found in the snow Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sparrow sits on a snow covered branch watching for its turn at a feeder Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A house sparrow eats a sunflower seed it found in the snow Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A house sparrow eats a sunflower seed it found in the snow Thursday morning, Jan. 19, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa after 6 plus inches fell Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning as a storm system moved across the U.S. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sharing in Siouxland, Sioux City

1 Feb
A female house finch takes a drink of water from a bird bath in a backyard residence in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022.(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While watching critters, birds and other animals in Siouxland, I am sometimes amazed at the civil behavior I witness. When photographing birds feeding they will often times work to move one another out of the way so they too can get a “seat at the table” of a particular bird feeder. But watching a couple of house finches, which could actually be mates, the male watched as the female drank from a bird feeder and then helped himself. Whether planned or not or behavioral or not, this particular day the male was chivalrous to the female until they drank their fill and left.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A female and male house finch share a bird bath for a drink for a drink in a backyard residence in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022.(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Birds on a Stick in Siouxland, Adams Homestead Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD and Sioux City

22 Jan
An Eastern Kingbird sits on a plant stem at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 27, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A black capped chickadee sits on a branch as summer winds down and fall begins in the backyard of a residence Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I began photographing more birds both near home and in parks around Siouxland I began to pay more attention to the perches these feathered folk use. Sometimes it is very sturdy and at others it seems to follow that phrase “any port in a storm” where they may situate themselves as they take stock of the surrounding area. Birds in some of the parks have sometimes more choice for perches, as often times these places also provide a kind of prairie habitat which is generally not available in neighborhoods within a community.

An Eastern Kingbird sits on a plant stem at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 27, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sparrow watches from a branch in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sparrow sits on a branch in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, November 15, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And photographing in these two different places create their own challenges. In a neighborhood one can sit a spell, especially near feeders and birds will come and go and possible give more opportunities to photograph them as they rest on a perch before heading to a feeder. Whereas in the park’s meadow area the birds can see you coming from some distance off and I have found one is only able to get so close necessitating the use of a long lens often times with a teleconverter to make an image of the bird “in the wild” so to speak. And of course as in so many things, timing is everything. Sometimes the act of bringing a camera to one’s eye will spook a bird so one needs to be aware and judge how close and how long one wants to hold a lens up into a position to get a photograph of a particular subject.

In the meadow areas using a tripod or monopod is just another piece of gear to carry for some distance, possibly a few miles while hiking, which is not always fun and tiring. So trade offs are made while one “enjoys” oneself out in nature with possibly the benefit of a photograph of some creature also enjoying the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An Eastern Kingbird sits on a plant stem at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 27, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A house finch sits on a branch in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sparrow looks directly at a visitor in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022.(photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
An Eastern Kingfisher studies its surroundings from a tree branch overhanging Mud Lake at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Friday, May 7, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Until Next Year in Siouxland, Backyard Birds, Sioux City

31 Dec
A white-breasted nuthatch holds onto a seed it pulled from a feeder in the backyard of a residence Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the winter temperatures yo-yo back and forth between warmish and downright cold in Siouxland, I thought I would pay tribute to some backyard visitors until next year when the weather will be decidedly more pleasant. Cool is not bad, downright freezing is not. I would guess some of the visitors might be regular, but still they stayed long enough for me to attempt photographs, many of them, and I hope to see them back next year as the days grow longer and warmer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A red headed woodpecker poses for a photograph in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, November 15, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An American goldfinch poses on a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A house finch checks out a visitor while visiting a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A house sparrow comments about a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
An American Goldfinch enjoys a snack at a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday May 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sparrow munches on seeds at a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, January 16, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A downy woodpecker eats some suet in the backyard of a residence Sunday, December 26, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A sparrow munches on seeds at a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, January 16, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sharing in Siouxland, Backyard Birds, Sioux City

3 Nov

Sparrows munch on seeds at a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, January 16, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it’s nice to have a companion when sitting down for a meal. Sharing the day’s tribulations and other goings on plus events happening around, “the feeder”. Many times I catch the feathered friends sharing a feeder and eating quickly as they gorge, fly off, and return to gorge again. The fall I haven’t seen as many passing birds it seems going through the area, at least in my neighborhood, but I know that must be flying through to new destinations. Fall is slowly progressing. Cold days and nights, warm days and nights, it’s been an unusual fall. And anticipating it will continue to be so. Can’t say I mind the slow progression.

When winter arrives all the news says it will be extremely cold and lots and lots of snow. I like the idea of lots and lots of snow, but the extreme cold is getting old and it doesn’t allow the snow to leave until sometime in March or April.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Backyard birds share a feeder at a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Backyard birds sharing a feeder at a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A common house sparrow chases another away from a backyard feeder at a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Little “Mourning Dove” Pick Me Up in Siouxland, Sioux City

15 Jul

Mourning Dove perches in a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday May 14, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During a current hot spell in Siouxland I might poke my head out my door in the morning to see what the weather is like and sometimes sit outside enjoying the bird song as backyard visitors stop by for a snack or a meal. But these days the afternoons are insufferable with the heat and humidity so I don’t sit out there watching my “guests” come and go. I have to refill the feeders so I know they are still stopping by and am glad of it. Hoping for a cool weather interlude, if only for a day or so to start the morning with some fresh air before hibernating from the heat that surely will follow.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Two Mourning Doves perch in a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday May 14, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Knock, Knock, Knocking on the Door in Siouxland, Sioux City

13 Jul

A downy woodpecker visits a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Many mornings when it’s pleasant enough to sit outside in the morning to enjoy that first “cup of Joe” in Siouxland I will hear a familiar reframe. Knock, knock, knock, knock in a staccato kind of fashion. And then see the visitor looking for a more reliable treat after checking the usual spots for insects. Nothing wrong with a little desert.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A downy woodpecker visits a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker visits a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A downy woodpecker visits a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, April 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographing the Best Side in Siouxland, Sioux City

29 Jun

A goldfinch grabs a snack at a bird feeder in the backyard of a residence Saturday, February 5, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With the recent heat wave and high temperatures I haven’t been sitting outside much to watch my backyard friends in Siouxland. Although I keep them fed and watered and really early on those mornings when the temps are hovering in the 60’s I sit outside listening to bird song before the temperature spike to the 90’s as the day wears on.

It’s just fun to watch these creatures, some of which I think are conscious of being watched as they appear to keep checking and posing, which I guess is my cue to only capture their best side, the famous quote mentions, “Ready for my close up, Mr DeMille.”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A goldfinch grabs a snack at a bird feeder in the backyard of a residence Saturday, February 5, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A goldfinch grabs a snack at a bird feeder in the backyard of a residence Saturday, February 5, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A goldfinch grabs a snack at a bird feeder in the backyard of a residence Saturday, February 5, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mr. Finch Goes A’Courting in Siouxland, Sioux City

25 Jun

A male House Finch joins a female House Finch in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday May 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nature seems to always be surprising me, even when I don’t know that it is. But I keep learning even if by mistake. Spring time is filled with love in the air, even in Siouxland. Finding these two finches becoming animated a birder friend explained to me the male house finch is courting the female house finch and in the process showing its ability to be a good provider. Seems love the kind of thing that crosses the line of all species. And as the saying goes, “Watch and Learn.”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A male House Finch courts a female House finch in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday May 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A male House Finch courts a female House Finch in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday May 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Public Grooming in Siouxland, Sioux City

11 Jun

A Cooper’s Hawk checks its surrounding while perched in a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In my neck of the woods in Siouxland there seems to be a single or pair of Cooper’s Hawks that live about the area. I see one, rarely both, flying above or landing nearby, sometimes closer than I personally would like.

The weather this particular day had been off and on with a rain shower, although mostly off in the immediate area. So I was surprised when the hawk showed up looking a little ruffled and damp. Possibly getting caught in a down pout nearby and then finding a place to do a little drying off. The towel guy wasn’t available this particular day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Cooper’s Hawk checks its surrounding while perched in a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Cooper’s Hawk does a little grooming perched in a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Getting to all those difficult spots a Cooper’s Hawk does a little grooming perched in a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Cooper’s Hawk checks its surroundings while it does a little grooming perched in a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
%d bloggers like this: