Tag Archives: backyard birds

Bird Antics in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

2 Apr
A red bellied woodpecker checks out the area before approaching a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When out and about in Siouxland and enjoying nature, I can only smile sometimes when I see various antics the feathered friends sometimes provide. A real life “floor show” with meaning. This winter on a warmish day I watched a red bellied woodpecker enjoying himself at a suet feeder, all the while keeping an eye on an interloper who sat nearby, watching. A Cyclops that unblinkingly never wavered from watching the bird enjoy an afternoon snack. These are those days from which I can amass a few hundred photographs trying to find one or two interesting moments or movements. But then, sometimes those moments don’t really materialize but are just images frozen in time of a warm winter’s afternoon.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A red bellied woodpecker eyes a visitor as it readies to snack at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A red bellied woodpecker feeds at a suet feeder at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A red bellied woodpecker feeds at a suet feeder at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A red bellied woodpecker feeds at a suet feeder at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Welcome Center Friday, January 28, 2022 in the backyard of a residence in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Yikes! Nature Upclose in Siouxland, Sioux City

9 Mar
A Cooper’s hawk sits on a crossbar of a clothes line in a backyard on an exceptionally cold day with windchill creating a temperature of -8 degrees in Sioux City, Iowa, Tuesday, February 23, 2022. All the normal song birds had left and stayed away until the hawk departed. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I must admit I enjoy photographing nature when out and about in Siouxland. I have learned a lot of birds and trying to capture an image with some success and a lot of misses. But I continue to improve my ability to record what I see. I have visited a number of nature refuges around Siouxland looking for critters, winged and four-legged.

But sometimes one only needs to outside one’s front door, or in this case, back door. And nature appears a little too close. Recently I was trying to figure out why my cat was intently staring out into the backyard. I looked and a couple of squirrels seemingly agitated and then noticed there were no song birds about at any of the feeders I have.

Upon closer inspection I spied the raptor, a Cooper’s hawk perched on the cross are of a clothesline just taking in its surroundings. I have notice a hawk flying about this past year and can hear its call or cry at times. The noisy squirrels were in a bush with many branches so not ideal for the hawk to retrieve either of them and they wanted to get to the seed on the ground that smaller birds had spilled earlier. After stepping outside to photograph the large bird it flew off. Maybe 15 minutes later song birds were again eating on the ground and at the feeders. Sometimes certain guests are just not welcomed, especially the predatory kind that will pick off the smaller birds to feed on as well as other small animals.

Nature unclose and personal is sometimes too close.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Weather is not Delightful in Siouxland, Sioux City

27 Feb
A Starling bird flies off with some dried fruit from a feeder in a backyard on an exceptionally cold blustery day when windchill creates a temperature of -15 degrees in Sioux City, Iowa, Tuesday, February 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Winter has blasted Siouxland with some pretty harsh weather as of late, with air temperatures in the single digits and wind chill driving the temps down below freezing, in most cases -10 or more below zero with it getting even colder overnight.

I always try to keep a few bird feeders filled with eats for those creatures that visit during the colder months and when it’s extremely cold outside I see starlings showing up looking for some warmth and eats.

Starling birds huddle together to stay warm on an exceptionally cold blustery day when windchill creates a temperature of -15 degrees in Sioux City, Iowa, Tuesday, February 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Starling birds huddle together to stay warm on an exceptionally cold blustery day when windchill creates a temperature of -15 degrees in Sioux City, Iowa, Tuesday, February 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

These guys hang out in groups and except for the few single brave ones that dashed and dined at the feeders, most came in small groups, staying just long enough and then darting off to someplace they felt a bit more safe. Watching the these birds and other species is interesting and always makes me smile is how all creatures share some common traits even if we don’t really believe it. And hopefully overnight when the temps and wind an be more brutal, they find a safe haven to hunker down and wait for a better day that will come soon according to the weather prognosticators.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Starling bird eats a kernel of corn near a feeder in a backyard on an exceptionally cold blustery day when windchill creates a temperature of -15 degrees in Sioux City, Iowa, Tuesday, February 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Starling bird lands near some others looking for food within a small woodpile in a backyard on an exceptionally cold blustery day when windchill creates a temperature of -15 degrees in Sioux City, Iowa, Tuesday, February 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Starling bird drops in to join others huddled together to stay warm on an exceptionally cold blustery day when windchill creates a temperature of -15 degrees in Sioux City, Iowa, Tuesday, February 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Moment in Siouxland, Sioux City

19 Dec
A female cardinal sits on a feeder in the sunshine in the backyard at a residence Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes when starting the day, it’s nice to take a moment and just enjoy it. This cardinal sat on the feeder in this position for a few minutes. Guessing it was just enjoying the warmth of the sunshine on a coolish winter’s day after enjoying a snack. It’s not always the big things that gives one joy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A female cardinal sits on a feeder in the sunshine in the backyard at a residence Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Backyard Birds in Siouxland, Sioux City

3 Dec
A white-breasted nuthatch flicks its tongue as it eats a snack at a feeder in the backyard of a residence Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa.

With the changing seasons, now fall into winter, I am not certain which little guys will stick around for the winter visiting feeders in the neighborhood. As I traveled about Siouxland this year I sometimes found myself enjoying watching winged creatures closer to home than at some nature preserves. It was also nice to just be able to sit on a deck and drink coffee and watch the antics provided by these small neighbors. And slowly, very slowly, I am learning a bit about the different species. In particular, I have learned there are more than a dozen local sparrow species and sometimes telling them apart is not easy. So I am finding my learning curve a bit long in the tooth.

A downy woodpecker eats a grub it found in a dead branch on a tree in the backyard of a residence Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa.

Summer and fall is winding down for some backyard visitors, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer and fall is winding down for some backyard visitors, in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have learned it takes a bit of patience to sit quietly watching these skittish creatures come eat and fly off, some species like the white-breasted nuthatch and black capped chickadee barely landing before flying away with a meal to eat elsewhere and then returning some more and repeating this pattern continuously. Other birds, like the sparrows will sit and munch a while before leaving.

A sparrow grabs a snack as summer and fall winds down for some backyard visitors, in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer and fall is winding down for some backyard visitors, like this sparrow in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer and fall is winding down for some backyard visitors, like this house finch in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I would guess I have taken in excess a few thousand images of birds in my neighborhood, trying to improve on the photographs of the ones previously taken. Tweaking the technique and then hoping for that extra second or two before the little creature bolts to “safety”, although learning when they may come back for more and figuring out time of day for feeding habit. Surprisingly I found that mid-afternoon seems to be a feeding time as opposed to early morning and early evening, both of which I have found the birds feeding. But education in any form is always good and am already looking forward to next year when the weather warms up a tad and the birds are once again active.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A backyard visiting sparrow makes his presence known, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Possibly a female cardinal snacks a snack in a backyard, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A house finch chews on a seed in a backyard, in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Common house sparrows snack at a feeder at a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Serenading the Neighbors in Siouxland, Sioux City

8 Jun
A cardinal wonders why his audience is not listening to his song in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

backyard birds in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently a cardinal saw the chance to entertain residents in a backyard and pranced about and prepared for his performance. Checking around to see if those nearby were paying attention or not.

backyard birds in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

backyard birds in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Not all residents were obliging though as it apparently interfered with other, more pressing matters.

A napping cat ignores the singing of backyard birds in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But performers know the show must go on, with or without a willing audience.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

backyard birds in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the concert begins as a cardinal sings in a backyard in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, May 24, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

%d bloggers like this: