Little guys can pack a punch

I don’t know if it’s their size, their coloring, their song, or the way they whip around the yard, flitting from branch to branch, flower head to flower head, able to perform acrobatic feats and balancing acts on thin tendrils and plant stems, but the tinier bird population that visits the yard just makes me happy.

Small in stature, but big in personality, I love capturing their goings-on….that is, if I’m fast enough.

Of course the American Goldfinch is unmistakable. Those golden feathers of the male are striking, and here, lighting atop a trellis top in one of my planters just made me laugh. Maybe it was the way he was perched, scoping out, with a slight tilt and turn of his head, its next seed head.

Sure enough, phlox did the trick.

But just because the female isn’t as bright and flashy as the male (c’mon, they need to attract us!), doesn’t mean she isn’t as lovely. Just look at those markings!

Not to be mistaken for the female American goldfinch (above), is this young Yellow-rumped Warbler. This little lady put herself in the rafters of our covered porch for the evening. At first I thought it was a small owl, the way she had puffed herself up, but come morning, she morphed into herself again, flitted into a tree and I was able to capture her before she joined her companions.

a hedge hog? a juvenile owl? a land-bearing puffer fish? No, simply a song bird trying to stay warm.

Within the idea of “smaller” I had to include the Downy Woodpecker. Almost identical to the Hairy Woodpecker, the only real difference between the two is size. The Downy is the smallest of the woodpeckers. They are all over the yard, along with just about every other Minnesota-hardy woodpecker, and although they can be troublesome, looking for anything to drill that bill into, their markings are striking. The Downy is actually very social with other species of birds and very approachable, barely moving when I come to fill the feeders.

For my own enjoyment, I throw seed at the back of my driveway. I love watching all types of birds “land and grab” for the seeds they love. The White-breasted Nuthatch, known for its hopping headfirst down tree trunks, visits the back of the driveway. He stays close to the ground, similar to their manner on a tree trunk, while nabbing a treat.

note sunflower seed in beak

Probably one of the happiest birds in the yard is the chickadee. I see and hear them throughout the day; winter, spring, summer and fall. I probably take advantage of these little cuties because they are so prevalent. Moving even quicker than the finch, they are hard to photograph, as they “grab and go,” taking cover within the leaves and branches of nearby trees.

This was the only photo I was able to capture. Thankfully it was a beautiful pose!

Moving from tiny to… just having to include her, is a juvenile cardinal. Not small but young, this female, feathers maturing into adult colors, enjoyed a protein-packed peanut. Cardinals are incredibly social and stay within family groups. The parents mate for life and are very affectionate with one another. If lucky, you can catch a male gently feeding his mate.

Put seed out anywhere you can watch, they will come and give you much enjoyment!

#minnesotabirds #songbirds #birdsofminnesota #americangoldfinch #chickadee #white-breastednuthatch #downywoodpecker #yellow-rumpedwarbler

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