Though I’ve been back in the city for almost a week I haven’t come close to using up all of my upstate birding tales yet!  Like the last time I visited my folks I spent some time photographing hummingbirds, but this time I was at my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Paul’s house taking advantage of their multitude of feeders.  I also enjoyed my parents’ yard for more than than bugs on Mountain Ash trees: no fewer than three male Wood Thrushes sing within earshot of the house, American Robins have a nest about 6 meters up in an oak tree, Northern Cardinals battle for territorial rights just across the street, families of Chipping Sparrows flock in the yard, a fledgling Black-and-white Warbler is being fed by an attentive parent, and Red-eyed Vireos sing in the trees!

I can sit and watch Ruby-throated Hummingbirds for hours.  And that is pretty much what I did at my aunt and uncle’s house one morning.  They have four hummingbird feeders and even with so many options the birds sometimes squabble over feeding rights.

female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

The males always seem to win these battles, maybe because their ruby-red throats scare off the females?

male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Whatever the reason, the females don’t seem to take too kindly to being driven off, and they are not shy about sharing how they feel…

how a hummingbird feels about being bullied

Fortunately for this juvenile Tufted Titmouse at a window feeder, male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds don’t want sunflower seeds.

juvenile Tufted Titmouse

Back at my parents’ house, the Red-eyed Vireos were foraging low in the large Eastern Hemlock out front.  I’ve never before managed to get shots of Red-eyed Vireos that had them as more than blurry dots so I was pretty happy with these two pics.

Red-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo taking off

It was certainly nice to have so many species around without having to go further than the yard.  Common birds are fun, especially when one can get close!

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.