Category Archives: Songbirds

Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum Ball, 2

Feeding on Sweet Gum seeds is a lot of work!

Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum Ball
Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum Ball

A lot of probing goes on and you can see some debris falling at the bottom of this next image.

Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum Ball
Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum Ball

The Chickadee’s foot grasps the ball between the spikes.

Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum Ball
Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum Ball

Check out the reward!

Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum Ball
Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum Ball

Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum Ball

From my research the seed balls of the Sweet Gum (or Sweetgum, depending on where you read) tree should be empty of seeds by mid fall.

Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum
Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum Seed Pod

Clearly this tree didn’t follow the program and several Carolina Chickadees were feeding in its upper branches on this mid-January day.

Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum
Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum

The dried pod stems are still quite sturdy, although this little bird doesn’t weigh much at 0.3-0.4 ounces (8-12 g) per All About Birds.

Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum
Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum

If you’ve ever touched one of these balls you’ll likely remember; those spikes are quite sharp.

Carolina Chickadee on Sweet Gum
Carolina Chickadee on swinging Sweet Gum seed pod

Fellow blogger Mike Powell has captured similar scenes in Virginia where there is overlap in both the tree and the bird, including his post Acrobatic Chickadee

 

Female American Redstart

Redstarts are part of the fall warbler migration through South Carolina and this is the first year I’ve gotten more than a glimpse of one of these speedy songbirds.

Female American Redstart

This one landed right in front of me when I was standing on a short bridge over a pond outlet late one recent afternoon. She then dropped to the ground so that I was looking down on her at the water level.

Female American Redstart

She proceeded to splash around in the water which was in the dark shade of the bridge, flashing her colored tail feathers.

Female American Redstart

Juvenile Common Yellowthroat

I saw movement but it took my eyes a few minutes to spot this little songbird staring back at me.

Juvenile Common Yellowthroat
Juvenile Common Yellowthroat

The Merlin Bird ID app tells me this is a Common Yellowthroat, to my eye looking a whole lot like many other young or female warblers.

Juvenile Common Yellowthroat
Juvenile Common Yellowthroat

He was on the hunt, jumping from branch to branch, checking behind these waxy leaves for bugs or worms.

Juvenile Common Yellowthroat
Juvenile Common Yellowthroat

I got a quick full body peek while he contemplated his next move, which was to zoom into the heights of this tree.

Juvenile Common Yellowthroat
Juvenile Common Yellowthroat

White-eyed Vireo with Worm

White-eyed Vireos are a fast, elusive song bird.

White-eyed Vireo
White-eyed Vireo

This one was intent on food. He picked a worm off a leaf and flew down to an open branch to eat it.

White-eyed Vireo
White-eyed Vireo

But first he beat it a few times.

White-eyed Vireo
White-eyed Vireo

I’ve seen song birds gather a stack of worms or insects  in their beak and thought he might be rendering this one ready for a flight to a nest.

White-eyed Vireo
White-eyed Vireo

No, this one was for him.

White-eyed Vireo
White-eyed Vireo

One gulp and it was gone.

White-eyed Vireo
White-eyed Vireo