Backyard Birds of Modesto

Carolyn's backyard birding journal
The journal below will give an idea of birds that visit the backyard throughout

There has been a big increase in number of birds, especially lots of young house sparrows. The number of house sparrows and hummingbirds have trippled; house finch, goldfinch and dove have double. The young house sparrows and goldfinch have been very active bathing on the stone fountain.
The white-crowned sparrows stayed a few days longer this year, the last one left on May 3rd. The big event this month has been 3 Grosbeaks who
have visited this backyard daily. Actually they only leave for an hour at a time and then they are back at the sunflower feeders, the water trays,
and especially at the suet feeder. So far no baby scrub jays seen. A lot of starlings seen in the surrounding trees. The yellow warbler spotted
for the first time this season on May 14th. The yellow warbler is seen this month flying around from bush to bush, and onto the stone fountain too.
Birds: Mockingbird, dove, house sparrows, lots of house finch, goldfinch,2 cow birds, 3 grosbeaks, a few hummingbirds, 2 scrub jays. April:
Western Scrub Jays built nest in tree above fountain and are very agressive this month. Most of the White-crowned Sparrow left on Easter day. Male and Female Grosbeaks have visited the backyard; Hummingbirds are returning, and lots of activity by the Hummingbirds at feeders. 27th: 6:45am- 11 White-crowned Sparrows still around, eating seed on ground. These last White-crowned should be leaving any day now. 25th: 10am- Mockingbird singing on antanae and flipping. 6pm- 5 Dove near brush eating seed on ground. 24th: 6:30am- 2 White-crowned Sparrows, 7 House Finch, Orange crowned Warbler (still around), 2 Goldfinch on feeder. 7:40am-One White-crowned Sparrow on table with little feather sticking up. 3 pm- Audubon Warbler at Single Arm Nectar Feeder.

*************************************************** August:
Summary: Lots of Young Dove. Mockingbird activity (flying around & singing) this August. Also increase in hummingbird activity this month- drinking nectar, perching, bathing/drinking, chasing red-colored house finch!
19th: 6:30pm- New bird: Green-colored parakeet. This parakeet is a bit aggressive, it moves around freely. The other birds, house finch house sparrow and dove, move out of the parakeet's way. 16th: 6am-Hummingbird active 6:30am- Many young house sparrows feeding drinking on stone fountain. 8:20am- Hummingbirds love the mini single-arm nectar feeder hanging from bottle brush plant. 10:30am- 10 goldfinch on large thistle bag. Note: At first the goldfinch would not feed from the LARGE bag ( the openings on the mesh were to tuff or too small). Then I made a about 8 cuts in the bag (each the size of two openings), and it worked - the goldfinch now go right to that bag for thistle. 9th: 6am-2 hummingbirds on fountain, and plantings 7am- Lots of house finch and dove. Starling on italian cyprus. 2 Mockingbirds flying to 3 different perces, singing. 9am- 9 goldfinch on thistle bag. 6:30pm- 13 dove feeding on ground. 12th: 7am- Lots of house sparrow 15-20 feeding at one time -many new young sparrows!
Summary: July has been very hot. Because of the heat, the birds gather in the largest numbers in early morning and then in the evenning. During the middle of the hot days there are fewer birds at a time and short feedings. New bird this month is a beautiful yellow-colored parakeet, very shy and stayed just one day. A pair of Mockingbirds have been singing pre-dawn and throughout morning. One of the Mockingbirds was carring a twig. June:
Summary: June has been a big month for baby birds. There have been lots of baby house finch, with parents feeding their young at the feeders.
Also a lot of young dove and young goldfinch at feeders. The baby scrub jays have grown and the parents eventually now stopped feeding them. These young jays were full of energy this month. They have been fun to watch chasing each other and parents(trying to be fed), bathing, and exploring.
Unusual event: June 18th A white-crowned sparrow spotted here on tree...too bad was scared off by young scrub jay.
This spotting of the white-crowned sparrow was an unusual event for a summer month here (all the white-crowned sparrows left this backyard by april 23.)
The young scrub jays are around this backyard less and less throughout june. I separated the food that they prefer to an area away from other birds, this has made this backyard peaceful ( the scrub jays mostly leave the other birds to feed in other areas). Lots of goldfinch this month, mostly lesser goldfinch and a few american goldfinch -- the more thistle bags I put up the more goldfinch in this backyard. A few visits by cowbirds. Lots of visits by mockingbird and hummingbirds. Note: The mockingbird has such a large repetoire of songs, one of them being a mimic of the scrub jay. Crows, yellow-billed magpies, starlings in surrounding areas. Visits each day in June: Dove, house sparrows, house finch, goldfinch(lesser), hummingbirds, mockingbird. May:
Summary: The big May event in this backyard - 4 baby scrub jays! The nest is in tree above the stone fountain. Lesser gold finch arriving, lots of house finch with beautiful colorings & songs, quite a few dove, visits by black-headed grosbeaks (May6-18th), yellow warbler, orange-crowned warbler, some house sparrows. A few baby finch this month (gold and house being fed by parents), a few cowbirds, mockingbird, black phoebe, hummingbirds. Crows, yellow-billed magpies, starlings in surrounding areas. Visits each day in May: Dove, house sparrows, house finch, goldfinch(lesser), hummingbirds, mockingbird ( singing at times in the day and the night). Some behaviors this month: Dusting, posturing, singing, beak to beak circling dances, chasing.
29th: 11am-Scrub jay feeds baby. 7:15am-Youngest baby scrub jay comes out from nesting tree. Parent arrives and baby hops back into nesting tree to be fed. Note: Babies hop into nesting tree for safety at any sign of discomfort. 27th: 2:45pm- 12 gold finch on hanging feeder, mosty on the thistle bags. AM-Male house finch singing loud & beautifully to female. Moving in a circle with her, beak to beak & singing to her. This circling dance behavior similar to the house sparrow. 25th: Note: Baby scrub jays were away from nest again today during morning and early afternoon...they sent most of their time in another nearby tree. 6:05am-2 male house sparrow posturing. AM- Mockingbird singing largest repertoire of melodies! 24th: 6:45pm- Hummingbird drinking nectar from jasmine vine...10 minutes! 5:10 pm-3 baby scrub jays on stone fountain drinking and bathing. Parent feeds 2 babies. Note: Baby scrub jays were away from nest for a while today. They still fly in and out of nest tree. 11:20am: Baby scrub jay eating seed for first time...trying anyway, also 1st day they are seen eating without mother feeding. They hop up to bush for insect. 7:20am- House finch feeds baby. 23rd: 9:15am- Mockingbird singing the most diverse performance of songs, beautiful! 7:25am- The first baby scrub jay comes out from nest tree, drinks from stone fountain. 7:10am- Yellow warbler fluttering around jasmine vines. AM- Lots of house finch, hummingbird drinks nectar from oriole feeder. 21st: 4:15pm- 4 baby scrub jays bathe for first time on stone fountain. They spend 1 hour in the water...a fun bird watching experience! 9:45am (on schedule)-Baby scrub jays begin to come out from protection of trees- onto branched of tree. 6:15am- Yellow warbler on tree above fountain, hummingbird bathes on stone fountain. 5 house finch on small wooden feeder. Male fluttering wings at female. 20th: 9:45am- Baby scrub jay baths on stone fountain. Parent feeds baby scrub jay seeds behind fountain on ground. 6:45-Black Phoebe perched on spicket, flys around pool and returns to spicket. Black phoebe chased house sparrow. Hummingbird bathes on stone fountain. 6:15am-Hummingbird drinks from stone fountain 19th: 6pm- House finch feeding baby sunflower seed from hanging platform feeder. 6:30am: 1st dove down at feeder. 6:20am- Hummingbird and yellow warbler in perching tree. 5:30am- House finch above stone fountain singing, dove cooing. 18th: 9:30am- Baby scrub jay on stone fountain drinking water. 17th: 1:45pm- 13 gold finch , 1 baby gold finch on feeders. 16th: 7:15am- Hummingbird bathes on stone fountain. 12th: Note: The efforts taken on May 6th(see below) helps to calm down the agressiveness of the scrub jays...and the finch are back. 5pm- 1 mature beautiful male grosbeak, and female grosbeak bathe on top tier of fountain. Five gold finch bathe on tiers of small fountain, 12 gold finch on feeders. 8:45am- Female grosbeak on hanging platform feeder eating sunflower seeds. 6:45am- 1st day see baby scrub jays, hopping around inside bushy tree above stone fountain, being feed by parents. 6th: 7am- Scrub jay aggressive -- so separated ground feeders far away from where the gold finch and house finch feed(the finch use the feeders hanging from the arbor); put up a mesh guard covering the top fourth of one side of arbor so the jay could not fly through and hit the feeders that hang from the arbor; took away nuts & bread...except some sunflower seed which is part of a general mix. 6:45am- 2 cowbirds 2nd: 12pm- Put up thistle bag and about 20 min later 5 gold finch arrive to try it out. 1st: Scrub jay very active and agressive. Doves not too affected by the scrub jay's behavior. But the numbers of gold finch are down today, only see about 7 gold finch today at a time at feeders. The scrub jay flys through and the finch fly away. April:
24th: Note: No white-crowned sparrow spotted today. All have left on their journey. 5:20pm- 23 gold finch 23: 7am- 2 white-crowned eating finch mix on table 22: am- lots of house finch 20th:11am-3 white-crowned 7am- lots of dove down in group eating mixed seed from ground feeder. 19th: 9am- Mocking bird singing sand earlier too. Gold finch 12. 10:20am- 35 gold finch, most eating sunflower seeds inside handing platform feeder. 9:30am- 22 gold finch, 5 white-crowned 8am- 4 white-crowned and 2 golden crowned. 6:20am- Female and male hummingbird bathe on stone fountain, dipping their bellies and tail into center water spout. 18th: 6:30pm- 20 house finch on hanging feeder, ground and hanging platform feeder, eating sunflower seeds. 4 white-crowned sparrows today still around. 9am- 2 grosbeak- one on platform and the other on hanging platform eating sunflower seeds. 17th: 10am- 14 goldfinch. The golden-crowned sparrow bathes in water tray. 7am- count 8 white-crowned sparrows still around. 15th: Half of the White-crowned sparrows left today, saw only 15 down at one time today.Three golden-crowned counted at one time today 4:45pm- 11 gold finch counted. 13th: 7:30pm- 10 housefinch perched. 4:20pm- Black-headed grosbeak on fig tree with 2 dove looking down at ground feeder. Noise of Scrub jay scares it away. 10th: 19am- White-crowned sparrow on the little green house eating sunflower and on hanging feeder tray eating thistle. This is unusual in this back yard. Normally the white-crowned like eating on the gound and flat platform feeders. 9:30am- Hummingbird drinking nectar from the oriole feeder. The hummingbirds seem to prefer it over the regular hummingbird feeder. 9th: 10am- 7 goldfinch 9am- 4 pine siskin 7am- 2 golden-crowned on gound eating seed. 8th: Fox sparrow still around. White-crowned singing on table between eating feed. 4 goldfinch 5th: 8:40am- One golden-crowned sparrow at gound feed in in back. Still lots of white-crowned sparrows. Two hummingbirds zoom by. 4th: 9:30am-american goldfinch like the sunflower seed in ahnging feeder. White cowed sparrow eats some orange, pecks inside and orange half. 3rd: 7AM-Golden-crowned sparrow eats mixed seed on ground feeded. 2nd: AM- Notice more goldfinch, pine siskin, and house finch this morning at feeders. 1st: AM-Audubon's warbler around fountain Note: Scrub Jays getting very aggressive toward other birds.

Interesting month with birds arriving at feeders in twos.
Notice male house finch feeding, pecking out sunflower seed & giving it to it's female--same behavior with the scrub-jay. Also male house finch stands watch as it's female eats at feeder. Largest March bird counts at one time down:40 white-crowned sparrows; 5 house sparrows; 20 dove; hummingbird, 5 housefinch, 6 lesser goldfinch, 8 American golfinch, 2 audubon warblers
Note: Numbers of all finch species down this month. Some of us took down our feeders temporarily because of the salmonella and pine siskin advisory. Then after further clarification (by fish and game agencies) learned our specific area was not part of the advisory. But it is good reminder to keep feeders and water sources scrubbed and disinfected with a bleach solution. White-crowned sparrows very active lots of chasing and beak to beak flight.
Quite a few spottings this month of the shy fox sparrow; a few spotings of yellow warbler, kinglet, hummingbirds, black phoebe, western bluebirds, 2 mockingbirds, 2 audubon's yellow-rumped warblers, yellow warbler, golden-crowned sparrow, dark-eyed juncos. Many crows; some starlings, & yellow-billed magpies in surrounding trees.

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