In my garden, red-n-black doesn’t lack–in bird colors. It’s that time of year, when the colorful migratory birds wing through Texas and (lucky me!) some visit my garden.
In early April, I always see one or more Summer Tanagers, Piranga rubra, who show up to snack on honeybees and native bees. These scarlet hunters are adept at catching the bees on the wing as both birds and bees flit through the garden.
If you look closely at this striking adult male, you’ll see something in his beak–it’s a honeybee.
In this shot, you can see the wings of the bee meal, the red menace in the process of whacking the hapless bee against the branch, effectively killing the bee and making it easier for the tanager to remove the stinger. That’s probably a good idea, considering that the bird is going to have the bee in its beak and down its gullet.
The snack is ready for the eating! I was able to capture these shots because my poor Red oak trees are late in leafing out after the snow/ice storm in February and is lacking in leafy lushness.
In a more colorful photo, the gorgeous guy perches in the freeze damaged, but partially foliaged, Mountain Laurel.
No meal is complete without a complementary aperitif, and what better drink to go with honeybee meal than pond water?
Or, perhaps it was just time to take a bath!
The brief April visits from this species is typically in the form of adult females and juvenile males, who are just as beautiful as this year’s male: golden feathers for the female and splotchy red and yellow for the youngster. Mr. Male was only here for a matter of minutes; I hope more of these tanager treats show up in my garden.
Another annual spring migratory visitor are Red-winged Blackbirds, Agelaius phoeniceus. I have a tough time catching these stunning birds as they’re quick with their seed and peanut eating, plus they fly off at the slightest movement. I was lucky to snap a photo of this handsome chap as he enjoyed a sip at the bar.
The male Red-winged Blackbird is a velvety, deep black, with underwing highlights of deep red and rich yellow. Their underwing colors are more visible when the bird is in flight, but significantly more challenging to photograph. But I’m content with this capture of his profile of midnight black, with bits of cheery color, and bright eye to complete the bird package.
Bird stories, garden stories–get your fill by popping over to Anna at Wednesday Vignette. Happy reading!