The following page is nearly a year old. You can find more recent and better images on my new pages at:

Below are some pictures I have taken of some birds that frequent the feeders in our back yard. Wanda (my wife) and I have three kinds of feeders. We keep nectar feeders that were originally intended for hummingbirds, but Gila Woodpeckers and the occasional Northern Flicker have adopted the larger one. We also have a general tube type feeder that can dispense a variety of seed. When filled, it has either black sunflower seeds in it or mixed wild bird feed. The last type of feeder we have is a simple thistle sock. This feeder is a long mesh sack that holds niger (pronounced ni-jer - with i sounding like "eye") seed (commonly called thistle seed). Niger seeds are shaped similar to rice, are about half the size of a rice grain and are black in color. Goldfinches and House Finches love this seed and hang on the sock and pick the grains through the mesh. This feeder makes a lot less mess than the regular tube feeder.

We only keep a regular supply of food in the nectar feeders and the thistle sock. While the regular tube feeder attracts a wide variety of birds, it simply creates more of a mess than we want to maintain. Also, it attracts some of the larger birds that bring their own mess. We put seed in the tube feeder occasionally on the weekends, but not regularly enough that birds will begin to depend on it.

I guess we also have a fourth feeder. We toss a handfull of wild bird seed on the gravel in our back yard every day or so. Groups of quail will hop through the view fence in their daily rituals to grab a snack. The quails leave little mess, but they will kick your gravel all over the place as they scratch for the seed.

We are not really avid birdwatchers, but we have tried to identify many of the birds that have visited us. In addition to the birds shown here in pictures, we have seen, house finches, sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, quail, curved bill thrashers, abert's towhees, doves, northern flickers (you might confuse it for a gila woodpecker), costas humingbirds, dark eyed juncos, and a phainopepla that didn't go for the feeder, but went for the mistletoe in the mesquite tree that hangs in our backyard from the golfcourse.

New picture of a soaring Turkey Vulture added 04-22-02

Three new pictures of a Gila Woodpecker and a Male Cardinal added at the bottom. 04-07-02

(Click on the small pictures to see a full-sized image.)

(Click on the pictures to see a full sized image.)

Row 1a: A male Anna's hummingbird at his feeder.
Row 1b: That same male Anna's chasing off another male Anna's intruder. Like I said, it is his feeder.

Row 2a: Male Anna's in flight.
Row 2b: Female cardinal

Row 3a: Cactus wren (Arizona State Bird).
Row 3b: Male cardinal.

Row 4a: Another male cardinal.
Row 4b: Male Gila woodpecker. They insist on taking the top glass "blossom" off of this hummingbird feeder so they can get their heads down there and "steal" the nectar. We've given up and now let them have their way.

Row 5a: Goldfinches hanging on a "thistle" sock. Goldfinches love niger seed (commonly called thistle seed, but it is not really the seed from thistle plants).
Row 5b: Male Gila Woodpecker. Apparently no longer content with the large feeder this one is now after the other hummingbird feeders.

Row 6a: Male Cardinal in tree behind barbecue.
Row 6b: Male Cardinal stealing the food left out for the quail.

Row 7a: Turkey Vulture soaring over our backyard. This guy spooked Wanda for a moment thinking it might have been a hawk or similar bird at first. Such a bird would present a serious potential threat to our two small dogs that were out at the time. The heaviest of the two weighs less than 8 pounds. Since the typical body length of this bird is over 20 inches, it seems reasonable to estimat that this bird had a near 6 foot wingspan.

For anyone interested, we can recommend The Wild Bird Center at Scottsdale Road and Shea. They are very nice people and a wide variety of feeders, feed books and other stuff. They have the largest selection of hummingbird feeders we have seen. Somewhat closer is the Petsmart at the 101 and Shea. They have a good variety of feeders and feed. Locally, Ace Hardware has a few feeders and some feed and you can find a few things at the local grocery stores. We aren't affiliated with any of these stores, its just what we have found while looking around.

Copyright © 2002 by Jay Turberville