Tag Archives: birdfeeder

Mr. Bad Raccoon Watercolor


This is Mr. Bad Raccoon. Mr. Bad Raccoon liked to visit my bird feeder at Christ in the Wilderness promptly at 8pm every night. He was very hungry.

He was also very smart. His large body conquered the raccoon baffle on the feeder itself by standing on his hind feet, hugging the baffle, and inching his way to the top where he would lift the lid right off. Once on top, he would either cup his hands grabbing seed and bring it up to his face or he would place his whole head inside the feeder.

His determination created a soft spot in my heart and I stopped shewing him away. I reasoned with myself that if he went through all of that hard work, he must be rewarded. So I just watched in amazement. His is kinda cute.



Mr. Rose-Breasted Grosbeak at my House!

What a handsome man! Look who just came to my house!

Isn’t he something! This is a male rose-breasted grosbeak. He is a summer resident in Chicago and I am very happy to be his hostess! This is my fist sighting of the year and last year I didn’t even see him.

Oh how I love him!

Chicakadee at My Feeder Sketch

Hot dog, he’s back! Why am I so excited? Aren’t chickadees common in the Chicago area? Yes. But my chickadee has been missing for nearly three years!

Chickadees use to visit my feeder on a regular basis. Then all of a sudden…poof…gone. I had no idea why. Perhaps my regular visitor died and it took a long time for another to find its way? Chickadees sometimes follow downy woodpeckers and sure enough, along came two chickadees with a male and a female downy woodpecker to pleasantly surprise me.

So happy I was to see these little balls of energy bounce back and forth from the feeder to the pine tree. Very vocal they were too!

I appreciated the visit so much that I decided to enter them in my sketchbook.

This quick sketch only took about 10 minutes, but for a lifetime I will remember my friends came back.

Junco Dies and It’s My Fault

Cooper’s Hawk (1) Junco (0)

RIP Mr. Junco, I’m sorry.

This picture was taken just seconds before his death.
Now, I’m all for the Cooper’s Hawk killing it’s prey for food, don’t get me wrong, but not when it’s my fault.

Here’s what happened:
This lovely little Junco sat at my feeder to eat, but then I noticed something very, very strange. He didn’t move for a straight 10 minutes. Not one feather. Matter of fact, there is half of a seed sticking out of his bill at this point and he doesn’t flinch. I have never in my life witnessed a bird do this.

I said to my hubby, “Look at that strange Junco, He hasn’t moved for over 10 minutes….stuck stiff as a statue.”
He replied, “Maybe he’s dead.”
“No, he’s blinking his eyes.” I said.

So I took some pictures.

Then I thought…maybe there is a hawk in the area and he knows it?

Being selfish, I decided to get a bit closer to the window for a better picture. Then it happened…the Junco glanced at me, freaked out, flew under and up the pine tree and all of a sudden, the imaginary hawk I wondered if existed went in hot pursuit for the Junco and also flew under and up the pine tree. Exiting with the Junco in his talons.

The Junco had a plan. The plan was not to move and it was working. It was working for a long time. Perhaps the hawk would have given up after not witnessing movement for 15-20 minutes and flown off?

Yes, this is what the hawk does. But I’m sorry I helped him out. I’m sorry because this little Junco was using his intelligence and it was working. It worked until I got too selfish.

Nuthatch at my Feeder

Oh BOY! Look who came for a visit at my feeder today!!!

It’s the white-breasted nuthatch! My friend now, I guess.

So why the heck am I so excited about a year round bird in my state of Illinois? Because he never visits me! Today he did. No lie, I never see this guy at my feeder. Sure, I see him all the time at The Little Red Schoolhouse or in the forest preserves, but never at my house.

I have two feeders in the front yard. One is an upside down suet feeder that only the woodpeckers and nuthatches can feed on (oh, and the occasional bad squirrel that hangs from the hook and turns it over), and a regular seed feeder. Today my nuthatch friend had supper from both feeders. He hung upside down to feast on suet and then he grabbed a seed (probably sunflower) and flew away to a near by tree to hatch it!

Oh yeah! He likes me now!

Let’s Learn about the White-Breasted Nuthatch:

Small bird 5-6″
Hops down a tree stump headfirst
Hind claw is 2x the size of front claws (maybe helps him go headfirst)
Wedges seed in crevice of tree to hatch it open
Year round in Illinois

Today’s painting is from my sketchbook. D=date, T=time, C=conditions, and A=area of subject. It was completed with Winsor & Newton travel watercolors and Micron pens…and a little nature love. 🙂