Catching Our Bugs (and Capturing Our Hearts)

flycatcher blog

No bird has captured my heart quite like the Great Crested Flycatchers who first nested last year in the ramshackle birdhouse perched on a corner fencepost in a fairly busy spot in our yard. We cannot help but pass it frequently as it sits near our workshop/tool shed. The good thing about that is that the flycatchers have gotten so used to our comings and goings that we can come quite near, even when they’re home, before they fly away. The little house is quite the fixer-upper with cracks and missing shingles, but it doesn’t seem to bother them. Maybe they came for the view.

 flycatcher's view blog

I spent considerable time watching them last year from a bench near their house, but haven’t had as much time lately for watchful and attentive pursuits. But I did spend about 45 minutes a few weeks ago watching them build their nest. I was hoping to see them bring in the snakeskin that flycatchers usually put near the entrance of their dwelling, possibly to scare off predators. I never got to see that, but I was impressed by the huge beakfulls of nesting materials that Mama Flycatcher managed.

 flycatcher builds her nest blog

Can you see why I find them so endearing? And I also love them for the way they cock their heads in a somewhat curious and quizzical manner:

quizzical flycatcher blog

The way they peek out of their house, like a cuckoo in a clock:

great crested flycatcher blog

Their grace and beauty in flight—-like bird ballet:

bird ballet blog

Their neat housekeeping habits:  here carrying away the bird equivalent of disposable diapers, fecal sacs:

flycatcher flies blog

The way the flycatcher’s crest sometimes looks like a rather silly wig:

flycatcher 'fro blog

And just because they sometimes make me laugh out loud for sheer joy and delight.   That, alone, is sufficient. 🙂



22 Responses to “Catching Our Bugs (and Capturing Our Hearts)”

  1. Judy Says:

    Great photos, Beth! That last one is hilarious. I bet they are so interesting to watch and I also think that anything coming by your place that could find a place to live would stay there for that wonderful view of yours. This was also informative because I knew nothing of their living habits. Especially the part about the snakeskin.

  2. Di Says:

    I had never heard of these birds prior to seeing on your blog. They are adorable. We have a snake skin that was shed in our front yard two weeks ago and I thought that perhaps a bird would carry it away, but it has remained. One of our dogs was bitten by a snake a year ago and she steers clear of the skin. Perhaps a sign that she has learned to leave snakes alone.

    The Blue Ridge Gal

  3. eemilla Says:

    I love the in flight photo.

  4. june Says:

    Oh what fun! Great shots of the little one too!

  5. Betsy Says:

    Cute Cute Cute, Beth…. I love your photos of the flycatcher… You got some GREAT shots. Made me laugh!!!!!! I also enjoy the way they ‘cock’ their heads. Cute!!!!

    Thanks so much.

  6. Jayne Says:

    Oh, I love the Great-crested Flycatchers! My sister got lucky and had a pair nest in a gourd at her house this year. What great photos Beth! :c)

  7. colleen Says:

    What a great photo shoot and an industrious bird with a funny head of fur. We have phoebes on their second round of babies in our porch rafter and what we deal with is bird poop all over our porch! I wish they’d get a house of their own.

  8. clairz Says:

    Wonderful photos, Beth. You are a very skilled photographer. My bird photos always show the spot where the bird used to be when I started trying to get the camera focused!

  9. Sharon Says:

    Doggone it, every time I think I’ve seen the best bird photos yet, along comes a new set like this one. Plus the bonus of seeing Paradise again. So good, so good.

  10. Ariel Says:

    I also laughed out loud with delight and joy at this post! I love these photos, and I love the flycatchers. With that beakful of fuzz, it looks like she plucked the neighbor’s cow. I like the grace of the mama taking off from the house in the flight shot, with that lovely wing blur of fanning feathers.

  11. wesleyjeanne Says:

    Indeed. What joy!

    Great post and great photos!

  12. Shannon Says:

    O.k., now I have to research bird fecal sacs. Thanks Beth!

  13. Clara Melvin Says:

    How interesting! I knew nothing of their living habits. The pictures are beautiful as usual! I don’t blame you for sitting where you can watch these delightful creatures.

  14. Martha Says:

    Hi Beth, I love your photos! And I love these birds too. In fact, I love (almost) all birds. The best part of my day is sitting in front of my kitchen window and watching the flurry of activity in my backyard near the bird feeders, especially when moms are feeding their babies. Nothing fills your heart with joy like the simple things in life! Thanks for sharing your own joy! What a breathtaking view you have around your home. It is out of this world!

  15. Lora Says:

    What a gifted eye you have, and I so appreciate you sharing that gift!

  16. Jeff Says:

    We have Great Crested Flycatchers in South Florida also, but only during the winter months. They migrate through here – perhaps they go to South America? I only see them in the tops of the trees since I have no bird boxes (wouldn’t do any good for these guys, anyway!). It is so wonderful to learn more about the birds that pass through my place on their way north! Right now, I’m watching a pair of young Cooper’s Hawks swoop about the yard with their mother squawking at them from a distance. It’s so hot here, though, that I retreat indoors most of the time – it’s just too hot to bird-watch (or do much of anything else!).

  17. Sue Says:

    Loved these ! They are remarkable. I just stumbled upon your site and am glad I did.

  18. dotsamson Says:

    These are just unbelievable pictures! Came across your blog and have enjoyed reading this evening…pictures…fantastic!

  19. Rochelle Says:

    WOW, I’ve never seen such pictures of birds. I love the one of the head peeking out of the house cocked just so. Beautiful I will be back. Please come visit my animal/nature blog too!

  20. Jenna Ancion Says:

    I love your pictures! Thanks for sharing these with us.
    These birds are beautiful!
    For two years I have been wondering what these birds were in my yard here in Florida. I hear them alot but never really get a good look at them because our yard is very wooded and they dart in and out of the trees so quickly. But today, I finally figured out that they are Great Crested Kingbirds. The other day I saw about 4 or 5 of them up in a small dead pinetree, and I got my camera and recorded them on video singing their songs. It was from their call that I was able to identify them. I wish I could see more of them.
    I wonder if I got a birdhouse if they would nest in it next year.

    • Jenna Ancion Says:

      “Great Crested Flycatchers” sorry, not Great Crested Kingbirds–I’ve been looking at too many bird photos lately. lol 🙂

      • Beth Says:

        Hi there, Jenna,

        No problem…I knew what you meant! 🙂 You are so blessed to have these birds in your yard. They are truly the most wonderful birds! Unlike bluebirds, they get used to you and don’t mind you getting really close. Sadly, our little birdhouse finally disintegrated. We built a new house, trying to make it just like the old one, but the flycatchers didn’t like it! So we’ve never seen them again, and I miss them terribly. We did have bluebirds nest in the house, and of course, they’re lovely, but I’m not quite as fond of them. They always seem a little aloof and unsociable. 🙂 I felt such a connection to the Great Crested Flycatchers.

        I hope you have good fortune attracting them back next year. Maybe a house would help. If you get the chance, maybe you could comment again and let me know if they nested in your house. I’d love to know. Good luck!

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