My youngest son and I have been keeping track of all our backyard avian visitors as part of Cornell University's Project Feeder Watch. http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/ We keep a tally for two days each week of the birds that come into our yard, then report our data on-line.
I've been amazed at the variety of birds we have and have been endlessly entertained by all the action happening right outside my kitchen window. I've also been trying my hand at nature photography, hoping to capture each of the species that stop by for a nibble or drink or bath. Pictured above is a white crowned sparrow. This little guy is a song sparrow who seems to build up quite a thirst with all his enthusiastic singing. He (or some of his friends) stops by to get a drink several times each day.
Talk about your giddy singers. This is a California Thrasher who has a song repertoire that rivals a Mockingbird's. He spent a weekend hopping from tree to tree just singing his heart out. Don't know if his performance was enough to win him the female Thrasher of his dreams. Or a spot on Idol...
The birds (and bunnies) seek cover anytime one of these is over head. It's a Red Tailed Hawk. They love to fight with the area ravens and don't do enough to keep the backyard population of bunnies in check.
This is a Western Tanager that stopped by for a drink last fall during a long streak of dry Santa Ana conditions. According to the folks at Project Feederwatch it is rare for these to visit backyards. My son and I were thrilled to get credit for a "rare" sighting.