alpha codes

Minus the Pear Tree

Psalm 37:
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
This bird was a fun find for us. The ones we aren’t looking for are usually fun. We don’t expect it, so there’s no stress in trying to find it.

We see it as it runs across the road and flies over the ditch. I hear yells of “Female Ring-necked Pheasant!!” It’s way too small. “Female Bobwhite?” It’s too large. Hmmm… As it somewhat looks like a quail, I look in that part of the guide… My mouth falls open. No, it can’t be…

I remember hearing about this bird in November 2011, when it was posted on the Iowa bird list that someone doing a North American Big Year was coming to Iowa to get this bird and the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. It seemed like it must be a super rare bird to not be found until that late in the year.

It is a bird with a repeating Latin name, Perdix perdix.   Perdix means, “partridge” in Latin, so they must doubly want you to know that, yes, this truly is a partridge.

Gray Partridge

This bird’s alpha code is GRAP and it is no joke (in English, but in Dutch it is). This code does not follow the simple rule of using the first two letters of each word in the name. This is probably because it would conflict with another bird, but which bird it is, I have not yet figured out.

Male Gray Partridge

I found a fun alpha code and I cannot believe this exists, but there it was among all the other codes.  UNBI.  This stands for “unidentified bird”.

Categories: alpha codes | 1 Comment


Psalm 4:
4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.
It’s the birdiest time of year and I cannot keep up!

As of this writing, I have two posts scheduled out and am so very behind on editing photos. I want to do that dreaded task of uploading our photos online for prints. I just learned our bird photo albums have not been updated since November.  Today, I will share a few highlights and I may not be as regular with posting for the next few days.

If you wish to look at our year list, you’ll see our latest birds.  Some are pretty neat, I think.  I still need to get a couple of birds added, but need to have them confirmed.

For my blogging friend in California… We have one of your birds here!  Maybe we can send some of ours your way, just look for the white throat.

A special Butterbutt-
Audubon’s Warbler

We’ve seen a Black-crowned Night-heron (Now what would this Alpha code look like? I’ll find out later), Lark Sparrow, Cape May Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler… The Bobolinks, Baltimore Orioles (five of them), Dickcissels, Red-headed Woodpeckers have returned to the yard. Oh, one of our poor birds has a LISP, the Lincoln’s Sparrow. People say these are not feeder birds… well, I don’t believe that! We have a nice sized group here.

The Kestrels seem finally settled and we’ve seen one Kestrel bringing food to the one in the box. For some reason, they’ve allowed Meadowlarks, Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles to perch on their box. This seems odd, but I wonder if the one on the nest doesn’t bother with it as it would require getting off the eggs.  A couple of hapless Starlings were flying about the box, but seemed terribly afraid to land. They left.

Thursday, we had a great evening of birding. In one and a half hours, we saw 48 species, all within a mile of home. We left as soon as the rain slowed to a drizzle. (We got 3 1/4 inches that day.) The flooding pasture gave us a new yard bird, Blue-winged Teal.

Saturday, was the once a month field trip and we reached a personal high count for the day. 86 species. I hope to create a page for this list.

What is missing so far is our Ruby-throated Hummingbird. We set out nectar hearing of early reports. Soon, soon…

Sadly, the Ring-necked Pheasants are rebounding and we know what that means… :(  We hear a couple of the males from our house.  Others are seeing them around Iowa as well.

Categories: alpha codes, anti-hunting, di shpatza


Isaiah 40:
21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

HOSP orb

CORE orb

WEME orbs

Someone was playing with his camera and used the fish-eye setting. The top two were fish eyes, but the bottom was not. The poor birds were trying to keep warm, so poofed out their feathers. The air acts as an insulator.

I think we had a little bit of courtship between the two birds.  The male is on the right and he was singing so prettily.  I find it odd he is a little duller than the female, but I wonder if he was hatched last year.  The females do not sing at all, but she does have a few different calls.

So are you remembering the alpha codes?  These should be pretty easy.

Categories: alpha codes, di fekkel

Gallup Poll

1 John 2:
10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

This is going to be a long one.  Just a little warning.

We’ve been invaded in a way we’ve never been before.   Look… look at all these Common Redpolls!

Whoops… they were there. I can assure you… they were. See the headless one up top.

We usually only see bird numbers like this in the spring and fall when the blacks and gracks are gathered together.

That’s not too many, you say…

Here’s another, but even this does not show all of them. They really like the Nyjer thistle.

Here is a portion of the 55 we counted.

This is just plain amazing!  You saw the post about the thirteen.  The couple days after that, we had less than ten.  Waking up Friday morning, we had 21 before the sun was fully up.  They left a few minutes and came back with seemingly every Redpoll in the area and do these birds eat! I filled the socks up shortly after taking the bottom picture, and as of today (Saturday) they’ve eaten it down even further.  With the massive activity on the socks, the Nyjer is dropping to the ground, but this gives more birds a chance to eat.  That spot under the feeder is now black with this thistle.

As a side note for those who may not know.  Nyjer thistle cannot germinate in North America, so don’t worry about feeding this to the birds.  You will not add to the already invasive weed population. 

Because we have so many of these perky little birds, we needed to find out more about them. They will breed up around the Arctic Circle and can withstand temperatures down to -65° F.  They grow extra down to prepare for winter.  Because of where they breed, if they go south, they could end up about anywhere.  A Common Redpoll banded in Michigan ended up in Siberia.  Another banded in Belgium was seen in China.

Oh, they are very flighty, worse than a filth (group name) of Starlings.  An unseen something will cause an unexpected Redpoll explosion.  I have noticed the ones on the ground are more nervous than the ones on the socks and other feeders.  For the most part they are peaceable with one another; can you imagine the havoc they would create in their tight knit groups?  It is only the few who have found the cylinder feeder that seem to be a little selfish.

Even more interesting is the group name for this birds.  Yep, “gallup”, spelled with a u not an o.  I laughed out loud at this little pun. Their alpha code is an easy one to remember- CORE.

Would you believe, I still have more to share about these interesting birds? One of their behaviours requires its own post, though.

Bird facts from All About Birds.

Categories: alpha codes, bird facts, di fekkel

“He Has Legs!”

Psalm 40:

11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.
12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.
Really bad photo alert.

One thing about children that really makes me laugh is they point out the obvious.  See the subject for this post. 

That was entirely too disappointing.  We were out driving one Saturday morning, when my husband brakes out of nowhere.  He saw this Northern Harrier perched on a fence post.  He stopped too close.   It takes off.

We have seen the Northern Harrier in flight countless times.  We get prime views from our windows.  But never have we been able to get a photo of the bird perching.

Maybe some day, but for now, we will enjoy watching this rodent control officer doing what he does best.

Because an alpha-code search was done today to bring someone to this site, I thought I would put one on here for your amusement.


Yup, you got it… Harris’s Hawk.

Categories: alpha codes

His Royal Fatness

Psalm 95:
1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
Do you remember Peanut, our Yellow-shafted Flicker from last year? She’s not been by since spring, but I will try not to assume the worst.

Here is a little roly poly from this year. The male Red-bellied Woodpecker.

He’s not quite as poofy as he could be. We’ve not gotten super cold yet.
He’s reaching up to get that good homemade food.

The poor woodpeckers had to deal with a little bit of a change around the feeding area today, but they did alright.  We’ve had so many HOSP (Alpha-code for House sparrow) these last few days- they’ve been calling their friends. Have you ever heard a HOSP ruckus?  So much so, we’ve hardly seen any Juncos or Tree Sparrows.  We will stop feeding sunflower and the other small seeds for a time.

We do not want to lose our Woodpeckers, so we put up a feeder LBE made that is difficult for the little rascals to use.  They figured out the above “starling stumper”.  HOSP do not have strong gripper feet like woodpeckers, so the new feeder is a bit of a struggle for them.   At least for the time being.  They do not like the Nyjer seed, so we’ll keep that out for the finches.  We’ll keep feeding the Jays, since they grab all the nuts and go.

I always feel bad for those who deal with squirrels.  What a chore to keep those creatures from eating all the bird food!  We may not have to deal with many four-leggeds, but we do have these HOSP.

Categories: alpha codes, di shpatza