bird / lake tahoe

Top 10 Birds from my porch top in Lake Tahoe

Taking the Ram Das quote literally to heart, “The quieter you become, the more you will hear.” One of the things that arose to my attention were the sounds and behaviors of the wild birds I have been living amongst for years.  Our new home located high in trees on a mountainside at 7,400′ elevation helped to put the “flyers” center stage.  This perch like view from our 3rd story deck presents a new perspective of Tahoe that I had not quite experienced.  As I began to pay more attention, and get a closer look at the birds’ behavior through the lenses of the camera, my feelings any annoyance by their wood pecking nest building into  the house subsided.  Bird watching through the zoom lenses was soothing, but also sometimes requires a bit of an agreement from the subject too. Something in this activity struck a chord that lit up my senses.

I hope you enjoy the “Top 10 Birds from my porch top in Lake Tahoe.”  This post is comprised of frequent daily visitors to the more rare birds of prey.

#10 Pygmy Nuthatch

The Pygmy Nuthatch song bird, is the smallest of the nuthatch family. It’s also my favorite nuthatch of the four in the species. Their presence is often marked by a parade of tiny tweets. This year we had a unique opportunity to listen to the clutch being born in the wall of our loft.

Pygmy Nuthatch Lake Tahoe birds bathing

The Pygmy Nuthatch having some fun in fresh water. Photos by © Crystal Ricotta.

Pygmy Nuthatch Lake Tahoe Birds

The Pygmy Nuthatch stops by for a drink of water during a very smokey day in the high Sierras. The entire region was smoke-filled for weeks during the fall of 2020. All photos © Crystal Ricotta.

9 Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee in Lake Tahoe

The Mountain Chickadee is usually the first bird to show up in the morning. All photos © Crystal Ricotta.

Mountain Chickadee bird in Lake Tahoe by Crystal Ricotta

The Mountain Chickadee is a happy, curious, little bird. They seem to really enjoy the fresh water at our high elevation porch top.

mountain chickadee bathing lake tahoe bird photo by Crystal Ricotta

The Mountain Chickadee bathing at sunset and really putting on a show.

© Crystal Ricotta

mountain chickadee

Mountain Chickadee reflecting.

Mountain Chickadee Poecile gambeli

The Mountain Chickadee /Poecile gambeli/ enjoying the sound of silence during fire season 2020.

8 Stellars Jay

Stellars Jay in winter snow Lake Tahoe

Stellars Jay in a fir tree December 2020.

Stellars Jay Lake Tahoe bird photography by Crystal

At an elevation of 7,800′ feet this Stellars Jay pauses for a moment before making his next maneuver. Yes, I think he’s a male and the leader of his pack.

7 White-headed Woodpecker

white headed woodpecker lake tahoe birds

The male White-headed Woodpecker. Their four prong toes make their flat sitting position seem awkward, but they can go any direction up, down and around on a tree. During our hot hot high desert summer, the fresh, clean water dishes that I present to the birds has become a popular trusted location. The porch is also full a plants adding to the bird environment.

white headed woodpeckers male

White-headed Woodpecker female Lake Tahoe Crystal Ricotta

Female, White-headed Woodpecker, Dryobates albolarvatus.

6 White-breasted Nuthatch

white-breasted nuthatch by Crystal Ricotta

We all know when the other nuthatches (besides the Pygmy – this is their roost) show up. The usually come alone, quick, fleeting and have knocked out locals upon arrival at the watering dish.

5 Sharp-shinned Hawk

Mature, Sharp-shinned Hawk from December 2020.

mature Sharp-shinned Hawk Lake Tahoe Raptor

Spotted this beautiful mature Sharp-shinned Hawk December 19, 2020 from my Kingsbury porch-top at Lake Tahoe.

sharp-shinned hawk

Sharp-shinned hawk from December 19, 2020.

4 Red Tailed Hawk

red tailed hawk

This beautiful bird of prey made my day.

3 Clarks Nutcracker

Clarks Nutcracker bird Lake Tahoe by Crystal Ricotta

Clarks Nutcracker during a winter storm in Lake Tahoe. Photo Crystal Ricotta.

2 Northern Flicker, woodpecker

Anytime a bird has polka dots I immediately fall in love. Years ago I used to find their contrasting orange and black feathers while walking in the meadow. Now we coexist in a more meaningful way. I provide clean water, suet, seeds and desired protein bird pellets. After time, even jumpy birds will show more face if you don’t disturb them while they are relaxing or your platform.

Northern Flicker woodpecker male Lake Tahoe

The Northern Flicker peaking out from the tree. This is typically how he would like the relationship to be.

Northern Flicker woodpecker in winter 2021 Lake Tahoe

Northern Flicker from December 2020 © Crystal Ricotta

1 Downy Woodpecker

downy woodpecker by Crystal Ricotta