Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Watch the feeders tomorrow (today!)!!!!!!

With this nice snow storm moving on in tonight (now), it should bring good numbers of birds to feeders. Especially just after dawn, when the snow hasn't really piled up yet... that's when the sparrows dig out their little patches. Then the woodpeckers come... then the juncos... then everyone else.

(-Male Northern Cardinal braving a pretty rough snow storm in my yard on 12/19/2008-)

(-A Dark-eyed Junco debating whether or not to enjoy some snow storm enhanced New Year's Eve suet, 12/31/2009-)

Good feeder days can often bring in a less common visitor, though not unheard of. Flickers seems to show up more often on these days, and the chances of finding an American Tree or Fox sparrow scratching through the grass seems to increase. And though this year has been very poor for winter finches, ya always gotta keep your fingers crossed for a Siskin in with the Goldfinch.... or dare I say a Redpoll!!???!

(-Wouldn't this be nice again?!?! Photo taken 03/01/2009-)

(-An American Tree Sparrow in my yard during a storm on (kinda weird) New Year's Eve, 12/31/08-)

All these birds on a snowy day can assist in calling the attention of Cooper's and Sharp-shinned hawks. And sometimes, well the one time I was lucky, maybe a falcon (or how about a Goshawk!!!) may stop by to see if anything is worth the effort.

Which is what happened to me last winter when I found a Merlin perched in a dead tree that on the edge of a chunk of woods behind my house. I have been told it is somewhat uncommon to see them inland during the winter, and this photo was taken on 01/02/2009. At that time last year, there was a consistent minimum of 25 finches (Goldies and Siskins) at the feeders, usually near 50, topping out close to 120. I thought maybe it somehow got the word on the buffet and came to get a seat.

I love watching the different raptors swooping and diving around and then perch and watch....

....then on the flip side, it amazes me that over often over 100 birds of 10+ different species can somehow communicate to one another than danger is in the area. Or maybe one species picks up the threat first, gives a 'we got a problem' call, and then everyone else just (meaning all the other species at/near the feeders) takes advantage of one's good detection skills. Or maybe they all have good detection skills and it is just the first bird to spy the threat gets the word out. I do not know, but I'm sure someone does.

(-Merlin perched on the edge of the woods behind my house, 01/02/2009-)

Other birds in CT that have shown up at or near my feeders, and will show up elsewhere are Eastern Towhees and Gray Catbirds. This winter I have had up to 3 Towhees at or near my feeders... for a couple months now. Another visitor I really enjoy are Field Sparrows. They seem to come alone, but for several day stretches... then nothing. Another is the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. These species are pretty much at the most northern climes of their winter ranges here in southern Connecticut. Last year I made friends with an RC Kinglet who came to my feeders about bi-weekly in December (present every time it snowed!), and then sporadically after that into very early February.

(-Ruby-crowned Kinglet eating suet in the same 12/312008 New Year's Eve snow storm as the Tree sparrow from above.-)

(-Male Eastern Towhee in a bush next to my dining room window. Photo taken through the window about 18' from my face!-)
This individual Towhee (above photo) actually took bites of snow, about 7-8, while perched in the bush. Earlier in the winter I watched a Goldfinch do the same thing in the same bush. My bird bath is frozen, and I can't seem to keep up wit the hot water to keep it open, so I was thinking maybe they were 'drinking'. Has anyone seen/heard/know of this behavior in passerines (or other birds for that matter)??? It was very interesting to watch.

Enjoy the snow everyone!! Even if you hate it, you have to admit.... it is a pretty amazing part of nature.



  1. I am looking forward to watching your adventure play out. How exciting. I was just watching the movie "Into the Wild" yesterday and it made me think about your blog I stumbled onto. I will be tuned in. Great pictures!

    You might want to include a stop in Bayside when you are making your way to Corpus Christi. They have a white board for bird sightings for the day. I suspect you might find some great stories over coffee in the mornings at Crofett's.

  2. I have a notebook set aside for all suggestions.... yours has just been added. =)