Thursday, February 11, 2016

Feeder Birds



A light snow fell almost all day, but it didn’t amount to much. In between doing other things I occasionally stepped outside with camera in hand to photograph some of the birds at or around the feeders. Like many people we feed birds in the winter, not to help them get through the lean months – they can get along quite nicely without us – but because we like to see them.

As usual, the black-capped chickadees, the “little boys of the woods” as they are sometimes called, were virtually fearless. They let me get within three or four feet before they flew and, if the feeders hadn’t been almost full, would probably have eaten from my hand –

They were joined by their close relatives the tufted titmice which are far less numerous and far more wary –

These birds feed throughout the woods in aggregations called feeding cohorts that also include white-breasted nuthatches (the upside-down bird) –

Nuthatches habit of traveling head down along large branches and tree trunks opens up feeding opportunities that other birds miss. They also jamb nuts and large seeds in grooves in the bark and hack them open with repeated blows from their beak.

Those cohorts usually include downy woodpeckers which also eat sunflower seeds from the feeders –

They wedge the seeds in bark fissures and pound them open with their beaks.

Other birds also visited the feeders: goldfinch in their drab winter garb –

And the downy woodpecker’s larger cousin the hairy woodpecker –

A special treat was the red-bellied woodpecker with its brilliant red nape –
The largest birds that came this day were the blue jays that swooped in and scattered all the other birds –

Dark-eyed juncos –
And mourning doves came to glean fallen seeds and other scraps from the ground beneath the feeders –

Missing this relatively warm and snowless winter were the northern birds that have graced the yard in such numbers in years when seed crops have failed in the far north. The common redpolls –
And pine siskins –

But always present are the squirrels that also enjoy the sunflower seeds –
On another day, beside the common visitors, we’ll see other species perhaps even some of those northern birds that have been conspicuous by their absence this winter.

13 comments:

The Furry Gnome said...

Almost exactly the same experience here, except we've only ever seen one Titmouse. Often hear the flocks of Chickadees and a Nuthatch though, and most of those other birds. Like you, no redpolls or Siskins this year. But we do have that Red Squirrel, in fact several of them.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, wonderful collection of feeder birds. I would love to see the Redpoll at my feeders. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Lea said...

Lovely birds!
We have many of the same birds coming to our feeders here in Mississippi. And lots of squirrels, too!

Phyllis Oller said...

Love your collection of birds,but that squirrel made me smile,phyllis

David Gascoigne said...

Great shots. Other than for the Tufted Titmouse these photographs could have been taken in my yard. Right now there is Downy woodpecker, American Goldfinch and House Sparrow. It is the coldest day of the winter so far with the daytime high not expected to get much above zero Celcius, so a little extra suet and sunflower seed will help them through the long, cold night.

Small City Scenes said...

It is so much fun to have several feeders to get so many different birds. Yours are lovely. I do love the little Chickadees. We also have the Chestnut-backed Chickadees. Very pretty.
MB

Lee Ann L. said...

Your pictures makes me shiver (from the cold). Wonderful captures! I am really liking the feeder in the first post and may have to get one myself (if I can find one).

Nancy Chan said...

A great series of beautiful feeder birds. I would love to follow you on GFC but the gadget is not showing so I couldn't do so. But now I am following you on Google+. Inviting you to follow me too. Thank you.

Marie C said...

So many of my favorites! Such a great variety of visitors!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

I'm new here to visit with you from another blogger's blog...your link was readily available....And, I'm sure glad I clicked on it. Wow, such an impressive array of wonderful birds [I'm an avid birder and love photographing them for my 'other' blog]. I so enjoyed my visit, and will return. I'm going to add your blog url to my reading list if you don't mind.

Lois said...

Such beautiful pictures of the birds! I have many of these in my own backyard, including the squirrels.

EG CameraGirl said...

I love seeing all these cute vistors!

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

We cannot put up feeders because of the marauding Muscovy Ducks which we are forbidden to feed anyway. They can swing the feeder and empty it in minutes. Love the redpoll! It was my first "mega" bird when it appeared in New Jersey the first year I started keeping a bird list.