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 –
The largest birds that came this day were the blue jays that swooped in and scattered all the other birds –
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 –
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.