Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winter Weather Brings Winter Birds

Heyyyyy, the Juncos are back and several White-crowned
Sparrows, too; mostly first-year birds (they're still brown-crowned.)

We're in the midst of our first really good storm of the season (I keep loosing power here), and so far have had nearly a foot of snow. This kind of weather usually brings the birds down; I half expect
to find the Rosy Finches, too.
I wish! A couple years ago, I got all three color variations was very exciting. I'm thinking it might be too early for those, though.

As I look at some of these photos I managed to get, I'm wondering if these are all White-crowned
Sparrows. I think so...but some of them look so different. Part of the problem of identifying youngsters, I'd imagine.

And, I think I've IDed my first Brewer's Blackbird. He was pretty ratty looking, actually, with very frayed feathers, but that he was next to a Common Grackle really helped me figure him out. Smaller, of course, and his bill was significantly less robust; his tail was squared off and only about half the length of his body. At one point he was next to one of the blasted Eurasian Collared Doves that frequent my place...and was quite a bit smaller than that bird, too. I'm thinking I just got a life bird in my yard, and there were two. It could happen...

Oh, and what the heck is the Goldfinch doing here today? That bright yellow butt was a complete give-away, and rather a shock, too. Course, in that I just saw my last hummingbird 3-4 days ago (October 17th), perhaps I shouldn't be surprised.

Today is also the first time I've put up seed-feeders in awhile. I was trying, without much luck, to discourage Grackles and those ever present doves. Because of the weather though, I brought out most of my feeders; including sock feeders that I filled with black thistle and canary seed (cheaper than pure thistle). These brought back the Pine Siskins, which I've not seen for weeks.

With them are dozens of House Finches, so far in Red and Orange variations. Sometimes I see yellow variants. Also in the yard are Common Flickers (Red); racing the blasted Starlings for the last berries on the Virginia Creeper lining the fence. I've watched at least two or three Black-capped Chickadees flit in and out with a single sunflower seed as well as at least one white eye-browed Mountain Chickadee.

I have not seen any of the Hairy Woodpeckers in awhile, but the Downey’s are hitting the suet like there is no tomorrow. I thought I was so clever attaching a suet cage to the bottom of a wooden feeder, but other birds do try for a bite or two; flapping and struggling to hang on.

Most often it is the Magpies, which is why I came up with the fat-worms; they look so funny trying to hang on that tiny cage. They must like the fat a lot, which is why my dog hates them. If he doesn’t keep track of the bones I give him, they will practically crawl inside after the marrow; big dog, big bones! They are the only bird he chases.

I suppose I don’t help their relationship much, when I feed them lightly moistened kibble on a high-up, pole feeder. I think they tease him. I’ve watched the Magpies hide the kibble in the barn, wedging it between boards, and even under-ground; they bury it like squirrels! I wonder if that’s why the skunks are digging up my yard…

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