As the month pulls into it's last week, I added three new birds to my Yard List. I have been watching a good sized sparrow for awhile, at first thinking it it was a
Chipping Sparrow, for its rufus head. However, the central breast-spot was a giveaway; it's an American Tree Sparrow...my first!
You can see here, how similar the two birds are, for me the center spot is the most obvious difference, but on close examination, one can also see that the American Tree Sparrow has a bi-colored bill, while the Chipping Sparrow's bill is all-over dark. These two sparrows are the only two I have identified all by myself.
This morning, after a light snow, I watched several hundred Rosy-Finches feed...always a delight. The Evening Grosbeaks were here in large numbers too; at least 75 here at a time. Oddly, a couple of crows, which I usually see mixed with ravens in the trees around here (I believe my neighbor feeds the big guys) came into the yard and looked around on the ground. That only happened once before, when a rather bedraggled raven feed with the magpies on my back stoop on a very cold, winter day.
There has been another showing up in rather large numbers, too. Of late I've had nearly a dozen Cassin's Finch visiting at the feeders. It is so cool to see them as the sun comes up and just hits the feeders. These little red-headed finches look for all the world like their head-feathers are on fire; they positively glow.
Perhaps most unusual sight today, was the Bald Eagle that cruised the yard; clearly looking down and watching the show. It was an adult, clearly marked by that beautiful white head and tail...he didn't stop. Perhaps he was really more interested in the Snow Geese over at the golf-course; it sounded like he'd just caused a ruckus over there.
This is almost exactly what I saw...sans binoculars, even. Lordy, just look at those feet!
That big guy is 50x bigger than the diminutive American Kestrel I watched feeding on an even smaller yard-bird. I know it's odd, but I do not mind the predatory birds at all; it's the cats hunting my yard that I have a problem with...they're just not natural here. It looked like the Kestrel was celebrating New Year's Eve the way he tossed feathers about!
I like the Kestrel, though; you can see why it is known as the most colorful hawk in the world:
All photos from wikipedia; be sure to click on pictures for a larger view.