Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ground-hog Day with Finches

As I predicted, the Rosy-finches arrived as soon as it got light. We got several inches of snow last night and it's still snowing lightly and right on schedule all three Rosies arrived.

Yesterday, I let my boss know I wouldn't be in today...and I bought another 50# bag of sunflower seed, as well as 40# of Finches Feast ($20 from Purina: 1/3 black thistle, 1/3 canary seed and 1/3 sunflower chips that works well in any finch feeder...they love it and it's half the price of Niger).

As warm and dry a winter as we've had, I wanted to be ready to insure the little beauties know there's food here...all day. And so they continue to come; several hundred Rosy-Finches, at least six-dozen Evening Grosbeaks and ten or twelve Cassin's Finch; not to mention all the regulars...both chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers and other finches and sparrows. Oh, and those White-winged Doves, too. The above picture I got early this am...and will try for more. Stay posted!

In-coming! ..................... Don't buy seed; buy paint!

Here are a couple more shots. My friend Polly Wren (the one across town who gets all the Pinyon Jays) let me know how some 'stage' on my roof. They also use surrounding trees and telephone wires, and then swoop down in a long ribbon of birds to one of three or four 'stations' I offer them around my bird feeders. She was here today and got some good shots that she'll send so I can post later. I would imagine there were more than 400 Rosy-Finches here, all totaled and all at once. Spectacular, ya know? It does no good to try to show you how many are here by shooting them in the trees; they just look like little blobs in 5-6 trees' worth. You can see some other (not very good shots) here.

There are also several dozen Evening Grosbeaks here; one wouldn't believe their numbers are down here in La Veta. My (online) friend Dave Leatherman wrote:

"I would wager the numbers of Evening Grosbeaks are up in your part of the world because the Western Spruce Budworm cycle is up at present in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The two are very much tied together, historically. Typically Rocky Mountain budworm infestations last about a decade, perhaps a bit longer. Budworms are moths that feed in the larval stage in May and June on Douglas-fir, true firs like White and Subalpine Fir, and sometimes on Engelmann and Colorado Blue Spruce. I spent a lot of time over the years looking at them in the Cuchara and LaVeta Pass areas. I suspect you will see lots of Evening Grosbeaks for the next several years." ... I'm lovin' it!

Lastly, there was this one ...perhaps I should have
cropped it better. While obviously not the best picture, the expression seems to be "Whachew Lookin' At?

Of late, I've witnessed an interesting co-operation between Northern Flickers and large corvids. Both American Crows and Black-billed Magpies are too big to hang on such a feeder, no matter how much they'd like some suet. The magpie tries; wings flapping as it tries to contort small enough to feed without ripping off toes. But both big birds have learned to feed nonchalantly underneath the flicker as it feeds...scarfing up crumbs as they fall. I've seen flickers as well as woodpeckers hang below such feeders and catch tasty pieces that fall to their breasts...but some does hit the ground; and the big, bright corvids are right there to clean up.

As soon as Polly Wren gets them to me, I'll post her REALLY good photographs; she's great!
Stay tuned...


eileeninmd said...

WOW, and I thought I fed a lot of birds. Cool shot of your rosy finches, they are cute birds.

Anonymous said...

Could you tell me where you found the finches feast for $20? I'm hoping at some sort of chain store? Or was it you local feed store? Brenda in Sedalia

Leslie said...

Can't wait to come visit you again! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you last time, plus all your posts have my shutter finger twitching.

cindyzlogic said...

What fun!! They look so cute!!