Bird Feeder Highlights

Lingering Arctic weather has driven a variety of birds to the feeders, prompting me to post a mid January update on our backyard visitors.

A small flock of Pine Siskins arrived last week – after an absence of several years.

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These small, sparrow-size songbirds are an absolute joy. They’re semi-tame and approachable when swarming a feeder. But, they can also be pretty feisty when quarreling over ‘Nyger’ seed!

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A Red-breasted Nuthatch, the masked bandit of the feeders, continues to entertain. So tiny and so quick – I know it often comes and goes undetected.

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Red-bellied Woodpeckers sit atop the pecking order when it comes to foraging on a suet block. They visit often, and the “zebra back” always commands our attention.

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Photos by NB Hunter (January, 2018). © All Rights Reserved.

Bird Feeder Survey – 20January2016

Friendly, cheery, perky, chatty, cute – there just aren’t enough adjectives to do justice to the uplifting presence of a social flock of chickadees, especially on a dreary, bitterly cold, winter day.

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus; temperature 8 degrees F, wind chill minus 5 degrees F)

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Winter … or Spring?

It’s spring, but we’re still hunkering down under the influence of bitter cold, wind, snow and ice. However, photoperiod prevails, and the lengthening days have livened things up. Large flocks of noisy “blackbirds” arrived last week, and the male Wild Turkeys are beginning to strut in the presence of hens.

The blackbirds – there are 50 to 100 descending upon my feeders at frequent intervals now – are mixed flocks, comprised mostly of Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds.

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These strutting turkey gobblers, sporting impressive beards and spurs, were part of a flock of 10, most of which were hens.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Doves at Rest

Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura), common over much of North and Central America, are frequent visitors to bird feeders in winter. They’re ground feeders and typically flutter into a feeding site from a high perch, eat a large quantity of seed very quickly, then burst out of sight, bullet-like. The consumed food is stored temporarily in a pouch or “crop” in the esophagus, and is digested later from the safety and comfort of an elevated perch.

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Photo by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.