For a cold February day, it’s been a pretty good day at the feeder. In all, 14 species showed up already and it’s not even noon. The pileated woodpecker was in the side yard, not at the feeders. I took the photo through a dirty, hence the poor quality. Here’s some photographic evidence of the busy day: Continue reading
The word typical can have a negative connotation. It is usually used to describe something boring or mundane. Or worse, as a word of exasperation to draw attention to a recurring negative behavior: “Oh, that’s so typical of him.”
But I’m going to use typical in a positive way here. Yesterday, all the typical birds showed up at my feeder. And that’s a good thing. My ‘typicals’ include chickadees, titmice, white-breasted nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, and blue jays. You can throw juncos in there, too, in the winter. Other birds come from time to time, but those are the birds that are always there. Many people write to me about a lack of chickadees at their feeders lately. It’s definitely a trend to keep an eye on, but thankfully, I still have plenty of chickadees visiting my feeders.
Not that I’m boasting about my feeders. There are some obvious bird species that I hardly ever see. Cardinals, for whatever reason, are Continue reading
Here’s a downy woodpecker getting peanuts from the homemade feeder I mentioned in yesterday’s post.
It’s funny how birds prefer their food offered in different ways. White-breasted nuthatches and downy woodpeckers are all over this feeder. They typically perch on the feeder and peck away at the shell to expose the nut inside. My other peanut eaters — blue jays, red-bellied woodpeckers and tufted titmice — barely touch this feeder and prefer to grab their peanuts from a platform feeder and fly off with it.
This apple birdfeeder has been green, yellow and now red. The birds don’t care what color it is as long as I put my home-made suet in it.
Most birdwatchers I know have a self-reliant, practical side. They don’t necessarily long to live off the grid in a small cabin in the wilderness, hunting for their food and cutting down trees to stay warm, but there is a hint of that spirit in a lot of us.
Luckily, there are many do-it-yourself projects for birdwatchers that may be done in the comfort of our heated, electrified, and well-stocked homes. The projects will save a few bucks (no pun intended) and result in that satisfaction only a good DIY activity can deliver.
The easiest project is making your own hummingbird food. It is inexpensive and requires almost no skill. In other words, perfect for someone like me.
Simply mix four parts water with one part sugar and you’ve got hummingbird food. I usually double the recipe to eight cups of water and two cups of sugar so it lasts longer. I like to bring the water to the point at which it is about to boil then turn off the heat and add the sugar. Most of the sugar will dissolve itself in the hot water, but a minute or two Continue reading
Here are a few more photos that I took in 2016 that never saw the light of day. These photos are good for showing the difference between male and female Downy Woodpeckers. With many woodpeckers, the male shows more red than the female. In the case of the downy (and hairy), the female lack red altogether.
OK, a group of Downy Woodpeckers is probably not called a “bunch,” but at any rate, here’s a photo I took a few days ago of four of them around a single suet feeder. This is the same feeder/tree that attracted two Brown Creepers a few weeks ago. Interestingly enough, the Downys all seem to be female. (Where was that bar when I was in my 20s? Ha.)
I’ve seen Downys come and go at a suet cake and perch nearby, but never 4 in one tree.
Not the best quality photo, but a pretty neat sighting.
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It’s been a particularly busy day at the feeder today. There haven’t been any out of the ordinary species, just lots of backyard favorites. Here are a few photos from the action. Not pictured, but seen visiting today are: American Goldfinch; Northern Cardinal; Hairy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker; Dark-eyed Junco; White-throated Sparrow; Blue Jay and American Crow. No nuthatches today yet … odd.
(Author’s note: OK, got my nuthatch. All is good.)
More photos are below. Click on “continue reading.”
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The snow always brings a lot of birds to the feeders. The Dec. 14, 2013, snowfall was no exception. Here are a few shots of Downy Woodpeckers in the snow. Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, Mourning Doves and Northern Cardinals ate seeds on the ground below. The Downy Woodpeckers owned the suet cake, other than when a much larger female Hairy Woodpecker swooped in to take over.
Send me your snow bird photos at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll post them on my “reader submitted” photo page.