14 January 2015
Pine Siskin Spinus pinus is a notoriously irruptive species; in some years it appears to be everywhere and in others one cannot find a single bird. It is fundamentally a northern species and moves south in years when the conifer crop fails to provide adequate food for the winter.
As far as I know, 2015 is not slated to be a bumper year for siskins in the southern part of the province and we were delighted to see this singleton feeding on small cones.
When major incursions occur it is a species that readily takes advantage of bird feeders and I can recall in years past when every perch on a finch seed feeder has been occupied by a Pine Siskin. I will be keeping a close eye out the window to look for them this year!
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus is one of those species that seems to have been named by a drunkard who couldn't see straight, or a taxonomist with a perverse sense of humour. To find the red belly referred to requires some fine detective work, and it was pure happenstance that we captured it on the picture below.
Yes folks, that little smudge of colour on the lower belly is how this handsome bird got its name. I am sure that we could all think of a dozen better descriptive nomenclatures!