25 December 2017
We enjoyed Christmas Day with family yesterday so Miriam and I were quite happy to spend the day at home today, particularly given the amount of snow that had fallen overnight.
Today would not be an ideal day for travel. I made sure that the bird feeders were all topped up, however, and we were treated throughout the day to a variety of species, included a Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) that menaced the other birds, but left as quickly as it came before we could get a camera on it.
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) is by far the most common species in the back yard and at times we have around thirty of them all jostling for position at the feeders.
Some have to patiently wait their turn in the trees.
The collective name for a group of goldfinches is a "charm," and we certainly concur with that epithet.
No less charming, however, is a House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus); witness this male on a branch.
Up to a half dozen Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) are generally present, and they are often the first birds to arrive at sunup. They seem content to perch for a while and wait for the messy finches to strew seed on the snow where the Mourning Doves descend to feed.
American Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is never far from an easy meal.
At least two White-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis) frequent the feeders, possibly three, sometimes feeding and at other times retrieving seeds to stash away as emergency rations when the grip of winter really tightens.
Of late a couple of American Crows (Corvus brachyrynchos) have been visiting on a fairly regular basis and we hope that we can encourage these wonderful intelligent birds to feel at home with us.
We save all the fat we trim from meat and freeze it. When we have enough we put it outside in a feeder and it is well patronized by Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens).
The birds never fly in directly to the feeder but always land at an intermediate point.
Once they drop onto the feeder, however, they feed for a while.
Our feeders always provide us with an endless source of enjoyment and not a little education in the process. It will soon be time to visit the feed mill to replenish our supplies. The rewards are well worth the investment.
On a completely different note, Miriam found this gem which is worthwhile sharing with everyone.