Thursday, December 23, 2010

Who's at the feeder

We've had a our first few inches of snow this past week and the birds are flocking to the backyard feeders.  I like to hang suet for the woodpeckers and a mixed seed feeder which the songbirds prefer.  My "blind" is a curtained living room window that overlooks the back yard.  It's hard to sneak the squeaky screen up and down without scaring off the birds, but I have managed to get some photos.  Of course, the crazed barking Sheltie at my side doesn't help matters much.  Here's who we've seen so far:

The juncos were some of the first birds to arrive, hopping and pecking around the ground below the feeders.

They're peaceful and don't seem to mind the company of others like this male cardinal.

The tufted titmice are always present, side by side with plenty of chickadees.

  These cheeky little birds allow us to get pretty close before flying off.

By far my favorite visitor has been this red-breasted nuthatch.  There are plenty of white breasted nuthatches, but I haven't seen a red one in many years.  This bird comes every day and prefers suet to seed.  This bird's tiny size doesn't stop it from fighting off every other bird that comes to the feeders.

One of the largest birds is this hairy woodpecker.  Despite his size, this male is very easily frightened away by the slightest noise or intrusion.

He can only peck at the suet from outside the squirrel proof cage, so he'll fly to the ground to pick bits of suet that he's managed to break off.

Unlike the hairy woodpecker, the downy woodpeckers are small enough to fit inside the suet cage.

Some other ground visitors include blue jays,

mourning doves,

white-throated sparrows, and

female cardinals.

But no one can clear a feast like the red-tailed hawk that patrols the neighborhood feeders.  This hawk landed in a tree just behind our house and I was lucky enough to catch a couple of quick shots at dusk before it flew off.

Hang some feeders and enjoy the show!

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