Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I am sure I saw my first sign of spring this morning... bright and early before the weather bested the freezing mark!
A GOLD goldfinch... yes, a finch that was somewhat yellow, rather than drab olive with a yellowish tint. This one was YELLOW.
OK I am not sure it was a goldfinch... I realized just today that 1/2 the 'goldfinches' at my feeder were in fact PINE SISKINS... stripey with a yellow dot near the wing and tail. Goldfinches in winter plumage are NOT stripey. But, they too were at the feeder! Plus the house finches, nuthatches, wrens, titmice, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers and chickadees.
Our feeder is becoming quite popular and DH and I enjoyed watching the birds from the couch :)

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Pretty Good Day at the Feeder

Oh the triumph associated with finally capturing those woodpeckers on film.

The pair of red-bellied woodpeckers are daily visitors to our house… the male with his read poll and the female with her red nape, are notoriously camera shy, disappearing as soon as I got my camera into position every time.

I finally captured them this morning… followed later by a visit from a male downy woodpecker. The downy pair come, but not quite so often as their cousin… and it was this visit that made it quite easy for me to determine that they were indeed DOWNY and not hairy woodpeckers :)

Here is a female red-bellied woodpecker. This is a good shot of her rusty coloured belly that gives her the name. Of course, you can't see it well because I had to shoot through a window as well as hold the venetian blinds out of the way... just so I wouldn't scare her away!!

Yes, she ought to be more a red headed woodpecker, but believe it or not, there is a variety with a totally red head. They live here too… along with the downy, the pileated, and the flicker (red shafted). The flicker is another regular garden bird at our house, providing much amusement to the family, by kicking up all the pine needles under our tree. Apparently it must be a good spot for bugs, because that is where the skunk dug into that time…

Here is a good picture of the back of the woodpecker’s head, so you can see the red nape.

This one is the downy… it and its cousin the hairy woodpecker, are apparently the only two with a white back and the black and white bars.

The only differences between it and the hairy are the beak and its size. The hairy woodpecker has a beak about twice the length, and it is about 2 or 3 inches longer.

It is a cute little woodpecker… and like many of the woodpeckers we see, is especially fond of our pine trees.

He is slightly more timid than the red-bellied woodpecker, but I expect that to change soon. He appeared at our feeder first on Saturday, and I have seen him back there (and his mate too) quite regularly.

Finally here is a photo of a mysterious bird. Mysterious because the shot was so bad I couldn’t see what it was. It is either a female house finch or a sparrow with a chickadee friend. The only reason I suspect house finch is because I have seen a pair at the feeder a few times, and the female is a dull brown. Maybe I might get to see the bird’s face soon…

Today is a great feeder day… the weather is VERY cold (about 28 degrees Fahrenheit which is about -1 or -2 degrees Celsius) and as such the birds would rather visit my feeder and get food that try to fly around searching for it. The birds can be seen quite happily eating together and all fluffed up to keep warm. Sometimes I wonder what else the birds do on a cold day like today…

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Fascinating Day at the Feeder

It is a fact. All birds prefer peanut suet to apple suet. I am not sure why, but the peanut suet is almost all gone, while the apple suet, sadly remains.
This morning saw some serious feeder activity… in addition to the pairs of titmice and chickadees (and of course the wrens) we saw the red bellied woodpecker, a downy woodpecker, a pair of house finches, a pair of nuthatches and, away from the feeder, juncos, cardinals, blue jays and robins.
We made up a few pages on the computer and Rebel drew the wrens from life, and a downy woodpecker from the book. Wet weather kind of put a stop to the idea I had brewed in my head about making some peanut butter pine cone feeders… but maybe next week we’ll do that and also make a suet cake… or a bird bath…
The ideas just keep coming!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Feeder Action

The feeder has been busy this week… a pair of red breasted woodpeckers has shown a great affection for the peanut butter suet cake. Unfortunately, they are both somewhat camera shy!

Another new friend visited too… a nuthatch.

Although the wren at the suet tolerated him just fine, she was not so thrilled later when the woodpecker came and sat on the post scolding him.

Our old friends the chickadee and the titmouse are regulars… and their cheerful chirping often draws us to the window to see.

There is also a pair of cardinals who comes daily, as well as some sparrows and of course the wren. The biggest kerfuffle is made though, when the woodpeckers come… apparently they are a family favourite… I will try to get photos of them :)

I will apologise for the quality of the pictures... but I refuse to go out into the cold to scare the birds away trying to photograph them. This is through our window... at my favourite settee perch where I can watch the birds all day :)