Saturday, January 17, 2015

Common Redpolls for Saturday Critters

and yes!, we have Redpolls, finally.  I have been waiting and watching  for these llittle northern finches ,ever since the cold temperatures and snow  have set in.  They arrived at our feeders on January the 15th. and these are the first Redpolls we have had at our feeders within the past two years.  There are many, seemingly to swarm the feeders., but I haven't seen many of the red, rosy breasted handsome males.  Hopefully my photographic opportunities will improve over the weekend.

   above, the Redpolls have found the niger seed feeder and its proving to be a favourite with these birds They also like the seeds found in the cage feeder.
This little Redpoll above  was caught in flight hurrying from one feeding location to another. Oh, Happy Day! for both the Redpolls and my husband and myself as observers. I am linking today to Viewing nature with Eileen . Eileen's meme Saturday Critters can be found at:http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.ca/
Have a wonderful day everyone although it is a cold one!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Gray Squirrel Tail for Saturday Critters

 Gray Squirrels are an absolute nuisance in our feeder area and they are often feeding where they are not supposed to be.  For example somehow the cover was removed from the cylinder that held sunflower seeds in my cage feeder and who decides to check out the food source?   the Gray |Squirrel , of course.  My first hint of this unwanted visitor was a gray bushy tail at the top of our feeder, with a squirrel within the feeder, go figure!
                  

                  As I watched the squirrel I observed it  back out of the feeder and proudly sit on the top of the cage . I mention  this just in case you might be worried that the squirrel was stuck inside the cylinder. not to worry, this creature is very agile and flexible!( and determined, and maybe hungry too!)





You can see the cover of the feeder hanging down on the right side of the cage. I have learned to secure the cover to the cage so that it doesn't get lost, as it had once.  Luckily I had found it.

 I am linking this Squirrel tale (tail) of bird feeder woes to Viewing Nature with Eileen today.  Thank you |Eileen for hosting  your  Saturday Critter meme and for your continuing support.  http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.ca/ 

Have a wonderful |Saturday everyone.  Brrr.. its another cold one out there and I have to go out to refill my feeders. :-(  Go away Squirrels!!!)


Friday, January 09, 2015

Song Sparrows

Often the first bird species at our feeders these cold, wintery mornings is a Song Sparrow.  although both the Song Sparrow and Tree Sparrows have a dark central breast spot I quickly check to see if I am looking at a Song or Tree Sparrow.  I  often adopt silly phrases when identifying birds and I think of a Song Sparrow as having a watermelon striped breast, notice those  dark, rounded, curvy lines on its breast?  They are quite noticeable to me and that is the characteristic I quickly 
 look for when deciding  on which sparrow it is.( Have I got you confused? Not to worry, as I said I adopt silly phrases to help me identify each bird as it arrives.Its a morning condition which is alleviated with several cups of coffee)    Also, the Song Sparrow is often perched at our white house bird feeder early in the morning and I  know who it is perched there early each morning... Tree Sparrows are more often ground feeders rather than feeder feeders!

We have two Song Sparrows overwintering around Bird Alley this winter..  They are cheerful sightings which I look for and rely upon each day. In the picture below a Song Sparrow is perched on the top of our pergola, with red American Bittersweet berries in the background.  These berries are very attractive and striking in their colour.  They began as yellow berries in the fall and as winter approached their yellow skins peeled off and their showy inner red coverings prevailed.  I am hoping that some day these beautiful red berries will attract Waxwings or Grosbeaks, Hopefully a Pine Grosbeak will show up some day to feed upon them.
See the beautiful dark streaks on this sparrows breast?!
Time for another coffee and then when daylight appears, hopefully my Song Sparrows will also.  Happy bird feeding and bird watching today everyone!!

This morning, right on schedule, the Song Sparrow is back feeding at the white house feeder!

                        

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Feeding Birds With Opean Beaks

While looking over my downloaded pictures on my screen I noticed a  recurrent theme among them.  Many of these birds had an open beak.


sS I decided to group them into an open beak theme.
I love the activity and appearance of hard work of  getting the peanuts of this Black-capped Chickadee shown below. You can see that the bird is pulling a peanut out!!  success!! Good for you Chickadee!!

This Red-breasted Nuthatch below was more successful at getting a peanut as it is a more experienced peanut feeder. 

This female Hairy woodpecker is better equipped by nature to attack a peanut feeder and this species feeds here daily: both the male and female Hairy as well as its smaller, look alike cousin, the Downy Woodpecker
And  this smaller feeder at Bird Alley, An American Goldfinch daintly feeds at on finch food at a regular feeder. But it does have an open beak as it munches along.
-28 degrees C this morning.. so cold!!!! brrr..I hope it  is warmer at your location this morning!!

And this one below is my most favourite bird visitor..  This handsome red guy is always a welcome visitor to our feeder area, although it most often likes to find sunflower seeds on the ground. A male Northern Cardinal:


And this little American Tree sparrow pictured below likes to feed on the ground sparrow-like., although it also feeds at our feeders on finch food as does the Goldfinch.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Cold Morning Temperatures

This photo was taken outside my window in Bird Alley , yesterday morning.  And just a reminder that here in Canada we read out thermometers in Celsius. And that's cold at -25 degrees C.  However it is forecast to be a bit warmer today, at -19 degrees C.
This little Red breasted Nuthatch is a regular and no matter the temperatures it continues to show up daily to feed at  the peanut feeder!( |We used to have two peanut feeders , however with the mild temperatures and no snow recently a marauding raccoon carried it off wheresoever and we could not find it, so now we only have the one peanut feeder.
How I love being retired on cold winter days like this! It used to be that on cold winter mornings we would often have trouble getting our cars started in the  mornings and sometimes my husband would get up at 2 or 3 a.m to take our cars out for a short drive  on the highway to warm them up , ensuring an early morning start, and still sometimes , we had to drag the clutch after giving our car a good push downhill( We lived on a hill and that push downhill often provided the acceleration we needed to turn over the motor.) My last year of teaching provided a different location as we had moved , but still being outdoors at 6 a.m. cleaning off the windshield as the car warmed up was no blessing either. I resigned and retired in March of that last year of teaching, Oh Happy Day!!!!
All of these memories came flooding back yesterday morning as my car complained and almost didn't turn over when I attempted to start it., but then I heard and felt that glorious power of my car's motor turning over, run though the car and myself!!! How difficult cold , winter mornings used to be!
Our number of bird species visiting our feeders daily has been down recently. I counted only 9 species yesterday: Red-breasted Nuthatch, both Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Tree Sparrows, Juncos, Chickadees, Song Sparrow, Mourning Doves and Goldfinch.  I keep hoping to see Redpolls each day but there have been none at Bird alley so far! I am hoping for a higher count  of species today.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Evening Grosbeaks on this First Day of Winter

Since our last snowfall, on Wednesday last, the birds have been slow in arriving at our feeders in the morning.  So I was delighted this morning to see some little Goldfinch arrive and I noted them in my daily bird list which I keep.  Whereas Bird Alley is at the side of our house, we also have feeders at the back  of our house which we watch from our dining room window.  Having just seen Goldfinch from my living room I then went to our dining room to check out the feeders there.  A white church feeder is hanging on a Plum tree outside this window and I saw several  large birds there with Goldfinch colouring.  I thought, OMG, those Goldfinch sure are big!!!  and I said that to my husband.  Then it dawned on me.  Not Goldfinch but often desired, and hoped for Evening Grosbeaks!!!!!  These big birds are not beautiful, but   they are impressive, especially the colourful males.  The sunflower seeds in the church feeder were rapidly being devoured.  Oh Happy day!!! even if it is  the first day of winter!  These birds have added a colourful excitement to my morning!!!  Welcome!! winter wanderers!!

                                                  above is a male Evening Grosbeak!


             I have since been out to refill the feeders and  I have spread sunflower seeds on a patio table on our  back deck in an attempt to entice them back.  Grosbeaks apparently like to feed on a flat surface such as the table offers.  I do so hope the Evening Grosbeaks return!!  Back to my window watching!!  Have a wonderful day everyone!