Sunday, October 28, 2007

Here We Are Now, Entertain Us

If you've read Ron Pittaway's Winter Finch forecast (posted here, with comments by Matt Young), you know we're expecting a good flight of several irruptive species. In the past couple weeks there have been lots of reports on the local listserve about Pine Siskins, Purple Finches, Red Crossbills, and Evening Grosbeaks in the area, especially at bird feeders.

We finally put out our feeders this weekend. It's a bit of a balancing act on our hill: you want to put them out to see the birds, but you don't want to feed a bear. That happened to us last spring, to the detriment of our feeding station. All of the feeders were fine, but the structure to hang them on was beyond repair. I did build a new one soon after it was torn down, but this spring/summer we only fed the hummingbirds. Hopefully we're off the bear's feeding route.

Not wanting to miss out on all of the finch action we hung them up last weekend. The first bird came within an hour: a Cooper's Hawk, who perhaps remembered bombing through our yard repeatedly last winter.

Soon after it left we had the usual yard suspects, and lots of them. The flurry of activity included more than 20 Black-capped Chickadees, at least six Tufted Titmice, two each of Red- and White-breasted Nuthatches, a handful of Dark-eyed (Slate-colored) Juncos, and a thistle feeder full of American Goldfinches. Purple Finches are typically around, and this weekend one female arrived, along with seven House Finches (which I haven't seen on our hill in ages).

Female Purple FinchFemale Purple Finch. © Mike Powers 2003

But the show stopper was this female Evening Grosbeak, who arrived Saturday afternoon and spent a good 20 minutes gobbling down what it could.

Female Evening GrosbeakFemale Evening Grosbeak, picking through a
mix of seeds for the sunflowers.
© Mike Powers 2007

We haven't seen her since yesterday, hopefully she'll be back with some of her buddies. I love watching these guys, not just because they've become such a rarity at feeders out east. Of course, they can eat you out of house and home, but I figure if you're going to feed the birds you can't complain when they accept your invitation.

Pine SiskinPine Siskins have visited our feeders in earlier
years, will they come again this year?
© Mike Powers 2002

We've got the thistle all set, can't wait to see if we can attract some siskins (which are around now), and redpolls (which aren't really expected until December or January).

Post title credit: Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991), Nirvana


The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Happy birdfeeding and we're all keeping our fingers crossed for all those siskins!

noflickster said...

Hi Zen,

I'm working from home tomorrow so I'm anxious to see what's been eating the seed while I'm gone - hoping for winter finches, expecting Blue Jays. But they're fun in their own right!
-- Mike

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