Bird food

At least a dozen Dark-eyed juncos, the feathers on their backs and flanks darkened from overall slate-color to overall black by the determined snowfall, fed this morning on seeds of the Agastache. The White-tailed deer may have robbed the American robins of a treat of Winterberries, but another native plant has provided sustenance another native bird.

Dark-eyed juncos feed on Agastache seeds

Earlier this week (15 January) — the same day a Bluebird perched on a box I hope it will use in the spring to make a nest  — a sizable flock of European starlings descended on the many suet feeders much the way the robins came in for the Winterberries last year. The ground was frozen but not snow covered. Those waiting their turn at the suet feeders foraged with their powerful, straight, pointed bills for insects in the grasses at the meadow’s edge. With binoculars, I could see their larger finds: insects that looked like dirt covered grasshoppers. Were they shaking off the dirt or defrosting carcases as they shook their prey? Either way, I could see the advantage of the suet.

Starlings, fortunately, are not regulars at the feeders here. But on the 20th, the day of the second light snow of the season, the feeders were visited by the usual suspects in unusual numbers. The one usual bird I did not see that day was the Norther flicker. The birds who did show up included the Bluejay, the Downy woodpecker, the Red-bellied woodpecker, the Mourning dove, the Northern cardinal, the Tufted titmouse, the Dark-eyed junco, the White-breasted nuthatch, the Black-capped chickadee, and the White-throat sparrow.

A male Northern cardinal watches the snow all and waits his turn at the feeder in the branches of a Viburnum dentatum.

This year’s regulars no longer include the House sparrow in what appears to be a positive outcome of last year’s trapping program. The Grey squirrel population also has declined substantially but not quite to zero. The feeders stay full longer. Queuing up for a place at the feeders seems to work better without the House sparrows and the squirrels who took longer turns than the others.

Advertisements
2 comments
  1. laurel said:

    Love this post, dear Susan. I’ve been watching birds all day while i stay cozy in bed. The woodpeckers are so determined. We have a ‘natural’ backyard, including dead trees.
    Wondering why there were so many different flocks in motion today. We had a light snow/ice with more on the way.
    Take best care of yourself, and your meadow.
    Love,
    Laurel and Bobby

  2. craig said:

    This reminds me of my days as a younger, and more relaxed man

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: