Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nature Notes: Mostly About the Birds

Christmas day was overcast but above freezing most of the day. However, I knew it was likely to snow so I made sure to get the birds a Christmas present.
The female cardinal above is enjoying her Christmas dinner. Christmas night it started snowing and continued throughout December 26. The female cardinal below is digesting her day after Christmas treats.
I think the little guy below is a sparrow. I have so many sparrows and finches that it's not always easy to tell them apart.
The male cardinal below stands out so clearly against the snowy branches.
The carolina chickadee below blends into the snowy scene and is so small he's easy to miss.
The squirrel helps the birds in some ways. I clear the snow off part of the deck wall for feeding but when the snow is falling, I abandoned part of the wall. The squirrel will dig out part of the abandoned feeding area, exposing seeds that were covered.
From left to right, I don't know what kind of bird the little gray one is. I'm pretty sure it's a sparrow in the middle and the male cardinal on the right is unmistakable.
The red-bellied woodpecker below doesn't bother the female cardinal but the male cardinals fly up to the trees when the woodpecker arrives.
I know I've mentioned before about the major changes in how I feed the birds.
Since I have so many photographs and not so much to say I'll go over the feeding I do and, for the most part, don't do once again.
Years ago, I fed the birds year round but did more in the winter. The bird below is a rufous-sided towhee.
When I was into major feeding, there was a time when I had as many as 16 seed feeders and 3 suet cages.
Gradually I phased out the feeding. By gradually I mean over a number of years. The bird below is a brown thrasher.
My garden became increasingly wild and I grow many plants which provide seeds the birds like.
I'm not sure if that's a wren with the cardinal above. There are loads of wrens, nuthatches, and titmouse that pop in and out to eat and they are unmistakable while I watch them. However in a distant window shot they are harder to identify. I'm surprised I didn't get any good blue bird shots as there are plenty of them around.
I enjoy watching the mourning doves like the one above. Anyway back to my feeding story, over years I've gotten to where the main time I supplement the birds food is during times of severe cold and/or snow, ice, etc.
Even with the supplemental food, I see the birds in the vines where the snow blew off munching on seeds from dried berries. But since the vines were totally covered in snow, until the snow started blowing its bounty wasn't available to the birds.
The little bird above is eating the seeds which fell off the deck wall.
I didn't notice any blue jays on December 26 while it was snowing but ones like the one above joined the crowd on December 27. I'll stop with one last male cardinal below.
Click here for the home of nature notes.


Rambling Woods said...

The little sparrow like bird is a white-throated sparrow which you can tell from the yellow on the face. The gray one is a dark-eyed junco who come down from Canada during the winter as does the sparrow. It can be really hard for birds to get some of the seeds from the trees depending on what kind of seeds they are so it's nice of you to put some out and of course your bird baths.

Nicole said...

I am still totally at awe with your garden. I love it wild and more natural.
And like one can easily tell, so do the birds :-D
You have such a pretty variety there!

Leora said...

I love all your bird photos. How wonderful that you could see birds even after all that snow. I only saw birds high up, and that was long after the snow fall was over.

I tried feeding birds last winter, but I kept forgetting. They seemed to prefer my compost pile, anyway, which is now buried under the snow.

EG CameraGirl said...

I very much enjoyed these photos of the birds in your winter garden! Thank you!

MyMaracas said...

I really enjoyed seeing all your winter birds. You have such a nice variety!

Barb said...

Love the birds but, boy, it looks cold there!

KaHolly said...

Oh, boy, just look at all that snow! Great feeder pictures, and I enjoyed the narrative accompanying them. Sounds as though you've got how to feed the birds down to a science. I'll bet you make sure they always have plenty of fresh water, too! Happy New Year, karen

Annie said...

Love this post. I filled up my feeders on Christmas day and kept a bird count when I was snowed in on Dec. 26. Had 12 different species of birds come by to eat, pretty much the same ones you have in your pics. I agree with Rambling Woods that the little grey one might be a junco aka snowbird; I had one of those come by my feeder too.

I love watching the birds but I mainly keep the feeders filled up for my cats to watch (Cat TV).

It was nice to have a white Christmas!