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claireplymouth

Project FeederWatch #5 2008/2009

The last thread, #4, is getting slow to load and there's still a few months of the Project FeederWatch season to go, so I'm starting a new o. These are the previous threads.

Project FeederWatch #1 2008/2009

Project FeederWatch #2 2008/2009

Project FeederWatch #3 2008/2009

Project FeederWatch #4 2008/2009

It's been really cold for here, and I've enjoyed hearing the snow creak when I walk on it. Usually, if we even get snow, it sort of splashes with each step.

Some of the Pine Siskins seem to have settled in for the season and they're much less frantic than they were at first. The other day I thought I'd have to shake some of them off the socks so I could refill them. They did fly off, but reluctantly, when I got within a few feet.

This morning a bunch were hanging on the wisteria, maybe waiting for the queue to clear, or for the sun to get higher.

Two of them looked really cozy, maybe a male and female anticipating Valentine's Day, or maybe they're just trying to keep warm.



I'll miss these siskins when spring comes.

Claire

Comments (34)

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Those Pine Siskins are such cuties. I saw one yesterday, sitting on a branch, all puffed up, trying to keep the heat in. It took me a bit to see that it was a Pine Siskin. For a moment I was not at all sure what I was looking at. They look so different with their feathers fluffed. But, it was cold and he know exactly what he was doing.

    Thanks for starting a new thread, Claire.

    sooey

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Hi Kids,

    It is once again time for Eagle Cam. Here it is.

    http://www.wvec.com/cams/eagle.html

    Enjoy!

    sooey

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    OK, I'll wait a few weeks until PFW is over and I have something to post, and then I'll start a new summer thread. That's my favorite cart. My father had the bigger one for many years and now my brother is using it. I loved the big one, but it's a little hard to maneuver so I bought the middle size a few years ago (many different suppliers sell these or similar carts). The mid-size one has a removable gate and spent the winter on my porch under the overhang next to a plastic toboggan. If there was no snow cover I'd roll the cart down the steps and use it to carry big bags of birdseed from the car. In case of snow, the plastic toboggan got delivery duty. The cart is out basking in the sun today. The toboggan is getting dusty. Claire
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    Hi Kids, Well, it has happened again...another PFW season has come to an end. I for one was happy to see April 3rd arrive, I had run out of steam. My data has been entered and I am surprised to see how different this season was from last. I had a few birds last season that I did not see this season: white-throated sparrow tree sparrow golden crowned kinglet pine warbler I saw the brown creeper on several occations but never on a count day. I had only one bird this season that was new and that was the pine siskin. Friday the 3rd was my last count day for the season. On Saturday the 4th I had a Mama turkey sitting on my deck for the longest time. That was a first for me. Yesterday, I saw my first pine warbler. I've also noticed more pine siskin this week than in weeks past. How long with they stay around? Beautiful flicker, Claire. I find that the flicker does not like me to be around while s/he is at the suet feeder. When I see them, I know I need to stay away from the window/slider. Such a beautiful bird with such a beautiful tail. sooey who is now happy to enjoy the birds without feeling like it's homework... ;) but who will very soon get excited about a bird and wish she has someone to report it to... :(
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    Cool Lisa! It took almost a year for me to see a Red Belly on the suet log. Now Mr. Red belly visits the suet log almost every day. He is a noisy guy, and makes a big fuss when he's around. It seems like he's telling all the other birds to stay out of his way and they usually do. There was a Red-belly earlier in the summer that would rap on the gutter when the suet log was empty. It was quite deliberate and somewhat annoying! :) Just signed up for the PFW this morning. I did a bird count yesterday afternoon and this morning. I don't get the packet for a couple weeks, but they said it was okay to enter the data when it comes. It's fun! Had a pair of Red breasted Nuthatches this morning, and yesterday afternoon there were dozens of Juncos! At least 30 in the feeding station area and nearby grass and leaves. Along with 8 or more White throat sparrows, all pecking and scratching and rustling leaves. The ground looked like it was alive.
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  • lschibley
    15 years ago

    Gals,

    I'm so sad. One of my feeders is one story off the ground. Yesterday I noticed it was missing but didn't have a chance to investigate. Today I went out and found it on the ground. The plastic tube had shattered and there was blood all over it. There was also a trail of blood into the woods. I just feel so sad that one of my squirrels is hurt. Is it dumb to feel this way over a squirrel? I am putting out extra seed on the ground for him just in case he will be able to heal, but there was so much blood. I just can't image it. I've had birds and critters taken at my feeders, and it never affected me like this because I know the hawks are part of the balance of things, but this was my fault, and I feel so awful. I'm sorry to be such a downer, but I know you gals would understand.

    Do you do anything to attach your feeders to their hangers? This feeder has fallen before, but I never thought it would shatter like that. If I am going to put a feeder up again in that spot, I will have to make sure it is more secure.

    Gonna go keep an eye out back there.

    Lisa

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Oh My, Lisa, I'm so sorry. I had no idea that a plastic tube would ever shatter like that. Are you thinking that the squirrel got on the tube and the tube fell to the ground? I'm sure there was nothing you could have done to prevent such an event. Squirrels are smarter than we are.

    Most of my feeders are hung using spring clips. I do have one tube that I just added an *s* hook to. I was not able to reach it without it. I have wondered if the squirrels could figure it out but, so far it has been fine.

    Hang in there, Kid-O.

    sooey

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Thanks for the eagle cam link, sooey. Should be fun to watch once the family gets going.

    Lisa: I don't have a feeder that high, and I've only had one fall once, recently, and I think that was probably a dog or other large critter trying to grab it. You might try putting some soft rubber hose over the metal of the hook so it would be less slippery, or use velcro to reinforce the connection. Can you put a baffle on the feeder to keep the squirrels off?

    I also get concerned about the squirrels - that's natural if you care for wildlife. I once found a baby squirrel, just barely alive, that must have fallen out of a tree. There was nothing I could do to help it, so I covered it up with leaves so it could at least die without fear of predators.

    When an animal is badly hurt in the wild, I usually wish it a speedy death without too much pain and fear. It's always a sadness, though.

    On a happier note, this morning I went out to get the paper and heard the unmistakable screeeee, screeeee, of Red-winged Blackbirds in the thicket. Not the full chorus we'll get later, but still a sign of hope. Later I saw six of the blackbirds on the ground (four yesterday). All males so far.

    Claire

  • terrene
    15 years ago

    Oh dear, Lisa, that's sad. Poor squirrel was probably cut from a sharp piece of plastic, which gets brittle when it's cold. Hope it doesn't suffer too much, whatever its fate... :(

    Guess we just have to keep on trying to make things as safe as possible for the wildlife. My feeders are pole-mounted about 5-6 feet off the ground, which is very functional for me and the birds love it. They have squirrel/raccoon baffles which keep the chipsmunks and squirrels (and raccoons) off. They aren't deprived though, they get plenty of BOSS that falls to the ground, and I toss tidbits on the ground a couple times a week.

    On a happier note, the Bluebirds were AWOL on that really cold windy day, but they returned the next day. It was probably too dang cold for them too. I bought them a new tray for their suet nuggets. Much improved over the dinky pie pan and Gorilla tape. They are the only birds who get special feedings, or else the other birds will eat all the nuggets. They've got me totally wrapped! :)

    It is not easy to get decent pictures with a lousy camera and a window that faces south, but here are a few of the Blues on their new tray. IRL, they are much prettier than these photos.

    These females look like they're trying to tell me to come "fix" the tray and bring them some nuggets!
    {{gwi:1058880}}

    Later on I cleaned off the snow and spread some suet crumbles for them. The Bluebirds come swooping in to gobble them down.
    {{gwi:1058881}}

    This picture was taken yesterday, standing outside about 10-12 feet away from the feeder, right after filling the tray. They have become fairly tolerant of my presence.
    {{gwi:355049}}

  • mskee
    15 years ago

    terrene,
    How lucky you are to have those beautiful birds visiting your yard this winter. That electric blue of the male is like no other!

    I used to have a nice variety of back yard birds (no Bluebirds, though), but, I currently have a "yard bully." A Northern Mockingbird has decided that he "owns" my feeder. He swoops down on any bird that comes near it. When he's not eating, he sits on a tree limb, waiting for the next hapless, hungry chump to come by! So, I removed the feeder today. I'm hoping that if it's gone for a few days, he/she will go find a different territory to claim.
    Any other suggestions?

    Emily

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    terrene: Those Bluebirds really deserve the new tray, and the females are definitely in charge of making sure it's refilled promptly!

    Emily: I have no useful suggestions. I have a somewhat similar situation with a Yellow-rumped Warbler who thinks he owns a suet feeder. Luckily, he's too small to chase away anything bigger than a siskin or goldfinch, so he just hangs around and glares at all other birds, or squirrels, that dare to eat his suet. He always outlasts them though - when they're through, he's still there.

    Claire

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Hi Kids,

    Emily, I have no advice re: that pesky Mockingbird but I would think that taking in the feeders for a few days is a good start. This is the time of year that the birds are starting to assert themselves, marking their territory. As soon as you can hear a few bird songs in the morning you know they are getting ready to get busy. But on the other hand, what you are seeing may be normal behavior for the Northern Mockingbird, no matter what time of year it is.

    Claire, I have the same issue with YRW. I have three of the little cuties, one of which will do his best to run off the other two. I have three suet feeders so it's not that much of an issue but, he tries to guard all three feeders. He is one busy little bird.

    Enjoy the warmer weather and longer days, everyone!

    sooey

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Emily: Maybe a separate feeder would help if you have space. It sort of depends on how territorial the Mockingbird is and how big an area it's willing to claim.

    Back on January 12 I took this photo of the butter butt (YRW) glaring at a Carolina Wren eating suet. I guess the wren is a big bird, if you're a warbler.

    I may have a new hawk problem. First thing Sunday morning the bird population was normal, but in late morning they all disappeared. Usually when that happens I look around for the Cooper's Hawk. In a little while it moves on and the birds come back. But they didn't come back all afternoon; not even when I refilled the feeders around 4 pm.

    This morning there were only a few birds and those were very wary. A little later I was outside and heard loud crow yelling in the woods, and saw crow reinforcements flying in from different directions. Much noise in the distance, then it quieted down. Something is going on.

    Today is a PFW count day, and the regulars are straggling in, but very slowly and not the normal counts.

    Claire

  • mskee
    15 years ago

    Sooey and Claire,
    Thanks for your advice...I do have a few feeders, but my yard isn't very large, so the feeders are within 30 feet of each other. Here's a picture of the bully, "guarding" the base of the tube feeder. Note the effective squirrel baffle, which has become lower to the ground as the snow increases! Now they can just sort of use it as a launching pad to the pole.


    I'm going to put the feeders back out after the rains stop...probably on Friday. I may just be stuck with him!

    Claire, I must say you have a flair for capturing birds expressions with your camera! That YRW actually looks like he's narrowing his eyes in disgust at the wren, who is being quite nonchalant.

    Emily
    (I'm sorry about the size of the picture, but couldn't seem to shrink it...)

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Wow, Em, you have a lot of snow. Here on the Cape, we had a few inches last week but it all left with the warm weather we had on Saturday.

    sooey

  • terrene
    15 years ago

    Claire, that is a cute picture of the Wren and Warbler!

    Hi Emily, what do you feed in your feeders? Does the Mockingbird like all of it? I rarely see Mockingbirds here, but if you feed something that he doesn't like in one of the feeders, he may not feel so territorial about it.

    It's discouraging when the birds don't "play nice" together, but seems to be a pretty common problem. I never fed the birds at my previous house, but there was a Mockingbird that claimed the yard as his territory one year. He was particularly aggressive and used to dive-bomb my cats. He also started with his territorial noises EARLY in the morning and squawked constantly in a tree right outside the bedroom windows. A friend laughed at me when I complained about it, until she stayed over one night and the bird woke her up at 6 in the morning too!

    Fortunately, that bird only stayed around for one season. Hope your guy moves on soon...

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Emily: I've read that Mockingbirds really love fruit in the winter, and I remember my mother feeding a Mockingbird raisins every morning when she lived in Maryland. The bird would come to the windowsill for the raisins.

    Maybe if you set up a feeder with some raisins mixed in with seed, the bird would claim that feeder and leave the others alone. Probably a wild idea, but there don't seem to be many options.

    I've only seen Mockingbirds a few times here - for whatever reason they don't stay around.

    Claire

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Thats a good idea, Claire. Worth a try. I see Mockingbirds around during the spring and summer but I've never seen them at the feeders.

    sooey

  • mskee
    15 years ago

    Claire,
    Thanks for the tip...I'll definitely give it a try. I haven't put the main feeder back up yet--which holds sunflower chips. I also have a thistle sock, a tube feeder with the chips, and a suet cake. I have plenty of raisins, so I will try to set this up after the rains stop.

    Every once in a while, I think "he's gone..." but, then I see him flit from branch to branch, high up, watching over his domain! I really don't mind the Mockingbirds singing, even at 6:00 a.m., but I do miss my other birds. :(

    Emily

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    This morning I had about twenty Red-winged Blackbirds feeding in the yard, both males and females!

    Plus the first Common Grackle!

    This is about three weeks earlier than last year, when the big blackbird flocks arrived the first week in March. The yard is getting noisy with bird calls - I know it will get cold again soon, but the tables have turned. I wonder how long the big flocks of Pine Siskins will stay here - the Juncoes are getting fewer.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    It's getting serious now; about seventy Red-wings this morning, plus two Brown-headed Cowbirds (male and female) and one Common Grackle.

    You can see a grackle flying in on the upper left.

    The birds are very nervous and fly off suddenly. I usually just start shooting when they're on the ground and if I'm lucky I can catch the takeoff.

    The big flocks of Common Grackles should be coming soon - last year they were a week behind the Red-wings. I guess the cowbirds come with whoever raised them (Brown-headed Cowbirds being brood parasites). After a while the cowbirds find each other and flock together.

    Still got a lot of Pine Siskins here. An American Tree Sparrow is joining them for thistleseed. I've begun raking out the thistleseed to spread it through the lawn and give the grass a chance to grow.

    Claire

  • mskee
    15 years ago

    Claire,
    That is a wonderful shot of the Red Wings taking off!

    I saw my first one the other day...not at my feeder, but, near a local marsh. Spring will come, despite what my snow/ice-covered yard says.

    Emily

  • terrene
    15 years ago

    All your Blackbirds showing up Claire and 3 weeks early? Wow! Are they telling us that Spring is coming early? (one can only hope) They must be getting some signals from Ma nature. You are lucky, winter on the coast is more moderate.

    It still seems very wintry here, 20 F in the morning and barely above freezing during the day and still a lot of snow and ice. There are some little signs. The male Titmouse is making territorial calls and I think the Goldfinches might be getting a dab of yellow. Only seen a few Pine Siskins so far today, are they thinning out??

    Boy it's been busy with bird counts lately. 3 days last weekend, 4 days this weekend. And those dang Bluebirds have me hopping up to spread crumbles for them 3x day. Phew I need a break. :)

  • terrene
    15 years ago

    Although 4 days of counting is a bit hectic, overall it was fun bird weekend.

    Yesterday was one of the nicest afternoons this winter, so I went outside with the camera. Some of the birds
    have gotten comfortable enough to let me stand nearby the feeders and take pictures.

    The Pine Siskins are not very skittish, and even seem curious about me. I will miss these little birds
    when they go back up north.
    {{gwi:1058891}}

    {{gwi:1058893}}

    The Bluebirds and Chickadees are also friendly birds.
    {{gwi:1058894}}

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    It's striking how much calmer the birds look when the weather warms up a bit and the winds die down. There isn't quite that same urgency to feeding that they show when they're struggling to keep fueled under lousy conditions.

    I've also been counting for four days, and I have one more day to go since my PFW days are currently Monday and Tuesday. I hope to take it easy on Wednesday (although that will be the day the Ivory-billed Woodpecker shows up....).

    The Red-winged Blackbird counts were down today, to sixteen. I don't know if the major flock has moved on or if they were just checking out the neighborhood and will be back. Or maybe there's another wave flying in.

    Claire

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Hi Kids,

    Beautiful morning out there but not many birds. I filled the sunflower tube with standard boss, not the gourmet hearts. The birds do not seem to like it. I filled the feeder on Monday morning and now, two days later, it is still full. When that tube holds the hearts, I need to refill every afternoon. It seems I have created a bunch of seed snobs. So far today I have seen only one American Goldfinch and 0 Pine Siskin.

    The count continues...

    sooey

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I've also been seeing fewer birds here - the hanging feeders don't get emptied every day as they did in colder times. Most of the current birds are feeding on the ground, except for the Pine Siskins and American Goldfinches, which alternate between ground and sock feeders.

    Large flocks of redwings and siskins still come sporadically, but the usual patronage is smaller flocks.

    There's been a recall by Scott's of some suet products because of questionable peanut content

    Products involved in the recall, only for items manufactured between Dec. 27 and Jan. 17, are:

    Â Morning Song Nutty Safari Suet, 11 oz.

    Â Morning Song Woodpecker Suet 3 pack, 1.78 lbs.

    Â Royal Wing Raisin Suet, 11.75 oz.

    Â Morning Melodies Variety Suet (3 count).

    Â Morning Song Variety 15-pack suet, multi-pack with 15 suets and feeder.

    The Birdchick Blog has a general listing of safe suet and comments from Cornell Lab of Ornithology

    I usually buy C&S suet, and their website insists that they have very high quality control standards.

    The bottom line seems to be that most suet products with peanut ingredients are safe, both for the birds and for the people handling the suet.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    After the orgy of bird-counting in the last few weeks, things are getting back to normal here. However, there are real signs of season change (much more welcome than climate change).

    The Red-winged Blackbirds have mostly moved on; there were only three left the last few days. I'm seeing a pattern of birds about to migrate - they perch in the top of big oaks where they probably get a 360 degree view of sky (I haven't climbed up there to confirm, nor am I about to). In the late summer and fall, the grackles and jays hung up there for a few days, then suddenly left, as if they were watchng for a flock to fly by and they joined it.

    Two weeks ago there were about 60 Red-wings perching in the oaks, then last week the count was down to about 20. Now just the three who may be staying here, or maybe not. I had a few all winter.

    The Pine Siskins are still around, but about 25 rather than 60 at a time. The American Goldfinches are showing more yellow and white.

    I'm still waiting for the mob of Common Grackles - they usually stay and breed here.

    Northern Cardinals are always here, and often associate with the native sparrows. The colors of the birds seem to be intensified: today this female Cardinal was feeding with a White-throated Sparrow. The Cardinal almost seems to be wearing lipstick. Lots of male Cardinals to entice.

    Claire

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Yes, Claire, the Goldfinch are starting to change their look...yellow/gold and white, very fancy... I have not seen a White-throated Sparrow yet this season but I still have at least two Song Sparrows that stay around. They love spending time in the heated bird bath. The Pine Siskin have become fewer in number but, they are still here. The Butter Bums are happy as long as there is suet to be had. And, today I had two Flickers at the suet at the same time. But for me the biggest and best change I have noticed is the number of birds singing in the morning. What a delight to awake to such music.

    Just over a month left in the PFW season. It's going very fast.

    sooey

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Hi Kids,

    It's getting late in the PFW season...only a few weeks left. My bird numbers are down. The Pine Siskin are still around but the Goldfinch have fallen in number. The YRW are still around and after the suet from sun up till sun down. All the other birds are still here but few and far between. I've been looking for the Pine Warbler to return. As I recall, I first noticed the PW about this time last year.

    Anyone else notice a big change in their feeder activity?

    sooey

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    It kind of depends on the species - the Pine Siskin and American Goldfinch numbers are down, but the native sparrow and cardinal numbers are up a bit. I suspect it's because males and females are now tolerating each other, rather than chasing the others away.

    During the winter, I would only see one or two Song Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows at the same time, and that only fleetingly. This week I had four Song Sparrows and five White-throats for my count. It's easier to tell with the cardinals since the males and females are obviously different. In the winter the boys stay on one side of the gym and the girls on the other. They're beginning to dance together now.

    Today I saw three battling butter-butts (YRW) flying back and forth trying to access the suet cage on the wisteria. I have three separate suet stations so there should be one for each, but no, they all seem to want the wisteria station.

    I had twenty species for this week's count - the range has been 18 to 22 species for the last month or so.

    6 Blue Jays
    6 Northern Cardinals
    2 Mourning Doves
    2 Black-capped Chickadees
    1 Tufted Titmouse
    5 Dark-eyed Juncos
    4 Song Sparrows
    5 White-throated Sparrows
    1 American Tree Sparrow
    6 House Sparrows
    13 Red-winged Blackbirds
    3 European Starlings
    1 Downy Woodpecker
    1 House Finch
    11 American Goldfinches
    9 Pine Siskins
    1 Carolina Wren
    1 Yellow-rumped Warbler
    5 American Crows
    1 Eastern Towhee

    I'm still waiting for the grackles. All of the birds are nervous, the Cooper's Hawk is around and is all business. It (or another one) used to hang around and look for unwary birds - now I just see a flash as it swoops down trying to catch a bird, and then it swoops up, stops for a minute on a tree, then flies off.

    Claire

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    That is a very interesting list, claire. My count from last week had 15 species but this week I had only 11. My count for Feb 25 - 26 was very simple...

    2 Blue Jays
    1 Northern Cardinal
    2 Black-capped Chckadees
    2 Tufted Titmouse
    1 Song Sparrow
    8 American Goldfinch
    8 Pine Siskin
    2 House Finch
    3 Yellow-rumped Warbler
    1 American Robin
    1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
    1 White-breaster Nuthatch
    2 Northern Flicker
    2 Downy Woodpecker
    1 Harry Woodpecker

    These numbers are low. It's much more the norm for my numbers of Chicadees, Titmouse, Goldfinch & Song Sparrow to be double what I have listed above. On normal days I also see Juncos, Carolina Wrens, Mourning Doves, Crows and Red Belly woodpeckers but, not during last weeks count.

    At my feeders I do not see, House Sparrow (whew), Eastern Towhee, Red-wing Blackbirds and I'm not completly sure if I have ever had an American Tree Sparrow and, I have had no White-throated Sparrows this season. I did see what I think was a Coopers Hawk a few weeks ago but it was not on a count day and it was not here long enough for me to get a positive ID.

    sooey

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    sooey: I was amused as the sun began to go down, and the butter-butts came in for the last snack of suet. Suddenly no battling, just one butter-butt at each of the three suet stations. I guess a lot of the battling is theatrics that doesn't get in the way of sustenance.

    One thing I do have lately is a lot of squirrels - 15 to 20 at a time. If you look closely, there's a bunch of them near the tube feeder on the left, and another bunch under the hopper feeder beyond the winterberry on the right.


    I was worried at first that there'd be no food left for the birds and they'd fly away in despair. Surprisingly, the squirrel mob only stays for a short time early in the morning and then they leave, as if they were bussed in for breakfast and then bussed out for another place. A few stay all day, but the birds do fine, they just wait for the mob to clear out.

    Very few nuthatches this year, just a White-breasted Nuthatch early in the season, then only once in the last few months.

    Claire

  • terrene
    15 years ago

    Hi guys, I'm around, still counting the birdies! But getting ramped up on Winter sowing and I did a seed offer on the Seed Exchange so I am filling SASBEs (self-addressed stamped bubble envelops) with seeds these days. Anybody here want seeds??? :)

    The only exciting appearance this past weekend were 7 Red Winged Blackbirds (6 males and 1 female)! I rarely see them and usually it's only 1 or 2.

    Lots more Goldfinches than ususal and plenty of Pine Siskins still hanging around.

    Most recent count (last Sunday-Monday, including the storm) - 18 species

    4 Eastern Bluebirds
    9 Northern Cardinals
    2 Black-capped Chickadees
    1 Tufted Titmouse
    10 Dark-eyed Juncos
    3 White-throated Sparrows
    3 House Sparrows
    7 Red-winged Blackbirds
    1 European Starling
    3 Downy Woodpecker
    1 Hairy Woodpecker
    1 Red bellied woodpecker
    1 White breasted Nuthatch
    6 House Finches
    18 American Goldfinches
    18 Pine Siskins
    2 Carolina Wren
    1 Sharp shinned Hawk

    How many more weeks of PFW do we have left?

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Hi Kids,

    I think PFW runs through the first Friday of April...the 3rd? We have only 4 week left.

    Claire & Terrene, we all show low numbers of Titmouse & Chicadees. In checking my PFW data from last year, I find that my numbers for these two cuties are down by 50%. I have no idea what that means, if anything, but it is interesting to note.

    Terrene, what seeds do you have?

    sj

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    April 3 is the end (of counting, anyway - the feeders stay up for me).

    sooey: I always have low numbers of chickadees and titmice; It's rare for me to see three at a time. They're in the woods here, so I don't know if I have 50 birds coming single-file or whether most of them don't bother with the feeders. They almost always swoop in to grab a bite and then eat it in a nearby tree. Sometimes I can tell if there's two by the direction they come in (one from the left, one from the right, one from the left, one from the right....)

    It's interesting also that all three of us have roughly equal numbers of Pine Siskins and American Goldfinches. During the big siskin invasion the goldfinch numbers went way down, as if they had left the premises. Now that there are fewer siskins the goldfinches have come back. The first few times I got equal numbers I worried that I was miscounting the birds and I obsessed over counting with field glasses and photographing them, but I finally decided the numbers were correct. Maybe this is some sort of a natural balance of what each species will tolerate nearby? and/or the capacity of the sock feeders? There are mixed flocks at the socks, but usually the goldfinches come first and then the siskins later.

    On another note, I'm wondering about the capitalization of bird names issue. I have no problem with capitalizing American Goldfinches and Pine Siskins as definitive names, but I would prefer to just say goldfinches and siskins as generic terms. Besides, it's a pain to capitalize and type out the full name when there's no confusion as to what I'm talking about.

    What do you guys think?

    Claire (who is known as claire on GW where there's only one of me with this particular name. If there were other GWclaires, it would be different....)

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Hi KIds,

    Claire, I also wonder about the number of chickadees & titmouse in the woods/trees. The goldfince & siskins tend to land and stay on the feeders until they are tossed off by others. The chickadees and titmouse grab and fly. I know I should review what PFW says about the best way to estimate bird numbers in trees. I tend to over think it and feel better about my numbers if I see and count the birds while they are on the feeders. We all know that the different species have different habits, grab and fly being common with both the chickadees & titmouse. Makes me doubt my numbers.

    My siskins/goldfinch numbers have been equal for every count save one. On that one, the siskins out numbered goldfinch by two.

    Squirrels...claire, you have a lot of squirrels. I have noticed an uptick of the little cuties over the past month. I have about 5 grays that have gotten very bold. It's more of a challange to keep them away from the feeders. I tried another thistle sock and sure enough, the squirrles had a feast. The sock lasted all of one day. I have now started to see the much smaller red squirrel. We have had them before but not in the numbers I am seeing now. Three of them were skampering about, showing signs of spring like behavior last week. Cute little buggers but much more distructive than the grays...or so I have been told.

    The birds songs of morning continue to be on the increase. I love it.

    sooey
    who thinks she is the only sooey on GW. Or, was she just the first?