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claireplymouth

Project FeederWatch 2008/2009

Project FeederWatch starts this Saturday, Nov. 8 (tomorrow).

"Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the highest numbers of each species they see at their feeders from November through early April. FeederWatch helps scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.

Project FeederWatch is operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada."

This is a nice way to concentrate on the life in your garden this winter, rather than obsessing over dying annuals and dormant perennials, and rereading plant catalogs.

And it's fun to watch the birds, nurture and learn about them, and post your comments and maybe a photo or two.

It's not too late to join if you're a newbie.

Claire

Comments (36)

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Thank you for posting this, Claire. I thought about doing it this past week but never got around to it. Today is the first day of this new PFW season and I still have one of my feeders still sittling on the ground, empty. Not good...

    But ready or not, here we go...Project Feeder Watch, 2008 - 2009

    sooey
    sho has much to do with her day

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Since I don't have a garage to clean out (hee-hee) I can look at the birds at my leisure. Actually I planted some daffodil bulbs, moved some lilies, and propped up my wisteria pseudo-standard this morning.

    But before that, I glanced out another kitchen window and saw a cardinal a few feet away eating the bronze fennel seeds. The cardinals are usually very wary, but this looks like a young reckless male, a teenager no doubt. It's not technically a birdfeeder, but the fennel and pokeberries attract birds too.

    Claire

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    I love all these photographs, I can look at them nonstop all day long. I live out in Western MA and have a few feeding stations up, one that contains BOSS and Safflower seeds, a thistle sock and a double suet feeder. Lately my feeders are packed with different song birds, chickadees, titmice, pine siskins, finches, white breasted nuthatches, dark eyed juncos, male and female cardinals, although I believe there's only one male cardinal that I keep seeing and along with the two females. I also get occasional house sparrows but lately, they seem to be staying away. I have a bluebird house up in hopes of luring a pair to my yard to raise a family but I'm not keeping my hopes up. Yesterday I was home for the day and sitting in my living room and out my bay window in the front across the street, were two Pileated Woodpeckers, the first I've ever seen. They were working on this one tree for about 2-3 hours, one on each side of the tree and they managed to do a fantastic job carving out a couple of cavities, I was very impressed at how hard they worked. Only wish my camera had a better lense. I've had red bellied, downie and hairy woodpeckers at my suet feeders but never was lucky enough to witness a pileated so close and two for that matter, it was very exciting. Please keep the pictures coming, I so enjoy looking at them and love to hear that there are bluebirds not to far from where I live. Fingers are crossed that they come to visit my yard in the spring. Linda
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    Five (5) warblers on the rose arch today! Flying back and forth and taking turns on the suet. They seem to be used to me now and don't panic if I don't move too fast. This one landed on the wisteria pseudo-standard which is near the arch, and stared in at me. You looking at me?!?! sooey: I'll probably be shunned by the Birdfeeder Corp, but I rarely clean the tube feeder. When I first started using it, I'd top off the tube when the level of seed got below the top portals. But when I did this for a while, I noticed that the bottom layer of seed was getting nasty looking and moldy, particularly if it had rained recently. Naturally, I'd then take it apart and clean it thoroughly. After a while though, I started completely emptying out the tube feeder on the ground when it begins to get a bit low and I make sure the bottom floor of the tube is free of debris. Then I add brand new seed, filling up the tube feeder. This way the bottom layer of seed in the feeder is always fresh. This works very well since I spread seed on the ground anyway and it gets eaten up fast. I've never seen any evidence of disease in the birds, so I'm not worried at this time. I do clean the tube feeder when it begins to look like it needs it. Claire
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    Oh My! Jan...another 'Bird Whisperer' in your family. Just to let you know, I tried. I had a fist full of sunflower hearts, offered them in out streatched hand to a group of Chickadees and...nada...nothing...they just looked at me, tapping their little toes...waiting for me to leave. You and Mike (AKA Snow White & Prince Charming) have the magic touch... I like your pictures and yes, the Flicker is a very beautiful bird. I like to see them fly into the yard. With the sun behind them, their wings take on a bright golden/mustard tone as they fly. I love the distinct markings on their backs and that touch of red on the back of their head is remarkable. I feel the same way about the Red-Bellied Woodpecker. Both have the power to stop me in my track when I see them. Today is a PFW count day for me but before I could get started I needed to top off two feeders and replenish the suet. As soon as I got back in the house from doing so, I was rewarded with the Yellow-Rumped Warbler, back for some suet. I am also seeing more House Finch and, they look healthy. Just like all of you, I am also getting an increase in bird song...I love it! I'm also noticing that birds are starting to show up in pairs. I noticed it first in the Woodpeckers...another good sign. sooey
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    Early this morning the sun was bright (finally) and glinted off the Common Grackles at the feeders. Lots of grackles now. I may not have glamorous birds but they certainly are shiny. The top grackle looked like it thought it was King of the World. For all I know, maybe it is. The grackles on the ground were shiny too. I like to have the grackles here because they eat defoliating caterpillars (other birds do too) - flying pesticides. ----------------------------------------------------- I've been having an argument with a chickadee, or maybe several chickadees. Their "dee-dee-dee" call supposedly warns against predators, with the number of "dee's" corresponding to the level of danger. Yesterday and today I heard a "dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee" call when I went out to fill the feeders. I find this enormously insulting since I'm feeding the little brutes, so I'm trying to call back a short "dee-dee" every time I hear the long "dee" call. It seems to be working, or maybe they're just amused, because the string of "dees" is getting shorter. Claire (who really needs some spring)
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  • terrene
    15 years ago

    Thanks for the link, claire. I think I will sign up this year.

    It says you choose a count site to watch the birds on a regular basis, like your feeding station or even your yard. I think I would choose the yard because there are many birds that lurk in the trees and back yard but don't come up to the feeders. The other day there were at least 6 Bluebirds up in the Red pine trees. They come to the suet log too, but not 6 at a time.

    Do you guys watch just the feeders or your whole yard? How many hours do you watch usually?

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I watch the yard, or at least the front yard where the bird action usually takes place. My feeders are there, and birds hang around in the trees and shrubs and plants nearby. Lots of berries and seeds there too. Sparrows and doves usually don't go to the feeders, but will happily eat on the ground.

    My kitchen window looks out on the feeders, and the computer window views a birdbath, so I'll glance out often during the day time. A few minutes at a time add up, and I figure I'll watch a total of between 1 and 4 hours (their category) over the two day period. I keep the tally sheet by the kitchen window and just check off bird counts as I see them. Staring out in the midst of the early morning stupor adds up - that's when many birds are feeding and my coffee is brewing.

    You can count for less time, no problem.

    I'm retired so my time is flexible; I try to pick two consecutive days when I'm planning to hang around.

    Claire

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Hi terrene,

    Oh Good, another PFWer in our ranks! It's a lot of fun and you really do learn a great deal. I would say that I watch on average, 1 hour per watch day. Some days more, some days less. If I have a day with a lot of birds in the yard or, different birds that I do not see very often, I'll find myself watching for several hours. It's easy to get hooked. PFW will take what you can give them but I think they ask that you have a two day count once every two weeks.

    As far as the area that I watch, it's just about the entire back of the house. I think the PFW information page askes you to judge the size of your area and I think I listed mine as the size of a tennis court. For me, that includes three tube feeders, two suet feeders, the heated bird bath as well as all of the birds that are only ground feeders. I also watch from 2 - 3 windows and two sliders, where ever I can get the best view.

    It's a lot of fun and you will be surprised what you see when you take the time to really watch the birds. You'll see birds that you never noticed before.

    claire, great shot of that cardinal. Yes, he looks like a happy, healthy juvenile.

    sooey

  • terrene
    15 years ago

    Ohhh that sounds like fun! I did 3 bird counts last winter, 2 Xmas bird counts and then I think it was the Great backyard bird count?? Feederwatch sounds like a nice addition and not too demanding of time.

    I've seen your feeder area Claire, it is a bird paradise! What is your bird area like Sooey?

    I'm thinknig my count area would be about 3/4 acre, including the feeding station and back yard, where I'm making a little wildlife habitat. It attracts a lot of birds. Does that sound too big and overwhelming??

    I heard a Pileated Woodpecker in a big tree nearby today! It has the loudest bird call I've ever heard. He showed up for the first time a month ago or so - checked out a few snags in the yard. That is why I left those dead trees up. :)

    Is it a good idea to get a good set of binoculars? Do you guys use them?

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I also have done a few one day counts (GBBC or Mass Audubon) and expect to do them again this winter. PFW is special because you see the same birds every week and you really notice the unique behavior of each species.

    3/4 acre is big. The question is whether you can reasonably keep track of all of the birds. You don't have to count all of them (not likely), but the counts should be consistent throughout the season. If you think you can, then go for it.

    Or maybe divide the count area in two, and count feeding station one week and wildlife habitat the next week. You might email PFW and ask them - they're very responsive.

    I have good binoculars and do use them. I'm more likely though to grab my camera which has a 12X zoom which covers my area. Bonus is that I get to take a photo if something looks interesting.

    I've never seen or heard a Pileated Woodpecker - I just looked it up and listened to the sound file. Very impressive bird. I get mostly downies and red-bellies and sometimes a hairy or two,

    Claire

  • lschibley
    15 years ago

    I haven't done any real birding since the boys were born, but used to be a very serious birder. I did the Plymouth Christmas Bird Count last year and had so much fun. I'm definitely going to try and do it again. My best bird in the yard this season has been a Carolina Wren. This guy is so cute, inspecting all of my Halloween decorations. I'm sure there are some good bugs in those nooks and crannies.

    A Pileated Woodpecker is so cool, terrene! I've only seen them a few times.

    I don't think I will join the PFW officially, but I'd love to contribute to the thread, if that's ok. Let me know!

    Lisa

  • terrene
    15 years ago

    Hi Claire - hmmm might have to scale back my ambitions a bit! Not only is 3/4 acre rather large, but honestly, I am not skilled enough to id and count birds in such a large area. I couldn't figure out what bird was sitting in a Crabapple tree yesterday, and I was oh maybe 30 feet away, it was broad daylight and the thing wasn't flitting around - it was lazily eating crabapples! (I think it was a Robin?)

    I also am pretty bad at trying to figure out how many birds would be out there. It's terribly confusing when they are all flitting around. Maybe I'll start with the feedin station and the immediate area, then I could graduate if I get better at this bird-watching thing! :)

    Hey Lisa - not doing the PFW last year didn't stop me from contributing to the threads!! :) Maybe you will get back to more birding as your kids get older? FOr me, the bird-related activities help to pass the winter more enjoyably.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Lisa - anyone can contribute to the thread, being interested is the only requirement. Having people talk about birds helps the winter fly by (pun intended).

    terrene - that could easily have been a robin; they hang around all winter but I usually only see them if there's fruit available. This robin was eating pokeberries outside my window a week ago.

    My tube feeder is well-used; House Sparrows, of course, but I think that may be a Pine Siskin on the upper right perch. I just emailed photos to PFW for identification.

    And the Blue Jays hang on, although they sometimes fall off.

    The Song Sparrows don't go to the tube feeder, I don't know why not, but they seem to like the tall grasses.

    This Song Sparrow knows it's being watched; it amazes me how often my bird photos show a beady eye staring back at me. Incredible eyesight.

    And then there's the other critter that comes for lunch (and breakfast and dinner)....


    I won't be able to see my hopper feeder until the winterberry leaves fall (sigh).

    Claire

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Hi Kids,

    I have a question re: seed storage. Up until now, I have been getting my seed in big jugs. This season I would like to buy in bulk but I am not sure about the storage of all that seed. My question is...what is the best way and place to keep your seed. Claire...I think you keep some of your seed outside? I would love to keep two cans out on the deck, one with BOSS and one with safflower seed but am not sure how I could secure them in such a way that would keep the animals out. Any suggestions?

    Great shots, claire. It looks like your birds are back in good numbers. I have had the Song Sparrow at the thistle tube feeder this fall and I had the Chipping Sparrow at the same feeder this past spring and summer. Both were eating the fallen seed that was in the tray. That was a first for me.

    Has anyone see any Goldfinch around? I don't think I have see any, M or F in months. I got my sunflower tube feeder back up yesterday and so far it has attracted only Chickadee and Titmouse. It's the feeder that the Goldfinche have always cluster on. Where have they gone?

    sooey

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    According to a PFW email this morning, that's not a Pine Siskin.

    "The bill is too big for Pine Siskin. I'm pretty sure it is a female House Finch, but the stripes are cleaner than I would expect. It is possible that it is a female Purple Finch."

    Re seed storage:
    I have two containers out on the porch.

    1. A storage trunk I got on sale at Benny's that has two latches to close it and a hole for a lock. For a while I kept a twist tie in the holes, until I dropped it somewhere. I don't know if raccoons could open it - they haven't been a problem here (yet?). It's fairly heavy and nothing has chewed into it.

    It holds a 40 lb bag of birdseed with no problem. This bag is half full.

    2. I also have an old kitchen trash can which I close with a bungee. This one got a hole chewed into the back, although the seed was mostly untouched. Maybe the plastic gave the critter a stomach ache.

    A galvanized trash can secured with wire would probably be better, but I won't bother until I need to.

    Re goldfinches:

    I hadn't really noticed, but there haven't been many recently. This morning I saw several of them at the feeder, so maybe they're coming back. Could be that there's so many seeds in the woods this time of year that they don't need to bother with a feeder.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Oh, and about sparrows and thistle seed. If I sprinkle thistle seed on my bluestone path (conveniently right outside my computer window), I get sparrows and doves noshing away there in easy view.

    Claire

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Thank you, Claire. That storage trunk looks like it would work. I like the idea of being able to close a container without using bungee, those latches look very secure. In my cleaning out of the garage, I found that I have a small, galvanized trash can that I think will work. It has a carry handle that, when in the upright position, locks the lid in place. I'll give it a try. I'll also take a trip to Bennys in search of a trunk. If I can keep the seed outside, dry and away from the animals, it will eliminate the need to have those large seed jugs inside. It's not been a big problem so far but it takes up some space next to the slider that I would rather use for some plants. so many plants....

    re: your bird ID question. I can be of no help to you but, if it's between a House or Purple finch, I would hope for a Purple Finch. Of late, I have seen very, very few of them on our part of the Cape. In fact, last season I saw only one male PF. Lots of House but only one Purple.

    The Song Sparrow might be my new, favorite bird. I love their makinings. I saw my first white Throated Sparrow of the season this past week but I have yet to see a Brown Creeper. I'm not sure when I first noticed them last year. I'll have to check my records. Humm...do I have records?

    I just saw a squirrl at my sunflower tube feeder...the one that is 13' off the ground...rats...grrrrr..

    sooey

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    I just checked my PFW data from last season. I first reported seeing the Brown Creeper on January 15th. I remember that it took me about a week to get a good pic to send off to PFW for an ID. I sure learned a lot last season.

    sooey

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Sooey: I bought that trunk last year at Benny's - you might want to call first to see if they have any (unless you're close by).

    I had eleven (11) turkeys today scratching around under the feeders. Incredible tilling machines - I've changed the areas where I spread seed because of the damage to roots.

    Right now they stay here for a few days then walk off to other areas of their range and don't come back for about a week. I hope this continues. I love seeing them, but I don't want to be feeding them every day all winter. Gulp.

    Claire

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    OK, I just finished my first two count days of the season for PFW. It's good to be back at it. Still no Goldfinch and no House finch. Lots of Titmouse, some Chickadees, a few Bluejays, Mourning doves, white Breasted Nuthatch, Crows a few Carninals. Oh, and two Song Sparrows, one that sat IN the tray under a tube feeder for most of the day. Did not seem to matter which feeder, safflower or thistle but s/he was there just about every time I looked out. That is so different from last year. Last year a Song Sparrow would sit in the bird bath for 10 - 15 minutes at a time but always fed from the ground. I guess they like the seed trays. The Cardnials like the seed trays also, much easier for them to get to the seed. One big differance from last year...squirrls have discovered how to get to the tube feeder that has the sunflower seed...rats. I need to out smart those little buggers.

    And Claire, no Turkeys in my yard on Cape Cod. I am sure they are here but I have not seen them. Yes, they eat a lot and can make a real mess in the yard. You know when they have been through.

    sooey

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I have pretty much the same collection of birds as sooey does, except that I have lots of turkeys and a few House Finches and Goldfinches.

    This year I have much fewer crows, and I wonder whether now they are Fish Crows, not American Crows. They seem different - smaller, and with a little less attitude. It may be just my imagination, but I've read that American Crows are very susceptible to West Nile Virus, while Fish Crows are more resistant.

    Concerning squirrels on the feeders, I've good luck with the metal squirrel baffles. I have them on both the tube and the hopper feeders. The squirrels do sometimes manage to knock them down (I think they rent cherry pickers) but the baffle works most of the time. I just occasionally have to put them back up. A few days ago I had to reinstall this one, and a furious squirrel hung on the nearby tree trunk yelling at me ("Those cursed turkeys keep eating the food and now she's putting a wall up!") I spread some more seed on the ground as consolation.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I looked out this morning and saw what I think is a Sharp-shinned Hawk (could be a small Cooper's Hawk) perched on the winterberry.


    It calmly looked around, and then changed its position.

    Next it flew to the top of the tube feeder and looked around for breakfast.

    Needless to say, I didn't see any other birds for a while.

    Claire (trying not to take sides)

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Oh My Goodness, claire...what a BEAUTY! Look at those yellow legs and feet! Great shots!

    We have had a lot of activity today. Lots of birds as well as squirrls. I have become very good with my trusty sling shot! I am still using dried kidney beans as my ammo so the squirrels are not in much danger. But, they still don't like to see me walk out onto the deck while they are having a snack at one of the feeders. I'll get those little suckers!

    I think I saw a female Goldfinch yesterday. I was very happy. Still no House Finch. where have they gone?

    sooey

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    According to PFW, that hawk was a Cooper's Hawk. It came back today.

    I saw a Red-winged Blackbird yesterday - the feathered back is gorgeous! It almost looks like a big beetle from the back. This is probably a first-year male.

    I put out my heated birdbath yesterday since the weather is forecast to turn cold this week and the regular birdbaths will freeze up. That's a hose being drained for the winter. I checked last night and no birds had found it yet, but this morning the turkeys were there.

    And while they were hanging around the birdbath, some of them decided to use the Adirondack chairs and enjoy the view.

    I think there's going to be a lot of turkeys this winter.... I need to stock up on seed.

    Claire

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Beautful Red Wing Blackbird. What a beautiful shot of his back. So many Turkeys and so BIG! They eat a lot...gulp...

    I had my first Goldfinch today. I was very happy to see them back at the feeders. I also had my first House Finch of the season. All is right with the world after all.

    sooey

  • franeli
    15 years ago

    I have to show hubbie your hawk photos! Beautiful.
    Great set up you have with all the feeders and habitat,claire.
    Had a few chuckles with your commentary about the turkeys using the chairs to enjoy the view!
    I finally have my feeders up...mrs. bear should be in her den by now with 14F and snow squalls.
    (I do the Audubon winter backyard count in Feb.)

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    It's been unseasonably cold here, and the birdbaths were frozen solid this morning, except for the heated one. The heated birdbath is on the other side of the house and not all of the birds have found it yet. I looked out early this morning and suddenly two Mourning Doves flew up to the window, right in my face, stared at me, and then flew over to the frozen birdbath to join some other doves. A clear request for some liquid water, please. They flew off in the direction of the pond before I got out there.

    A few days ago I saw a Tufted Titmouse lurking by the copper birdbath - I don't know if it was watching out for predators, or just getting up the nerve to approach cold water.

    I decided to get some cracked corn (cheaper) for the turkeys, and got a 50 lb bag at Wareham Feed. I mentioned I had about a dozen turkeys to feed, and the guy laughed and said everyone does. He knows one person who has 30 turkeys in his yard. 30 turkeys! Wasn't it just a while back when they were struggling to re-introduce turkeys in Massachusetts? I guess it worked.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    This morning a flock of robins descended on my winterberry - I guess the berries are ripe enough for them now.

    There's that annoying camera again.

    Which ones should I eat next?

    Maybe this bunch?

    The farthest away is always the best.

    Traditionally, the appearance of robins is a harbinger of spring - does that mean that spring is only six months away?

    Claire

  • Thyme2dig NH Zone 5
    15 years ago

    Claire, your photos are incredible. The hawk pictures are just beautiful. Your yard is such a wonderful haven for the birds and I have very much enjoyed looking at all of your photos. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Thanks, franeli and thyme2dig. I get enormous pleasure out of taking the photos, and I'm delighted that other people enjoy them too.

    Today I saw another male cardinal at the pokeberry right outside my kitchen window. I barely had to use the zoom he was so close.

    He almost seemed to be posing for me; he probably knows how handsome he is with the bright red and black color scheme.

    You still watching me?

    This is my better profile - eat your heart out.


    I can't imagine a garden now without birds.

    Claire

  • terrene
    15 years ago

    Just catching up on this thread, and also getting a lot of enjoyment from your commentary Claire! The turkeys on the chairs - that is a hoot! But I can see why they would love that view. :) You have a great habitat there and the Winterberry is gorgeous this year.

    Great pictures of the hawk. Amazing eyes they have, don't they? I wonder what it would be like to see the world through the eyes of a hawk.

    I still haven't registered at PFW, been too busy to do a bird count yet, but there are lots of birdies flitting around here too and I'm looking forward to spending a little more time watching them.

  • lschibley
    15 years ago

    My bird of the week was a Red-bellied Woodpecker. I've only seen them a handful of times since moving here so it was a treat. They are very cute.

    Lisa

  • lschibley
    15 years ago

    My bird of the week was a Red-bellied Woodpecker. I've only seen them a handful of times since moving here so it was a treat. They are very cute.

    Lisa

  • terrene
    15 years ago

    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.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Lisa: The Red-bellies are beautiful birds. I see them occasionally in the summer but they mostly stay in the woods then. Now the woodpeckers are beginning to come in to my feeders and I saw a Red-belly last week. I'm seeing Downy Woodpeckers fairly often now, and there seems to be a territorial battle going on between a White-breasted Nuthatch and a Downy.

    The Red-bellied Woodpecker is the only woodpecker in my yard that visits the tube and hopper feeders, as well as suet.

    terrene: Welcome to PFW! You have Red-breasted Nuthatches and Juncos? None here yet, although the White-throated Sparrows have been here for about a month. They look like little terriers when they scratch around in the mulch.

    There were some articles recently in the NY Times about PFW.

    Fly Up and Be Counted!

    Eat Up, Little Chickadee

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Some of the winter regulars are coming in now - today I saw my first American Tree Sparrow of the season. I first recognized them last year.

    I think it's looking for thistle seed that I spilled on the path yesterday. The spill was accidental, but I like to throw it there anyway because I can see the birds from my computer window.

    Last week I thought I saw a warbler flash by, but I didn't really believe it until I heard the dreaded thud of a bird hitting glass today. A Yellow-rumped Warbler (I dislike that name, I like the old Myrtle Warbler name better) was sitting stunned on the deck by the glass slider. Very convenient for photography, but I felt horrible. It probably saw the in-house forest through the glass door and decided to fly in. After a while it flew off, so I hope it's OK.

    A few starlings today also, but they usually don't hang around for long.

    Claire

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Gosh, Claire, I'm sorry to see your YRW hit the window but happy to see him still in the area. I haven't seen any at my feeders or suet but then again, my PFW time has not been what it should be. I missed a week with Thanksgiving and now, there are very few birds around. Where did they go? I need to get back into the swing of things.

    But...I am happy to say that I saw my first Brown Creeper of the winter today! I was so happy to see him at the suet feeder, which was empty, that I ran right out, still wearing my PJs, to add a big chunk of suet...it was only 15*...burrrrr. Such cute little birds, always heading up the tree, never down.

    Happy birding everyone!

    sooey

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Sooey, I think I've only seen a Brown Creeper once, and that was a few years ago.

    I have lots of common birds like the Downy Woodpecker I saw this morning. I like the Downies; they don't scare easily and they make a sweet "pik" sound when they see me at the feeder.

    And then there are the American Crows - a very very different personality, but I like them too. About all they have in common with the Downies is a love for suet. This one is eying the suet like a hawk eying a sparrow.

    Maybe it considered flying over,

    but decided a good stretch would just reach the suet.

    I haven't seen any turkeys for a few weeks now. I don't know if they got scared away, or just found a place that gives them something they like better than cracked corn. I'm torn between missing them and being very glad I just have small birds to feed.

    Claire

  • sooey
    15 years ago

    Hi Claire,

    I have a love/hate relationship with the American Crow. They can clean out my big, tree mounted suet feeder in no time at all. They call their buddies when I'm not looking and make off with hunks of suet, leaving nothing for the smaller birds. But, they need to eat just like the rest of the birds. I just wish they took smaller pieces.

    I love the little Downy. Always dependable and happy to find suet. The Brown Creeper makes the same type of sound but instead of being a 'pik' it's more like a very soft and high pitched 'ssit, ssit, ssit'. I can hear them when I'm filling suet and feeders. I was happy to see him/her back yesterday.

    sooey