Thursday, February 10, 2011

Project Feeder Watch

This morning when I finally got to sit down to count birds for Project Feeder Watch there were none around except for a lone house finch.  He sat at  a hopper feeder eating sunflower seeds and then flew to an apple tree. I wondered where his buddies were as I had noted earlier in the morning there were a half dozen house finches gathered at the feeders.  Perhaps he had spent a colder night than the rest. Maybe he was the one huddled closer to a cavity opening. He could have used up more energy trying to stay warm because of this and was now refueling.  I liked this spot at the second floor bedroom window- it's sunny and I can see the feeders and the apple trees and even right up one of the large maples in the front of the yard.  This finch was just hanging out at the top of an apple tree branch.  I looked closely to make sure he didn't have the finch eye disease and his eyes looked fine.  Ho-hum.  So where were the other birds?  It was sunny out and in the lower twenties so I ended up pushing myself out the door to walk around the neighborhood.  Luckily, a couple of finches had returned to the yard and took off when I came down the porch steps.  I followed them over to a neighbor's feeder where they all seemed to be hanging out.  They must be feeder hopping!  Why not?  Breakfast at one house, mid-morning snack at another, lunch down the block.  So then I wondered where do they sleep at night?  The Pileated Woodpecker has had an enormous excavation at one of the trees up on Prospect Avenue.  I went up to look at the hole but it seemed very clean and unused.   I saw one of my neighbors and asked permission to check out a tree in her yard.  I thought I saw a couple of gray feathers in a cavity in that tree so a possible roost spot!  I walked down to the stream by Pat's farm and there were a lot of possibilities for roosts in the trees along the bank.  By now I had no feeling in my right hand but I'll do anything to avoid cleaning, dishes and laundry.  I reminded myself  that I hadn't seen any turkey or ruffed grouse tracks in the woods lately.  There is only a couple of weeks left of the turkey count survey for D.E.C. and so into the woods I went walking one dog and then the other, looking for tracks, and enjoying the sunshine.  There were turkey tracks all over the woods!  A flock of turkeys seemed to have combed the entire south side of the woods east and west of the trail. With the hard crust of ice on top of the snow they did not sink down at all.  Unfortunately there is no bare ground and so there is very little for them to munch on in the way of seeds, nuts, and berries.  It appeared that they were checking out spots by grape vines and bittersweet.  I looked all over hoping to see the actual birds even checking up in trees but no luck.  Finally, I came inside to defrost.  I had intended to go out at dusk to check where the finches and chickadees might be roosting but I sat down to write this and the temperature has dropped to nineteen degrees.  I just might be dusting!