Thursday, December 19, 2013

Frosty Mornings

In between holiday preparations, snow shoveling, and dog walking, I took some pictures of the birds that flocked to my feeders this week during the snowfalls and frigid temperatures. They looked striking against a frosty backdrop. When the feeders were crowded, the goldfinches and juncos opted for seeds from the garden flowers. A Red-bellied Woodpecker jabbed at an apple on one of the trees in the yard. A Carolina Wren ate privet berries from my neighbor's hedge. The juncos and American Tree Sparrow hopped under the dried, snow topped Miscanthus sinensis grass for cover. It was five degrees one morning when I took some of the shots. I didn't last outside for long.
Dark-eyed Juncos

Tufted Titmouse

Miscanthus sinensis grass
American Tree Sparrow and Goldfinch

Blue Jay

Carolina Wren

Monday, December 16, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Project Feeder Watch

The first week of November, I began my eighth season of participating in Project Feeder Watch. From November through early April, I will watch my bird feeders two consecutive days of the week. I'll record the temperature, precipatation, amount of snow and the greatest number of each bird species that I see at one time at the feeders, eating flowerhead seeds or insects in the the yard and garden. My own data collection site through Cornell Lab of Ornithology, allows me to easily look back and see what birds were in my yard a half dozen years ago, how much snow we had and what the temps were. I always have a hard time transitioning to less time spent outside as winter approaches. This citizen science project connects me to the outside world even on the most frigid of days. Peering out into the yard, binoculars in hand, I have begun to have an appreciation for the garden in winter.  I enjoy seeing the many shades of brown, rust, and wheat that the perrenials and grasses have taken on as they wither and dry. I leave most everything up in the garden beds for winter interest, as well as, so the birds can eat the seed heads of the plants and so that wildlife has cover. Just today, three White-throated Sparrows and a half dozen Dark-eyed Juncos foraged in the leaf litter in the garden and yard. They were joined by a couple of Blue Jays and several Mourning Doves all looking for food on the ground. I noticed how the female junco blended in so well with the ground cover.  Chickadees clung to the Northern Sea Oats, a native grass, and nibbled on the seeds. A Carolina Wren sat quietly at the feeder seeming to contemplate its next move. Unfortunately, it didn't stick around for a picture. Over the last eight years I have had thirty different species of birds in the yard. I'll let you know if that number changes this season.
Goldfinch Strikes A Pose

Female Dark-eyed Junco

Feeder for two, please!