It`s the time of year when many people put out bird feeders and hope to see some interesting birds among the hardy few species that stay here all winter. To be honest, our efforts haven`t been very successful the past few years, but I`ve made a determined effort to improve on my meager efforts this year. Yesterday I got the sunflower seeds out, and today the first birds appeared.
The Chickadees are the most common visitors we get. They stay here all year, though they disappear into the woods over the summer to nest. Then they regather around feeders, and come and go all day long.
We have these two `squirrel proof`feeders that actually seem to work, and I buy just black oil sunflowers. The best price around here is at the Walter`s Falls Feed Mill, where I buy it in 50 lbs. bags, and they toss it in the back of my car for me.
Chickadees dash in to the feeders, grab a sunflower seed and take it away where they usually hold it down with their foot, and peck at it to get out the edible nut. Then back to the feeder for another, come and go all the time.
Sometimes they dash in and out again so fast they`re just a blur, but sometimes they have to sit and take two or three tries to grab a seed securely. These feeders are a fair distance from the window, and I don`t have a huge camera lens, so it`s hard to get a closer picture than these, which are already cropped. I enjoy seeing the birds, but I don`t think I`ll ever be a bird photographer!
We also get Goldfinch at the feeders. They come in a small flock of maybe 8-10 birds, who swoop in for a time, and then all disappear again. At this time of year the bright yellows of their plumage have faded. If I see them, I can recognize them as they arrive; they fly with a unique gentle `bouncing`motion.
Because Goldfinch can split the sunflower seeds in their beak, they just sit on the feeders to eat, often staying there several minutes, and eating all the time. The Chickadees have to fight for a chance to get their share.
They seem to me to be greedy little birds, and sometimes we`ll have 4 on a single feeder. They don`t mind sitting close to each other and they just sit there eating for quite a while, so they completely dominate the Chickadees, who seem nervous in the face of the competition.
This Chickadee was sitting in the Spruce, waiting a moment to swoop in and get a seed in spite of the Goldfinch sitting on the other side of the feeder. In any case, it`s a nice change in the season to see a few birds outside our window. Now, if I could get the focus clear on these birds!
Walking time with the dog: 20 minutes. Walking time in the woods: 1.5 hours, though a lot of that was slow exploring, and taking pictures. Still, it counts!