Birds in the Storm

Fox Sparrow & Northern Cardinal
Fox Sparrow & Northern Cardinal

The most active and interesting days are often not the bright beautiful sunny days but the stormy days when birds are eager to eat as much as they can to keep energy levels high. Yesterday’s storm brought us just such a day with really interesting feathered visitors and activity, so I have pictures and stories to share with you.

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Watching the Birds Rise

White-Throated Sparrow
Early Morning White-Throated Sparrow

There is something very special about watching a new day begin. From quiet darkness, to the first early chirps, to the first few winged visitors, building to the busy activity of dozens, the local birds are a big part of the start of each new day. If you pay attention, you are likely to see patterns in the bird activity in your yard. Every yard is different and every day is different, but this is the pattern I see on a typical winter morning in my yard.

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A Fox Sparrow Visit

Fox Sparrow
Fox Sparrow

On Sunday¬†a Fox Sparrow came to visit. These little birds occasionally show up in our yard, but they aren’t regulars, so it is always fun to see one hopping around on the ground with the other sparrows.

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Putting a Ground Feeder on a Pole

This "Fly-Through" Platform Feeder Used to Be a Ground Feeder
This “Fly-Through” Platform Feeder (left) Used to Be a Ground Feeder

I have a lot of bird feeders. Each new season brings changes to the bird dynamics in the yard so I tend to do some tweaking of feeders or their placement each season. During warmer months, birds have a wider variety of natural foods available so, while they still eat birdseed, they don’t go through as much of it. Now that fall has arrived, birdseed consumption will soon be picking up. I want to see if I can reduce the amount of seed winding up in squirrel bellies this winter, so I made another change in my set-up. This time, it involves turning a ground platform feeder into a platform feeder on top of a pole.

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The Goldfinches of Fall

Fall American Goldfinch
Fall American Goldfinch

American Goldfinches like my yard. It took me awhile to entice them to visit, but once they came, they seemed to have liked the ambiance and have stayed, pretty much year round, only leaving for short periods every now and then when the local Coopers Hawk gets too carried away. They stay busy around the flowers in the warmer months, the seed heads in the fall and pinecones up at the top of the pines in the cooler months. They seem to check out everything, from the lilac bushes in the spring, to zinnias and strawflowers in the summer, to flowers and seeds on weeds in the fall.

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Birds Choice Hanging Open Platform Feeder Review

White-Breasted Nuthatch, House Finches, American Goldfinch & Northern Cardinal in Feeder
White-Breasted Nuthatch, House Finches, American Goldfinch & Northern Cardinal Eating Sunflower Hearts in Birds Choice Hanging Platform Feeder (Dome Purchased Separately)

In the past year, as my bird-watching passion has grown, I’ve purchased quite a few bird feeders. You don’t have to have a zillion feeders of course, but I have found that having a variety of feeders can increase both the variety and the number of birds that come to visit and that’s what makes it fun! Some of the feeders have been clear winners from the start. Others have needed some tweaking to make them work for the birds in my yard. If you have considered purchasing a hanging platform bird feeder, read on!

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A Cooper’s Hawk Visit

Cooper's Hawk Sitting in a Tree After a Failed Hunting Attempt
Cooper’s Hawk Sitting in a Tree After a Failed Hunting Attempt

I’ve got a lot of bird feeders up in the yard which attract a lot of birds. These birds attract hawks of various kinds. In the past year, we’ve seen Red-Shouldered Hawks, Red-Tailed Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks and Sharp-Shined Hawks in the yard. Lately though, what we see most are Cooper’s Hawks.

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