Snow Day for the Birds

With all the snow and very cold temperates this January we’ve had, my bird feeders have been full of birds looking for some good nutrition to keep them warm!

Please remember: Do Not feed birds any form of bread. It starves them to death by filling them up with food that offers no nutrition. They need fat and protein to keep warm, which why birdseed and suet is great! Read a previous blog post Feeding Birds in Winter.

I’ve seen all kinds of species of birds out there and it’s been fun to watch!

Just like us, birds too have to deal with snow! I observed them hopping around from stem to stem in my garden so they didn’t have to trudge through snow looking for food. Getting their legs wet could lead to frostbite.

Ah ha, another reason to keep those perennials standing through winter!

I’ve seen some of the female cardinals eating hoary skullcap seeds in the garden too.

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There are always lots of housefinches. They’re not shy and love to eat. The males have red on their upper bodies, but the females are all brown. They can be confused with sparrows. They love both sunflower and safflower seeds. They really love to chat with each other too.

Also hanging out is a goldfinch on the far left, along with a female cardinal behind the feeder.

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This male housefinch has his feathers fluffed up to conserve heat.

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This is Georgia, a female Downy Woodpecker. Every morning she’s out in the maple tree chirping. I see her more often than her male partner, Plez, but he’s been coming around more, I guess since it’s so cold and he’s hungry! He has a red spot on his head that marks him as a male. Woodpeckers love suet and the bark butter I give them, but I never see them eat birdseed. See how her tail is being used to cling onto the feeder? I love seeing them. Georgia’s eyes are very pretty.

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The Blue Jay knows what’s up- getting to that feeder!

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And in he swoops. Usually all the other birds vacate when the Blue Jay arrives just because they’re big birds. Female and males are nearly identical in appearance, but males are usually slightly bigger.

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“Blue Jay was right, this is a good spot to hang out and fluff my feathers!”

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“What’s going on over there?” Mrs. Cardinal says

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“Yea Mr. Cardinal, this is a good spot!” says Mrs. Cardinal. “I’ll fluff my feathers up too while I perch here.”

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“It really is nice!” says White Throated Sparrow

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“This spot is much better… closer to the food…” says the big bad Starling

Starlings are in invasive bird that is causing problems for our native songbirds. I’ve been told they can kill small birds, though I have not witnessed that. They’re native to Europe. Usually when you see large flocks of black colored birds, they’re starlings. Or you’ll see a big group of them on the lawn looking for food. These invasive species can bring more diseases to our native songbirds too.

They also gobble up lots of food, and they’ll will wipe out your feeders. Groups of them will get around the feeder and fight. The only bird I see that’ll sometimes get near them at the feeder is the Blue Jay.

There are things you can do to keep them at bay. They’re hungry too, but geez… Maybe that’ll be a future blog post.

They are kind of pretty with their spots and different colors. Far away they look all black, but to other birds (they see ultra violet) they are very colorful. You can kind of see in the photo green colors along its chest feathers.

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“Is that Starling gone yet?” says little Tufted Titmouse

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“Good, cause I want to swoop in and get a sunflower seed.”

Isn’t her mohawk cute?

Male and female tufted titmouse look just alike.

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The titmouse are quick. They’re in and out of the feeders fast as they can go. They’ll grab a seed and fly off to eat it elsewhere.

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I’m glad to see someone using the bottom suet feeder.

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“I like that suet feeder too,” exclaims little Carolina Chickadee- who’s cute as a button. Their chirps are cute too and a distinctive quick call. They’re kind of elusive at the feeder and I don’t see them as often as other birds getting seed, but mainly just hanging out in the trees.

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Word’s gotten out the feeders are open for business on this snow day!

I saw at least 3 sets of cardinals out there. Close by in my neighborhood, a large wild area that was full of trees has been leveled in order to develop it. Lots of birds have lost their habitat. Birds are territorial. It’s not as simple to fly over to a new area and call it home, so I’m wondering where all those birds will go. It makes me want to plant more trees.

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Aren’t these 2 cute? Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal. Mrs. Cardinal just sat there and watched Mr. Cardinal nibbling away. The cardinals will work the sunflower shell in their beaks until it comes off and they can eat the seed inside.

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And my favorite- Mr. Cardinal posing and showing off how handsome he is, since he knows we humans love to see cardinals sitting on an evergreen covered in snow. “It brings out my beautiful and bright red plumage.” says Mr. Cardinal.

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