Late January Snowmageddon Brings Birds Flocking to Local Feeders

Project FeederWatch Update for Jan 23 and 24

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by Lee Farnham

The forecast for last weekend was grim: snow starting late Friday night, and ending who knows when….  It started around 6PM Friday and didn’t end until late Saturday night. By the time it had stopped the accumulation at our house was really overwhelming, close to 18”.  The Township declared a state of emergency, so the plows didn’t come until close to 1PM on Sunday. How did this affect our weekly Feeder Watch?

Well, if you thought last week was a good number of birds, Saturday past, when it snowed all day long, turned into a real procession of Goldfinches, plus some unexpected visitors: six Common Grackles, and a solitary Crow!

Before counting on Saturday, we filled the two Thistle Feeders and spread thistle seed on the deck and deck rail. We also filled up the Squirrel Buster feeder with Sunflower hearts, and spread a lot of sunflower on the ground (Juncos, Titmice, White-throated  sparrows, Squirrels, Goldfinches and Mourning Doves were grateful for that).  The Safflower feeder was also filled (it’s about eight feet away from the Sunflower feeder, but separated by a large Blue Holly bush which offers great cover for birds. The next step was to change the suet in the suet feeder, so two new cakes were added while the leftovers were dumped on the ground for the squirrels and Juncos. The final step was to fill up the heated bird bath so water would be available…it’s really great to see Titmice, White-Breasted Nuthatches, Cardinals and other species all taking their turn at the bird bath.

Saturday’s Feeder Watch was unprecedented, it snowed all day, and we set a record for the number of one species (Goldfinch) seen at one time: 57!!  (It broke the Pine Siskin record of 55, from the winter of 2007-2008). We also saw 17 Juncos, 14 Mourning Doves and eleven House Finches, all records for 2015-2016 season.

Sunday was clear and a little warmer, and while there were still birds at the feeders, Saturday was when all the big numbers were seen….even though we’re still waiting for the Brown Creeper to come back

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