Environmental Commissioner Lee Farnham, aided by his “kat” Reina, reports in with a weekly update on their bird watching activities for Project Feederwatch.
Reina and I were watching the feeders, mostly on Saturday a.m., but also later that day and on Sunday p.m. To prepare for a bigger crowd (always hoped for), I had again put more seed in the feeders themselves, but also strewn some on the ground beneath the sunflower feeder, safflower feeder and the thistle feeders. A new cake of suet was added too, as we always want to have two cakes in the suet feeder for the woodpeckers, wrens, chickadees and nuthatch (but it’s 90% woodpeckers).
Several things stood out this past weekend:
- We’d spread Niger seed (thistle) on our deck, and the deck rail, and also in two feeders and it was pandemonium at times, and not just goldfinches. There were nine juncos on the deck, and we saw House Finches, a Dove, and a Carolina Wren too. Maybe the area was preferred because it’s right by the 24/7 water which never freezes (the bird bath heater is wonderful).
- For the first time this season we saw a Hairy Woodpecker, but it was at 0730 on Saturday a.m., and we never saw another. Still, Hairy Woodpeckers have been a mainstay for us through the years. Never many, but we did see two at a time, reliably, until this year. To date, since the Hairy has now been seen, only the Brown Creeper is missing….and it is not often seen. Last year only 3-5% of NJ stations reporting saw Brown Creepers consistently, and we were among them. This year, nothing. Memory tells us the Brown Creeper is most often seen between noon and 1PM, so that will be the next step, to watch around noontime. Stay tuned.
- For years we have had sprightly Chickadees at our feeders and water. They like Safflower Seed and Sunflower Hearts, and take a bite of suet on occasion. We’ve always seen Carolina Chickadees (smaller, a little more gray at the end of the cheek), rather than Black-Capped Chickadees, but this past weekend we had a chance to see two Chickadees side-by-side when at the bird bath, and it was obvious that one was a Carolina Chickadee, and the other was a Black-Capped Chickadee. Don’t feel badly if it’s hard to distinguish them….just understand that we’re on the borderline between their ranges, so we’re bound to see both from time to time.
- Five swaggering American Crows were poking around under the Sunflower Hearts Saturday morning. Compared to the usual birds at that feeder they looked like Goliaths, and the Goldfinches, House Finches, Titmice, Chickadees, White-Breasted Nuthatches, White-Throated Sparrows and Juncos gave them a wide berth. After they left, the Robins (only three) arrived to see if there were any winterberry hollies left to devour.
That’s it for this week. Check out the season summary to date in the PDF attached. Look for more as the FeederWatch season progresses.