The nicer weather we enjoyed for the last weekend in January, especially Sunday PM, probably cut down on attendance at our feeders, but we logged the normal number of species, 15, and when you add up the highest number of each species seen at one time, and reported, that came to 80…a far cry from some previous weekends, but it’s always fun to watch the birds interact as they eat:
- Consider the Thistle seed (nyjer) we have in two feeders, and put along our deck rail and also on our deck. Having so much seed available attracts lots of birds, which is why we reported 34 American Goldfinches and 16 Northern Juncos. What it doesn’t tell you is that the lovely Juncos are early risers (they know the saying: “the early bird gets the worm”), and the 16 were counted before 0700 on Saturday.
By the same token, just after I’ve replenished the feeders each morning is a good time for the Goldfinches, and all but four or five of the 34 seen this weekend, were bunched together along the deck rail, with probably 12 on the two feeders within two feet.
- Our suet offering consists of two cakes of suet in a metal cage, suspended from a cable midway between our deck and a Dogwood Tree. The cage has what looks like a witch’s hat over it to keep the squirrels at bay, which it does. While we see squirrels attempt the perilous approach on the cable, they usually turn back because they get to the witch’s hat and give up trying to score suet.
We had added a cake of Peanut Butter suet (from Bucks County Audubon Society at $2 each) to the regular C&S suet, so it made an added attraction on Saturday a.m., and soon a Pileated Woodpecker was on the trunk of the Dogwood eyeing the suet while he waited for an opening. It came, and this magnificent bird, with a 28” wingspan, quickly left the tree and fastened himself to the suet cage. It’s really fun watching a Pileated bang away on suet, and to see the chunks of it go in all directions. A couple of Juncos, and a Carolina Wren, were waiting on the ground to get random chunks, and were quickly rewarded! After satisfying his immediate hunger, the Pileated took wing, but it was wonderful seeing him, and knowing that there are two of them who visit us regularly.
Later in the day a White-Breasted Nuthatch, not often seen on the suet, was suddenly there and nibbling on the suet at one end of the suet cage. While watching him there was suddenly a second bird on the other end of the same suet cake, a Carolina Wren!! What a treat it was to see them both filling up, almost side-by-side, a White-Breasted Nuthatch on one end and the Carolina Wren on the other. It didn’t last, but it was a real treat to watch both of them dig in.
So far this Feeder Watch season we’ve seen 27 different species at our feeders, and there are still two and a half months left to the reporting season. Results Summary
Lee Farnham is an avid birder and a long-time participant in Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology Feeder Watch program in which more than 16,000 citizen scientists from all states and Provinces of Canada report weekly feeder activity from early November to early April.