Feederwatch mid-February totals

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Project Feederwatch totals from Sunday and Monday:

Red-tailed Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 7
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 4
Black-capped Chickadee 7
Tufted Titmouse 7
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Eastern Bluebird 7
American Robin 2
American Tree Sparrow 4
Dark-eyed Junco 8
White-throated Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 5
Purple Finch 2
American Goldfinch 3

It was VERY cold, probably the coldest day we will have all winter on Sunday (low of -11, high of 8), and there is snow cover, so the number and variety of birds was pretty high.

Finch, House

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Hello little bird up on a branch, with your little red bib matching the winter buds of the red maple tree.

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I think you are a House Finch… is this so? You are a bit more orangey-red than the raspberry red of a Purple Finch, with brown and white stripes on your belly.

House Finches have blurry grayish streaking on the belly and flanks, unlike either Cassin’s Finch or Purple Finches. Bill shape is distinctive for House Finches: it’s fairly blunt, and rounded, without a sharp tip.

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A pose! so I can get a good look.

Tricky bird IDs: Cassin’s Finch, House Finch, Purple Finch

Yes, I am counting you a House Finch for my Project Feederwatch count days this week, Sunday and Monday. You visited Sunday. It snowed overnight, bringing more birds Monday.

I think I saw a female House Finch too, but I wasn’t sure enough to include her in the count.

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The count for January 17-18:

Mourning Dove 9
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 5
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Blue Jay 5
Black-capped Chickadee 7
Tufted Titmouse 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Eastern Bluebird 3
European Starling 1
American Tree Sparrow 6
Dark-eyed Junco 6
White-throated Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 6
House Finch 1
American Goldfinch 5

Sitta carolinensis

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White-breasted Nuthatch waits for a turn at  feeder yesterday.

We have two visiting regularly this winter season, I know from my counting days.

According to Project Feederwatch, the White-breasted Nuthatch’s preferred foods and feeder types are …

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The seed mix I buy from the Agway in Hampton Falls is the Dodge’s Supreme Wild Bird Food, with black oil sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, white millet, safflower, cracked corn, peanut hearts and granite grit.

The nuthatches also like the suet cakes and my homemade suet dough.

Here are all my posts with White-breasted Nuthatches.

Project Feederwatch #1

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Tufted titmouse on a Tuesday.

The first-of-the-season count for Project Feederwatch in my backyard was yesterday and the day before. Here are the grand totals of the most birds of a species spotted at the same time, over about four hours total of watching.

Hairy woodpecker: 2 (1 male, 1 female)
Blue jay: 2
Black-capped chickadee: 5
Tufted titmouse: 3
American goldfinch: 6
Dark-eyed juncos: 3
Downy woodpeckers: 4 (2 males, 2 females)
White-breasted nuthatch: 2
Red-bellied woodpecker: 1 female
Mourning doves: 2
Northern cardinal: 4 (2 m, 2 f)
White-throated sparrows: 2
Sharp-shinned hawk: 1

Sundays and Mondays are the days I have chosen for my count.

more on Project Feederwatch

Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.

Sharpie sighting

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Looks like I get to add a HAWK to my count on this, my first counting day for the winter 2015-16 season of Project Feederwatch.

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Sharp-shinned hawk perched on the blackberry arbor, swiveling its head around to watch the feeders for tasty little songbirds.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology: “Sharp-shinned Hawks breed in deep forests. During migration, look for them in open habitats or high in the sky, migrating along ridgelines. During the nonbreeding season they hunt small birds and mammals along forest edges and sometimes at backyard bird feeders, causing a wave of high-pitched alarm calls among the gathered songbirds.”

Yes, the chickadees, our most alert and noisy sentinels, were sounding the alarm.

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Pretty bird, and distinctly different from the Cooper’s hawk I spotted last week watching my feeders.

Bird watching a(nother) snowstorm

White-throated Sparrow close up

One White-throated Sparrow.

More big snow yesterday. What else was there to do but watch birds?

Anyway, it was one of my two counting days per week for Project Feederwatch.

FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.

White-breasted Nuthatch

One White-breasted Nuthatch.

I bet there are two that visit our feeders, I just didn’t see them at the same time on Sunday or Monday.

Mourning Dove

Subtly beautiful colors, a Mourning Dove.

I like their calmness, as the other birds flit and flap. The most I saw at once: 7.

Downy Woodpecker male

A male Downy Woodpecker, black and white with a little red cap.

In two days I counted 96 individual birds of 19 species. Three downies, one male and two females.

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Five Tufted Titmice in total, but with the definite impression I am missing some as they move so quickly. Although not quickly enough for the snow. This is the first time I noticed snow building up on some birds! What a February we are having. And today is only the 10th.

Purple Finch Valentine

A little birdie Valentine: Purple Finch.

The state bird of New Hampshire looks lovely in snow. I counted two males yesterday.

Starling

The pestiferous though kinda pretty European Starling.

At one point there were 9 in the birch trees watching the feeders, as I stood on the other side of the sliding glass door and watched them. They are spooked by people, still, but I bet they will learn fast to ignore us.

They seem to eat anything but especially like my homemade suet dough. So do the bluebirds – who are not afraid of me. I scared the starlings away a few times so the bluebirds could eat too. I may need to consider a special starling-excluding feeder if I get too many of them.

This week’s Project Feederwatch totals…

Mourning Dove 7
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 3
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 5
Black-capped Chickadee 10
Tufted Titmouse 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Eastern Bluebird 6
European Starling 9
American Tree Sparrow 12
White-throated Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 12
Northern Cardinal 13
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Purple Finch 2
Pine Siskin 1
American Goldfinch 5

Flickr album: February 9 snowstorm birds

Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow, with its rusty-red buzzcut hairdo.

Steve Grinley: Bird Feeders Help Birds Survive, and Breed Successfully

It has been a harsh winter here in New England and feeding birds can certainly help them survive. Birds that have stayed the winter or migrated from further north to feast on natural seeds and fruit in our area will be finding that the winter supply of natural food is being depleted. Our resident birds appreciate the added handout that feeders provide. In addition to the nourishment that bird seed and suet provide, the birds expend less energy and burn less fat, helping them to survive the cold. A number of birds that don’t normally stay the winter or that may be here accidentally and are not used to New England weather are particularly helped by seed and suet at feeders.

Buddies

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This morning at the birdbath.

We have three feet of snow on the ground now and morning temps are in the single digits. But at least there was sunshine today!

Project Feederwatch totals for Sunday and Monday: 17 species, 84 individuals

Mourning Dove 6
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 4
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Blue Jay 6
Black-capped Chickadee 5
Tufted Titmouse 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Eastern Bluebird 7
European Starling 2
American Tree Sparrow 5
Dark-eyed Junco 14
Northern Cardinal 6
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Pine Siskin 6
American Goldfinch 12

Juncos, our winter sparrows

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Dark-eyed Junco on the deck. Looks like a white egg with a head and two feet, dyed charcoal gray on top. A winter Easter egg.

A flock of 10 or 12 was here yesterday, hopping around on top of the snow under the feeders, occasionally venturing closer onto the deck or railings.

Dark-eyed Juncos are neat, even flashy little sparrows that flit about forest floors of the western mountains and Canada, then flood the rest of North America for winter.

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Our juncos tidy up after the messier birds. They seem to like millet, which is scattered by many other birds who prefer the sunflowers and peanut bits.

Dark-eyed Juncos are primarily seed-eaters, with seeds of chickweed, buckwheat, lamb’s quarters, sorrel, and the like making up about 75% of their year-round diet. At feeders they seem to prefer millet over sunflower seeds.

Winter cleanup crew.

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Breakfast of the Birds, Gabrielle Munter, 1934

I signed up for Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project Feederwatch yesterday, to count birds this winter. My kit should arrive in a few weeks.

FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.

Anyone interested in birds can participate. FeederWatch is conducted by people of all skill levels and backgrounds, including children, families, individuals, classrooms, retired persons, youth groups, nature centers, and bird clubs. Participants watch their feeders as much or as little as they want over two consecutive days as often as every week (less often is fine). They count birds that appear in their count site because of something that they provided (plantings, food, or water).

Looking forward to it.