Snow birds (and puppy)

nut

Winter hath returneth, sing hey! nonny snow.

The bird activity at the feeders has been insane. We ran out of seed and dear husband John volunteered to stop by the Hampton Falls Agway for some more Dodge’s Supreme Blend wild bird seed.

 

Morning walk with the pup…

Native nuthatch

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White-breasted Nuthatch has selected a safflower seed at the tube feeder buffet.

What’s black-gray-and-white and visits our feeders all year round?… Nuthatch, chickadee, titmouse, downy and hairy. And juncos in winter.

Sitta carolinensis

nuthatch

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.

Nuthatch in a hoodie

White-breastedNuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch holds still for a moment.

White-breasted Nuthatches are gray-blue on the back, with a frosty white face and underparts. The black or gray cap and neck frame the face and make it look like this bird is wearing a hood. The lower belly and under the tail are often chestnut.

I entered 2 of these nuthatches on my latest Project Feederwatch count, and 1 red-breasted.

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.

titmouse

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.

Pretty Sitta

white-breasted nuthatch

Sitta carolinensis, White-breasted Nuthatch in snow.

The nuthatches constitute a genus, Sitta, of small passerine birds belonging to the family Sittidae. Characterised by large heads, short tails, and powerful bills and feet, nuthatches advertise their territory using loud, simple songs.

Check out these gorgeous nuthatches from around the world: Blue Nuthatch from Malaysia! Velvet-fronted Nuthatch from Indonesia! Beautiful Nuthatch from India!

White-breasted Nuthatch

nuthatch suet

The White-breasted Nuthatch loves homemade suet dough so much, they will walk on their tippy toes to get some.

White-breasted Nuthatches are agile birds that creep along trunks and large branches, probing into bark furrows with their straight, pointed bills. Like other nuthatches, they often turn sideways and upside down on vertical surfaces as they forage.

Their feet are not really designed for standing on a horizontal surface like the deck railing, but they manage.

suet nutchatch

Suet dough or nuggets and peanuts out of the shell are their favorite foods from the menu at Amy’s Backyard Bird Restaurant.

A common feeder bird with clean black, gray, and white markings, White-breasted Nuthatches are active, agile little birds with an appetite for insects and large, meaty seeds. They get their common name from their habit of jamming large nuts and acorns into tree bark, then whacking them with their sharp bill to “hatch” out the seed from the inside.

Bird abundance

american tree sparrow

Cutie-pie bird. I think it’s an American Tree Sparrow.

American Tree Sparrows are small, round-headed birds that often fluff out their feathers, making their plump bodies look even chubbier. Among sparrows, they have fairly small bills and long, thin tails.

A rusty cap and rusty (not black) eyeline on a gray head, a streaked brown back, and a smooth gray to buff breast in both male and female American Tree Sparrows give an overall impression of reddish-brown and gray. A dark smudge in the center of the unstreaked breast is common.

three-tree-sparrows-in-a-rain-shower.jpg!Blog

Three tree sparrows in a rain shower, by Ohara Koson.

Winter visitors, last recorded on my eBird checklist in February.

Look for small flocks of American Tree Sparrows in winter in weedy fields with hedgerows or shrubs, along forest edges, or near marshes. They readily visit backyards, especially if there’s a seed feeder. American Tree Sparrows breed in the far north and are rarely seen south of northern Canada in summer.

titmouse

Titmouse with seed.

Leisurely Sunday morning, cuppa coffee, observing birds, picking up the cranky old Canon with telephoto to try a few pics through the window. (A little birdy told me that Santa may be bringing me a better birding camera.)

downy nut

Downy Woodpecker looks wary of this White-breasted Nuthatch. Both were after peanuts I sprinkled on the platform feeder.

Also put out homemade suet dough this morning, plus the usual Dodge’s Agway Supreme Blend. (The chickens got some leftover rice mixed with old yogurt.)

From 7:20 to 8 a.m. I observed and recorded on eBird: 10 mourning doves, 1 red-bellied woodpecker, 3 downy woodpeckers, 6 blue jays, 5 black-capped chickadees, 4 tufted titmice, 1 white-breasted nuthatch, 2 american tree sparrows, 2 dark-eyed juncos, 1 northern cardinal, 3 american goldfinches and a posse of 6 male eastern bluebirds.

bluebird

Here is a photo of a male bluebird, taken yesterday.

They like the suet dough and peanuts… and the heated birdbath! I bet they will hang around this winter. There is also a fantastic red maple swamp beyond our backyard, full of tasty winterberries.