Love birds

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Are these bluebirds a pair?

They were here for a few hours yesterday and just showed up again today.

I am counting this weekend for the Great Backyard Bird Count and the NH Audubon Backyard Winter Survey (which don’t always overlap weekends).

Today and tomorrow are my weekly winter Project Feederwatch counts too.

A great pastime, peering out the window into bright sunshine, watching the birds… and helping them to survive this cold snap by keeping my feeders full. It was -11 when we woke up this morning, ouch.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Stay warm.

Snow birds (and puppy)

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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…

Sing a song of snow

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Song Sparrow foraging on the back deck in SNOW.

Birdwatching has been a bit boring since it warmed up and the snow melted. Even the groundhog forecast an early spring! But today it is snowing and the birds are back at the feeders.

I don’t notice many Song Sparrows in our yard, though they are not rare birds. There are a lot more Tree Sparrows here in winter, with the occasional White-throated Sparrow. Lots of juncos too.

Wintry mix

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Ice pellets on window glass and birds chirping were this morning’s first noises.

Many birds are taking turns at the feeders, after our first measurable snowfall with a crusty top of sleet and freezing rain.

Juncos, goldfinches, chickadees, titmice, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, nuthatches, mourning doves, and even a bluebird are stuffing themselves with seed and suet.

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But I decided to take a closeup look with my camera at just one bird, a Tree Sparrow.

Tree Sparrows are winter visitors. They have come south to us.

In summer, American Tree Sparrows breed near the northern treeline, where straggling thickets of alder, willow, birch, and spruce give way to open tundra. Though some American Tree Sparrows nest in open tundra, most territories include at least a few small trees that the males can sing from, along with a source of water.

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Three Tree Sparrows in a rain shower, Ohara Koson.

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Nice colors, those sparrowy browns and grays, with some feathers edged in white. Winter landscape bird.

It’s been a snowy winter

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Red-breasted Nuthatch in rainy snow. We got another inch or so of white stuff yesterday.

Hard to get a photo of this zippy little bird, it never holds still.

An intense bundle of energy at your feeder, Red-breasted Nuthatches are tiny, active birds of north woods and western mountains.

I’m not sure if this bird is a winter visitor or resident. It likes suet, suet dough, peanuts, and some part of the bird seed mix I get from Agway. It’s quite small compared to the other birds.

Speaking of winter, Boston breaks seasonal snowfall record with 108.6 inches

Boston is an hour south. We have received around the same amount or more of snow this year, so maybe coastal New Hampshire has broken a record too? It’s been quite a winter, anyway. And I speak as someone who has been out in it every school day, early morning and afternoon, driving a school bus for fun and profit.

Four days till official spring. Vernal equinox is at 6:45 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 20.

Feeding birds on top of snow

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If you have been feeding the birds in winter, you’d better keep feeding them… even in a blizzard. Especially in a blizzard.

Yesterday morning we woke to a fresh 18 inches and it was still snowing. Birds arrive half an hour before dawn, needing fuel after a cold, cold night, but I didn’t want to put on all my outdoor clothes and boots and shovel my way to the feeders yet… it was Sunday morning, after all.

So I found a piece of plywood and put it down on the snow on the back deck and tossed some mixed seed on there. Juncos and goldfinches, tree sparrows, chickadees and titmice were happy campers. Cardinals too. A blue jay or two. Doves.

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A little later I shoveled paths to the feeders and filled them. Not to mention the chicken coop! Lots of shoveling.

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The coop and chicken run are bermed with snow and half underground, like a cozy hobbit hole. There is plenty of straw in there for insulation. I check on food and water two or three times a day, plus pay my hens a little visit.

Two brown eggs yesterday. I had a blue-green egg and a couple more brown ones. I made a bacon and asparagus quiche yesterday morning for brunch.

Black-capped Chickadee

Lots of Black-capped Chickadees around the last few days, more than usual. Maybe there is less of whatever they eat out in the woods. Or it’s harder to get to.

One day a few weeks ago I watched a chickadee hopping around on the branches and trunk of a red maple tree, nibbling at something tiny and invisible, making happy little sounds to itself. I wondered if it was tiny bits of maple sugar oozing from the pores of the tree.

A little sweetness in bitter winter.