Monday, January 11, 2010

Birds in Daylight

I got to spend some time watching the feeders this weekend. The snow may have increased the numbers a little bit, but the fields are still full of grass stalks bearing seed and the birds are just coming to the feeders to supplement their natural diets.

Watching these birds is like watching a busy downtown intersection. There are constant comings and goings and various interactions between the individual birds.

Some bird species can be found feeding at about any time of day. Others come in as a group, eat for a while and then leave as a group. The Tree Sparrows in this bunch spend a lot of time feeding in the fields, but when they come to the feeder, they usually all come together.

Cardinals and Juncos can be found feeding all day long, but even though the numbers at the feeders seem to stay constant, you’re not always seeing the same individuals. As you watch, Cardinals will head off to distant trees and Juncos will move in groups into the fields. As the birds leave, others come in to take their place.

The Titmice spend time in mixed foraging flocks going through the adjacent woods, but their travels always include a stop or two at the feeders.

I usually don’t see White-Throated Sparrows here during the winter. I’m more used to seeing them in the spring about the time the Silver Maples bloom. The Doves are here year round and are one species that doesn’t seem too concerned about taking advantage of the natural food supply.

Song Sparrows are common throughout the year. I don’t know if the winter residents are the same individuals that will be claiming nesting territories here in the spring.

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