Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snowy Birds

Snow, no matter how little, always increases the numbers of birds at the feeder. The Wild Turkeys have actually been making a regular stop here for months. Their appearance has more to do with the availability of food within their home range. When the woods are full of food, my yard is free of turkeys. Besides this flock of ten males, we’ve been hosting a flock of about 35 hens. I’ve been seeing the signs of a poor berry and seed year all summer. This is just another indicator.

This is a more normal assemblage of feeder visitors. This morning had a group of Brown-headed Cowbirds join the crowd. Cowbirds are normally an uncommon visitor to my feeding station.

A few Red-winged Blackbirds were mixed in with the cowbirds. This female was looking well fluffed. Prolonged deep snows sometimes bring in blackbirds by the hundreds.

Juncos and sparrows prefer to feed in the tall grass stubble. The turkeys wear down the grass stubble in a hurry. When turkey pressure gets too heavy, I drag in a couple of branches to cover the feed. This generally keeps the turkeys away and gives the smaller birds a place to eat.

Fox Sparrows are one of my favorites. These birds prefer a little bit of cover and are usually down in a hole or close to the grass clumps. They’re one of the first birds to scoot for cover if startled.

Goldfinch numbers have been down all summer. I’ve only seen two at the feeder so far this season.

Large flocks of Mourning Doves are around every day, but they’ve been feeding beside the yard on something in the tall grass beneath the walnut trees. Very few have been coming in to get seed.

There’s no shortage of Blue Jays. They spend most of each morning hiding seeds at different places around the yard.

Several years ago the Blue Jay numbers plummeted. Now I think the population has finally regained its former abundance. It’s once again impossible to walk around Blue Jay Barrens without seeing Blue Jays. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say you can’t avoid being seen by Blue Jays, since their scolding at your intrusion is often the first clue that they are around.


  1. Hi Steve, just catching up on your snowy posts! Don't miss it, that's for sure. Perhaps the Goldfinches have found seed plentiful in another location and don't need to visit your feeder yet! ~karen

  2. Hi Steve...looks like you've got quite a few mouths to feed!!
    Good pictures of all the family!

  3. Hi, Karen. You're probably right about the Goldfinches. There's not much growing around here that would interest them this year. They've probably found some better foraging fields.

    Hi, grammie g. No matter how much food I put out, they will clean it up. Right now I'm putting out about 7 pounds each day.