Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lots of feeder activity

Well, the temps are getting very cold around here, and they are going to get colder. They are predicting windchills below zero for the next several days and nights, with snow flurries. The combination of these two things will bring, I expect, lots of traffic to our feeders for a while.

Today the Titmice set a new record for the time it takes them to empty out the peanut feeder. I put nuts out last night after I got home, and the feeder was empty before I got home today. They had about 8 hours to work on that feeder today, and they worked it GOOD!

How do I know it was empty before we got home? Because I watched them wipe it clean around 3:3o this afternoon via the webcam. Man, that thing is awesome! It is so cool and fun to be able to watch our birds whilst sitting at my desk at work (I keep a dedicated browser window open just for the cam that's been reduced to less than a quarter of my screen and have it running in the background while I do other stuff.) If any of you have a chance to stop by during daylight hours over the next few days, I hope you will, as I'm sure you'll see lots of activity.

One VERY cool thing that we got to observe today on the cam was a Blue Jay. One of my main reasons for putting up a peanut feeder was in hopes of attracting Blue Jays. Now I may finally get my wish! I watched the Jay approach the feeder a couple of times but then back off at the last minute, as if it was not quite sure how to perch on it. The Jay landed on a brach close to the feeder, and then a Titmouse came in, perched on the feeder, and helped herself to a nut. Almost as soon as the Titmouse flew off, the Blue Jay flew right over to that feeder, perched on it, and worked a nut loose for himself. Dave thinks (and I tend to agree) that the Jay was following the Titmouse's lead. Awwww... poor little Jay... he just needed someone to show him how it was done! I wish I had some pictures or videos to share, but I'm afraid I don't. :( Maybe Mr. Jay will come back this weekend and lemme take his picture...

Oh, by the way, an update on my odd little Dark-Eyed Junco with the white rings around his eyes: I submitted the photos to the Cornell Lab, and they think it is just a case of leucism (as opposed to some kind of hybridization; I mentioned to them that the white eye rings were reminiscent of an American Robin in my opinion). According to the Lab, "Leucism is a genetic mutation that prevents melanin from being deposited normally on feathers." This is opposed to albinism, which is "a genetic mutation that prevents the production of melanin in the body." For a complete explanation of leucism and albinism in birds, see this very informative article about plumage variations at the Cornell site.

Posted by Picasa


Shellmo said...

I'm envious of all those finch visitors you have! I'll give you my blue jays! Love that peanut feeder by the way!

Kelly said...

Hi Heather! Thank you for visiting my blog. I dropped by yours immediately after posting a comment to the one you left. I love your site! It's funny and informative. I also recently purchased a peanut feeder similar to yours. It's been hanging for a week, and not one visitor has tried to nab a nut. Hopefully my birds get wise to it soon. A blog entry is brewing on it.

Heather said...

Shelley: Okay, I'll trade birds with you! I'm trying to draw those Jays in with the peanut feeder. I think they are finally getting the hint!

Kelly: Thanks for stopping by. I advise patience with the peanut feeder. It's taken well over a month for our birds to really pick up on it, and they've now drained it within 7 or 8 hours for 3 days straight. I guess it takes a while for new things to catch on. Hang in there! I'll look forward to your post about it.

RuthieJ said...

I hope you have a good source for peanuts in the shell Heather, because once that bluejay gets the word out where to find peanuts, you'll be going through them pretty fast. Mine line up 5 or 6 in a row and wait their turn for a peanut. They're so much fun to watch and I really envy you that live webcam. (I saw one of your doggehs on it the other day!)

Heather said...

Ruthie - Yes, the Jays are starting to figure it out. I've seen 2 different jays hovering around the feeder while watching them on the cam. We bought 5 lbs of peanuts the other day, so bring 'em on! Oh, and glad you got to see one of the doggehs on the cam. Aren't they sweet?