Sunday, November 22, 2009

FeederWatch, week 2

Wow, what wonderful weather we had this weekend: sunny both days, with highs in the lower 60s. Needless to say, it was perfect for spending time outside watching and counting birds. When the weather stays this nice this late into November, it's like waiting for the other shoe to drop. According to the forecast, that shoe will be set to drop right around Thanksgiving. I can hardly wait (she says, voice dripping with sarcasm). Although, looking back at my FeederWatch data from last year, we experienced several rebounds in temperature after Thanksgiving in 2008, including one weekend in December, right after Christmas, when the temperature rose above 68 degrees! (Feederwatch data offers snapshots of weather conditions, as well trends in bird populations!)

I saw a Pileated Woodpecker this morning, but he was far away and showed no interest in the feeder area, so I wasn't able to count him. I also heard a Red-Tailed Hawk off in the distance this afternoon, but since it didn't show up to hunt any of my feeder birds, it couldn't be counted, either. I suppose I also cannot count the Eastern Towhee that I dreamt about last night (does anyone else out there dream about birds?).

Carolina Wrens showed up again this weekend, much to my delight. Hopefully someday soon I'll get a picture of one. They love hanging around in our wood shed, coming over to sample suet or to ground feed every once in a while. This weekend they were singing about cheeseburgers: "CHEESEburger, CHEESEburger, CHESSEburger - CHEESE!"

Overall, the bird count this weekend was similar to last weekend. The Goldfinches increased in number a little bit, and they were their usual feisty selves, squawking and posturing at each other on the feeder.

The peanut feeder has been a huge hit so far this season. It usually gets emptied within 2 hours of being filled, mostly by hungry Tufted Titmice. It took the birds weeks to catch on to this feeder last year, but they took right to it when we put it out this fall.

The Mourning Dove numbers were also up a little bit from last week. When they aren't on the feeders, they're working seed on the ground. And when they're not eating, they sun themselves in the trees all around the house.

I know there are people out there who think MODOs are "junk" birds, but I think they are so beautiful.

What makes a beautiful, warm day spent counting birds even better? Having a furry companion to help you count, of course! You did some good counting, buddy.

The official tally for the weekend:
Mourning Dove - 15
American Goldfinch - 8
White-breasted Nuthatch - 2
Tufted Titmouse - 4
Chickadee - 3
Downy Woodpecker - 2
Hair Woodpecker - 1
Carolina Wren - 2
Dark-eyed Junco - 2
Northern Cardinal - 6


RuthieJ said...

Nice photos Heather! That peanut looks like a real mouthful for a titmouse! Are they able to peck the shell open to get the peanut out?
My goldfinches have just about disappeared -- I only counted 2 for last week's feederwatch.

Erica Houskeeper said...

Really nice photos Heather! I especially love those first two feeder photos. The first one has a lot of interesting things going on, and the second one is so intimate.

The dog photo looks great, too (looks like he's seeking your permission to chase down some birdies).

Take care, Erica

Heather said...

Ruthie - Yes, the whole peanuts are certainly a beakful for the titmice, but they generally carry them off whole. Sometimes they will peck them open within the feeder and pick the meat out, but mostly they fly off with the whole thing. It's quite a sight to see, actually, because the whole nuts make them look totally off-balance.

Erica - Thank you so much! Our dog's birdie chasing days are pretty much over. He's a good, quiet companion to have around while counting the birds.