Monday, December 28, 2009

Feederwatch, week 7

Wow, I can't believe it's the 7th week of Feederwatch already! Unfortunately there are no photos to accompany this week's installment. I didn't spend as much time feeder watching as I normally do, but I did observe a few interesting things when I was paying attention.

There's still that perky Golden-crowned Kinglet hanging around our property. One of those birds that is heard more often than seen, it was good to lock onto it with the binoculars. Unfortunately, though, I am unable to include it in my Feederwatch count because it doesn't come to the feeders. I wonder, though, if they would come in if I put out waxworms? I need to start putting those out again. I never actually saw any birds partake of the waxworms last year, so I kind of forgot about them.

Another item of interest was watching a male Red-bellied Woodpecker cache peanuts. Whenever a bird, whether it be titmouse, nuthatch, or woodpecker, flies away with a whole peanut in its beak, I usually lose track of it after a few seconds. I was able to stay with the Red-bellied, though, as he flew to a distant snag. I watched him plunk the peaut into a crevice in the dead tree and smash at it with his dagger-like beak, and then he consumed a few pieces of the nut meat within. The remaining pieces of nut meat were distributed to other trees in the immediate vicinity of the snag. He very carefully, but forcefully, stashed the nut meat into these trees. The angle at which he was perched did not allow me to see if the nuts were going into an existing hole, or if he was somehow tucking them into crevices in the bark. I even wondered if he was perhaps making new holes for the nuts? Later in the day I even watched him move a piece of nut meat from one tree to the other. Very interesting, indeed.

Finally a comment on the count trend for White-breasted Nuthatches. I counted 4 this weekend. That doesn't happen very often. In fact, it's only happened once each season since I started counting for Feederwatch, and it didn't happen at all last season. The numbers were pretty low for WBNUs last season, never going above 2 per count, while they were much more variable in other seasons (ranging from 1 to 3, and sometimes 4). I have steadily observed 2 WBNUs every weekend so far this season, until I spotted 4 this weekend. What does this mean, if anything? I don't know. I do know we lost 1 WBNU to a window collision just before the count season started, so I'm actually glad to know that there are at least 4 of these squawky, horn-honk-sounding birds still in our woods.

Feeder round-up for December 26-27, 2009
Mourning Dove15
Red-bellied Woodpecker1
Downy Woodpecker2
Carolina/Black-capped Chickadee4
Tufted Titmouse4
White-breasted Nuthatch4
Carolina Wren1
Dark-eyed Junco1
Northern Cardinal3
American Goldfinch7

Happy birding!


kaholly said...

I guess, Heather, because it's been a holiday week, you're excused from not gluing yourself to your feeder window!! Enjoyed your post. (I like how you've organized your sidebar.)

RuthieJ said...

what? no house sparrows or starlings? can I send you some?

Heather said...

Karen - Yes, thanks to the holiday I failed to glue myself to the feeder window AND to my computer; thus my lack of posts! Thanks for the comments.

Ruthie - Honey, knock on wood, we've never had any HOSPs or EUSTs at our feeders... ever! Thanks for the offer to send me some, but I think I'll pass!

Kelly said...

...have your Tufted Titmice numbers gone up? We seem to have had a bumper crop this spring, because I have at least 6 more at a time at the feeders this year. They are so cute--I'm happy!!

We have a colony of the English House Sparrows and they are really starting to grow on me. They are always there with a cheery little peep...

Heather said...

Kelly - The Titmouse numbers have stayed pretty even compared to past seasons, I believe. They are cute, but sometimes they get cranky when I spend too much time outside staring at them! I've heard that House Sparrows can be a real pest at feeders, bullying all the other birds away. Sounds like yours are nice. There are tons of them around our office building, and they certainly are cheering-sounding little buggers.