Sunday, March 29, 2009

Late March Bird Tales

One of the most fascinating things to watch during a winter storm is the behavior of the birds. Given the number that showed up at my feeders during this storm, there must not be much natural food left around. This mob is a mix of red-winged blackbirds, cardinals, grackles, Harris sparrows, white crowned sparrows, and starlings. Judging from my usual mix, you can probably find a few house sparrows, a few house finch, some goldfinch and pine siskins, and a few juncos in the melee too.

On Friday I had fun watching a standoff between a starling and a red-bellied woodpecker, both determined to dominate one of the suet feeders. Obviously the cardinals thought it was pretty interesting too! (Oh, the red-bellied woodpecker least temporarily. As soon as he was through, however, the starling came back with a couple friends and worked hard to reduce the amount of suet left. That'll teach the red-bellied!)

The cardinals come in to feed regularly throughout each day, usually in groups of 5-7. In the evening and during storms, though, I've counted over 20 at a time using the feeders or waiting for their turn. If you look carefully (and probably enlarge the photo a bit), I count 22 (15 males and 7 females) in this shot.

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