Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bird Study-Winter

The bird feeders were in full swing on Sunday. It gave me the opportunity to really watch the birds and their behaviour. I think this is the one thing I like most about birding. Yes I enjoy taking pictures and checking them off my list, but the number one reason why I chose to bird is to learn more about them.

I have been birding since summer and I have learned so much in this short time frame than I could have ever imagined. Winter has been especially revealing and wanted to share some of my findings.

1. Starlings are at their most obnoxious when it snows out. Yes they are always a pain in my rear, but ten times worse with snow. They dominate all feeding stations and fight with each other over the suet and the bird bath. They also like to poop in my bird bath when it snows. They don't do that when it's sunny.

2. The red bellied wood pecker is another regular when it snows out. He spends most of his time watching the birds from my tree and flies in for his turn when there are no other birds around.

3. The song sparrow is a true free spirit. He behaves as if he owns my yard. One of his favorite things to do is watch the feeding station from the brush pile. If he sees a bunch of house sparrows taking over his favorite bird feeder, he will get in the middle of them and eat. He loves to scatter the seed with his feet and the juncos are right below him on the ground eating what he spills out.

4. Speaking of juncos, they are at my feeders every morning at approx. 6:15 am. They seem to arrive even earlier than the cardinals. They are also the last ones to leave.

5. I have reason to believe that many of the weeds that have gone to seed are now eaten. The reason I think this is because I am now inundated with sparrows. I have 3 song sparrows now and 4 white throated sparrows. The white throated sparrows have not been in my yard since mid November.

6. Downy woodpeckers are sitting ducks for hawks. When the other birds scatter, they continue to eat. I watch nervously at him while he is eating his suet and then I finally yell at him because I can't take the suspense much longer and I don't want to witness his death.

There are a bunch of other things I have learned in my journey and can't wait to learn more. Birds are such amazing creatures.


Deb said...

What a great "bird study" post!

Lynne said...

This is a terrific study. I enjoy these kinds of observations of birds just living their lives and being birds. I'd rather know my yard birds really well than have a huge life list. said...

Somebody coined the term 'microbirding' for what you and I do and that's why I love it so much. I wanted to let you know that the red-bellied is a female. The males have red across the entire top of their heads and the females don't.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Kallen---I started about the same time you did and I too have learned so so much!!!! Our nuisance birds (just because there are so many) are the Pine Siskins. And this morning--there were probably 40-50 of them all around the feeders... I like them--but they take over for sure!!!!

Good pictures of your red-bellied.

Shellmo said...

Kallen - I loved this post! So true, so true! And I love how you yell at the Downy to move it before the hawk gets him - I would do the same thing. But I think the mourning doves are even less intelligent when a hawks around!

Deborah Godin said...

You and me both, I love watching what they do and how they intereact. (I did a bird behavior post this afternoon. too).

Alan said...

Great observations Kallen. We can read all the books we want, but nothing teaches us more than doing our own "live" study.

Jayne said...

Each species does show it's own personality. :c)

troutbirder said...

Lots of action going on at your place. Neat!

Rich said...

Great topic. Great pictures. Great observations - the interaction of different birds is quite interesting.

Hope things are warming up for you.

dAwN said...

it was fun reading your observations...
thanks for sharing them and your honesty.

Mary said...

Good study, Kallen. I recognized much of what you said here.

Woodpeckers will play dead when a hawk is in the area. Amazing. They "freeze" at a feeder.

At 4pm every day, it's Mourning Dove time at my house. Twenty or thirty of them fly in to enjoy drinks from the pond and have some seed.



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