Our day started out with a continuation of the snow that we had yesterday. The roads looked OK, since the city got the salt out and did the bus routes. It got cold last night too, -11° C. But just after lunch, the sun came out!
What a difference that made! The robins that are all males at this time, got active, and were flying from tree to tree. I think that there was about 30 in our immediate yard! They are all in their breeding plumage, so the breast is quite dark, and the head is almost black. They seem to have found some food in the leaves that are hanging around our gardens against the house. It has thawed there, and maybe they can find some insects. They have been digging in the dirt, so maybe.
I keep 2 feeders going all the time, one a suet feeder, and the other that offers sunflower seeds all year round. Robins don’t care much for either one, being insect eaters. They also like the berries that we get on our chokecherry trees, but this year the pickings are very slim. Last fall the robins picked most of the berries, as they do most years when they are looking for food that will get them through their migration. This past fall and winter took its toll when we had some severe winds that took most of the remaining chokecherries. This will make sure that the robins will be gone very shortly, looking for food and places to nest. I suppose the best we can hope for is about 2 pairs staying, to nest.
While the robins, American Robin is what they are, do not come to the feeders, the sparrows are very active at both of them. A new bird in our neighbourhood is the Red Breasted Nuthatch, and while I would think looking at them that they would not be seed eaters, with the long insect eating beaks, they have been active at the sunflower feeder. I say they since I have seen 2 of them now. I hope they hang in for the summer. They like conifers, and nest in tree cavities. We have quite a few conifers that are maturing now that were planted some 15 years ago.
A bird I have never seen before in the area is the Mountain Chickadee. I have seen only one (at a time) so I don’t know if we have a pair. I hope these guys hang around too. They are not much different from the Black Capped, except for an eye line. They are mountain dwellers, and maybe they consider 3400 feet altitude OK. We have had the Black Capped Chickadee for quite a few years and they winter here.
The Purple finch has returned with their family, and I suspect it will take up residence, as it has in years gone by. I think the adults brought the kids along, since I see breeding plumage, very bright in the males, subdued in the females, and limited in the juveniles.
It’s funny, in a way, since all these birds will sit in the same tree right now, and will have nothing to do with each other in a few weeks. Food trumps all it seems.
Just a note on bird houses, if you have one that was nested in last year, please take a few moments to go out and clean out the old nests. The birds will build a new one.