Since we moved to our condo, we have fed birds and offered a couple of birdhouses. We had done this for years before moving here so it seemed only natural. Feeding has attracted a large number of birds, nearly all sparrows, but some others as well. The bird house was designed for a tree swallow, but all we have ever had is sparrows. We also have a bird bath, that is used more often than not as a source of water to drink. Sparrows prefer dust baths to water, unlike the robin that delights in emptying our birdbath of water.
The food we offer is mainly black oil sun flower seeds, and suet blocks. Both are well received by all the birds, and I really welcome them all except the crows and the magpies, since these dudes kill the young of the smaller birds and therefore they drive the small birds away. If you know anything about birds you will know these are pretty big birds, as seen above.
The crows were chased away from the nest, but they still hang around, and cause some alarm with our other birds, but even so we see a lot less of them now than we did, so the dividend is that a very few robins have returned, and are seen in the lawn looking for worms and grubs. A welcome sight indeed. No young flying with them as yet, just the old timers.
The chickadees are around all year, and seem to pair up to the extent that where one of them goes the other is just seconds behind. They have become quite tame and our presence in the yard doesn’t see, to disturb them in any way, Their song varies too with the time of year. Right now they come to the feeder, or sit in the big tree beside the seed feeder, waiting their turn. While waiting they let loose with their signature call of “Chick a dee dee dee dee. I even saw one that was imitating a Phoebe and doing a pretty good job of it too. We have had phoebes in the past, but not this year, and the only bird around was the chickadee!
Our families of purple finches are around most of the time, but do leave from time to time, but return when the feeder is not too crowded. They love the sunflower seeds, and we see the whole family at the feeder. The males are the red ones, the females have way less colour and the infants resemble the mothers with little colour. They are about sparrow size, but the markings are more distinct on the finch. Their song is somewhat distinctive in the spring, and it is great to hear. Very melodious. Obviously that is a male on the right in full breeding plumage. I have never found where they nest in our community, but I am sure that they do. We are loaded with spruce trees, and a lot of deciduous ones as well.
A new bird showed up this past week, flying to the feeder from the trees across the road. It stayed only for a fraction of a second, and I hoped it would come back and it did. It was a red breasted nuthatch, and these birds like to live where there are a lot of conifers, so that may explain why he showed up at our feeder. He was after the sunflower seeds, not the suet feeder. These birds are usually seen walking up or down the trunk of a tree probing the bark with their long beaks looing for insects. But they do frequent feeders if they are available. Kind of a strange bird in a way, note the very short tail. Contrast that with the ungainly tail of the magpie above!
I have included a picture of our British Sparrows that seems to be universal around the world, yet I don’t see them in Hawaii. They were introduced to North America, and are now a pest. Something like the Canadian Beaver introduced into Argentina and that now spend all their time damming streams and being a huge pest. Sparrows are aggressive, and will literally boot a family of swallows out of a nest box, but a wren is even more aggressive, and he will boot the swallows out, build his nest and then sing his heart out for a female to arrive and mate with him. The picture is of a male sparrow.
Finally I have included pictures of a couple of birds we don’t see here too often but who are known to nest in our area. There is the Northern Flicker, that was re-named from either the Yellow Shafted flicker, or the Red Shafted flicker, when the whole flicker family was combined into the Northern Flicker. Originally the name came from the colour under the wings when the bird was flying. Red or yellow. They are a kind of woodpecker, but exist for the most part on a diet of ants! We often saw them at ant hills when we had the cottage in BC. I have only seen them passing through here last fall and it was just for a very few days. It would peck at a tree that seems to host ants and at the suet feeder.
The last bird we have in our area is a Downy woodpecker, a bit smaller than the Hairy woodpecker, but otherwise similar in colour. Both birds live in our area of Canada year round, but I have only seen the Downy, and that was last year when it visited our suet feeder and our Hawthorn tree. He took off and that was all for him. I can only hope he returns this year, and dines at our suet feeder.
So, there we are, all up to date on our avian population. I do hope you have enjoyed the stay, and will come back. Any new birds we see, I’ll try to get them on the blog. Lastly I must tell you that all the pictures were taken off the image tab in Google, after running a search. I can only wish I could get pictures like they have on Google!
Have a Great Day!