Skip navigation

Tag Archives: bird feeders

All the birds need to eat so I try not to get upset when I see a pygmy owl or an accipiter gazing at the feeder birds. Today there was a Merlin, a small falcon, quite a distance from the feeders, fifty meters or more, and all the little birds were gone for hours. A couple days ago I spotted a Cooper’s Hawk, an accipiter, in the same snag. I managed to digiscope some photos of it and then walked out of the room. I returned a few minutes later to find all the feeder birds gone and the hawk was right in the midst of the feeders. You can see she was intent on a meal of her own. I did not see if she caught anything when she blazed away.

Digiscoped pictures of the Cooper’s Hawk and the Merlin

Maybe November is the longest month. November 2020 for sure. Now I know why I have traveled in November the last two years. October is a lovely month in the Methow. I’ll have to rethink my travel plans for next year.

The weather brought early snow which seemed wonderful at first and for sure, groomed ski trails are in terrific shape for so early in the season. Walking, that’s another thing. The trails are icy and uneven and the rest of the snow is crusty and dangerous for the dogs. Some days we get sun which is glorious and watching it unfold across the hillsides is a sight to be seen. But many days are gray. Gray. Like today.

The birds don’t seem to mind too much, except for when it snows. We keep the feeders filled and I think they appreciate it. One morning, there was a leucistic House Finch. Leucism is a partial loss of pigmentation, which can make an animal have white or patchily colored skin, hair, or feathers.

These bright red birds are delight to see anytime but in the snow their vibrant color really pops! Crossbills are a member of the finch family – like American Goldfinches, House Finches, Pine Siskins and Pine Grosbeaks. They use their crossed beaks to break into pine cones and get the nutritious seeds. They will also come to feeders for sunflower seeds. I have read that if they have sufficient food, they can breed anytime of the year. Before the fire we observed them here year-round. Now they are just an occasional visitor to our feeders. They must miss our pine trees as much as we do.

This young female Sharp-shinned Hawk prowled the bird feeders earlier this week. I didn’t see it catch anything but I have noticed that the quail numbers are dwindling. I think there were eight last month. Then there were five. Today I only saw three. Everybody’s got to eat.

Common Redpolls are an uncommon species¬†in our area. If they do arrive here, it’s in the coldest part of the winter and they are attracted to our feeders. Some years I don’t see them at all. Last year was one of those years. This winter there is quite a flock of them coming daily to munch on black oil sunflower seeds and niger seeds. I’ve also seen them eating privet berries. They now outnumber our more commonly observed American Goldfinches, House Finches and Pine Siskins. They seem like jaunty little birds with their red crowns and the males’ pink breast.

According to Bird Webthey are arctic and sub-arctic breeders and in the winter they inhabit various kinds of semi-open country, including woodland edges and brushy or weedy fields.” Also, “they have pouches in their throats that allow them to gather large amounts of food quickly, and then retreat to a safe place to process the food. In winter, they will drop from a tree into deep snow and make a tunnel about a foot long to a roosting chamber.” I would love to find their tunnels!

%d bloggers like this: