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Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

Who's Who at Your Birdfeeder?

Posted Sunday, January 6, 2013, at 7:48 AM

(Photo)
Red-Breasted Nuthatch (picture from NationalGeographic.com)
I count myself very fortunate because of the number of desirable birds at my feeder. It's not like that in more urban areas. I live in a subdivision and still have great birds.

Of course, I am seeing a good number of English sparrows (non-native) but I also get to see Chipping Sparrows and Song Sparrows. The usual culprits are here as well, including American Cardinals, House Finches, Chickadees and Titmice.

Regular visitors are Downy Woodpeckers and - squirrels!

Even better are the American Goldfinches, Purple Finches and White-Breasted Nuthatches. I especially like Nuthatches because they are the only songbird in North American that can go down a tree head-first. And just a couple of days ago I watched an elusive Catbird at my feeder.

But God gave me a Christmas present this year that I never expected to see - several Red-Breasted Nuthatches. These birds are not supposed to be here - any time. Of course, I had to know what is going on with these unusual birds. They are smaller than their white-breasted cousins. Their breast is not even red - it is a golden color.

After doing some research, I found these birds are "irrupting". (And I didn't miss-spell it!) This is a process that happens among birds and animals when normal food sources are gone. I think this time we can blame it on the drought of 2012. The birds have sought a new habitat so that their species can continue. They will likely continue to live in their new area even when Mother Nature gets balanced again.

So, give a shout out. Who is visiting your feeder?


Comments
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my most frequent visitors are American gold finch, followed by cardinals and purple house finch. But I also get a good number of chickadee, nuthatch, titmouse, mourning dove, hairy woodpecker and downy woodpecker. Less frequently there the occasional indigo, towhee, grosbeak. There's the bluebirds that visit the bird bath most every day with the sparrows, robins and mocking birds. Also have Carolina wrens that visit fairly regularly catching bugs on the window screens. Lately seems there have been a large number of crows; just today there were about 3 dozen just beyond my the back yard. Most infrequent are the red headed and pileated wood peckers. I'm sure there are others but these just come to mind right now.

-- Posted by bentryder on Tue, Jan 8, 2013, at 6:36 PM

We have wide variety but have admittedly been cutting back on the amount of feed we buy. With four feeders out there, it could match our cats before long and it is amazing how fast it can disappear.

Squirrels are out there but they are stopped by our foil I put up a few years ago, If not for that we would have had to stop feeding altogether.

Regrettably, I am not educated on the differences between many of the finches so while I know they are different, I do not know exactly what they are unless they are sporting their colors.

What qualifies a bird as a "song bird".

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 6:26 AM

Wow, bentryder! I am impressed, especially with the indigo bunting - When I was in Joelton I got to see this beautiful bird only once in a while - you must live in a very rural area! It's been forever since I have seen a towhee, or a grosbeak!

Surely you are not living in a subdivision??

-- Posted by wildwoman on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 6:26 AM

actually I do live in a subdivision just northwest of town; tho' my back yard is adjacent to rural farmland. I frequently have deer also; have had more than a dozen wild turkey scratching around the feeders from time to time. Then there is also the Cooper's Hawk keeping watch over the feeders and swooping in for a snack. The hawk crashed thru the screen into my patio a couple years ago; I was able to capture the critter with a blanket and set it free to continue surveillance.

-- Posted by bentryder on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 8:11 AM

Songbirds are those which are mot classified as birds of prey, waterbirds, or gamebirds like pheasants.

I want to live where bentryder lives!!!

Steve - by sporting colors you mean the summer colors?

-- Posted by wildwoman on Wed, Jan 9, 2013, at 11:44 AM


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Vicky Carder is a Shelbyville native. In 1991 she founded Walden's Puddle Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Nashville. There she served as Executive Director for more than 12 years. The Center is the largest wildlife hospital in Middle Tennessee. She has published in wildlife national and international journals. Now she wants to share her knowledge of native wildlife and some of the experiences she had while working with wildlife.
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