Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Bird Food Court

Chores were accomplished a bit early today because it is so cold out. As I came in, I noticed 12 cardinals at the birdefeeders, their evening visit, but there wasn't enough light for a photo. However, I took a bunch of bird shots this morning through the window, plastic and all, including this cardinal on the garden bench.
The  female cardinal is even prettier than the male, I think, if not so flashy.
On the west side of the house I have a bird food court set up with 16 assorted feeders (four hang right next to the windows for closeup viewing.) It is a pretty good feeder spot, with lots of large deciduous trees and a lilac hedge to the north for shelter, but when the fierce Canadian winter wind blows in from the northwest, it blasts right through here.
Yesterday we had one of those crazy days where it was unseasonably warm, 48 degrees(!) until  about 3 p.m. Then the arctic wind blew in and the temperature began to plummet. I had spent the warm afternoon preparing for the impending cold spell--cleaning up cowpies in the cow-feeding area and dog poops in the yard because I knew they would soon be frozen fast to the ground. I had chipped the ice out of the wading pool and filed it with clean water so the ducks and goose could take a rare midwinter bath. I secured a window in the coop that had blown loose and cleared away branches that had blown from trees and would be menacing if it snowed and we unwittingly snowblew over them. By the time I got to refilling all the birdfeeders,  the wind was blasting at over 40 mph and it was bitterly cold. I felt sorry for the poor songbirds, who could scarcely navigate in the wind, so I created a makeshift lean-to shelter between the feeders so they could access the food and easily take shelter. This morning I was pleased to see they were making use of it.
Chickadee at the window feeder.
Chickadees are so fast, flitting in to  snatch a seed and flying off to  eat it elsewhere.
Sparrows in the feeder on the east  side of the house.
I suspect these are some of the small flock of sparrows that have taken up residence in the chicken coop...
between the chicken feed and the birdfeeders they are extremely well-nourished.
Nuthatch --not the greatest shot, but one of my favorite  feeder frequenters.
I'm also very fond of the roly poly  little juncos--they are mostly ground feeders and are only here in winter.

We often see five different  kinds of woodpeckers in our yard; this is the downy, pecking at the suet feeder by the window where we sit to drink our morning coffee and watch the show.


Julie and Harold said...

Love the birds. We had tons of them at our feeders too, although we never set up a wind break for them (good for you!). Actually, though, our setting was quite secluded and not very windy. One year, we had 13 juncos who were coming every day, and one of them had only one leg. He did quite well during the winter, but he did not return the next year :-(.

Mary Ann said...

What great pictures. I would love to have a feeder near my windows, where we could see them up close and personal!

Susan said...

A couple years ago we had a male cardinal that was a regular visitor to our feeders that was bald - no crest:
I like to think his crest eventually grew back and he is one of our regular visitors now, but I just can't tell.

vera said...

Your gorgeous Cardinals remind me of a book I just read/heard in Audiobook form: A Redbird Christmas, written and read by Fannie Flagg (also author of Fried Green Tomatoes). Don't wait for Christmas.

SmithGang said...

Beautiful pics