Sunday, December 22, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013


Downy Woodpecker.  The Downy is our smallest woodpecker and is quite common.  It prefers suet but will eat sunflower seeds.  A little patch of red on the back of the head marks this one as a male.

Red-bellied Woodpecker.  As you can see there is little or no red on its belly, and is therefore poorly named.  This woodpecker is more common than it was in the past and it has adapted well to feeders.  It prefers sunflower seeds and suet and is quite aggressive.  It is one of the few birds that can chase a squirrel off the feeder.


We have three species of woodpecker that commonly visit our feeders.  All three are shown in this photo as they wait to get their turn at the suet feeder. On the suet is the Red-bellied woodpecker, to its right is the Downy woodpecker, and at the lower left is a similar, but larger relative, the Hairy woodpecker. All three eat both suet and sunflower seeds. The tail of a Blue Jay is also visiable in this photo.  There is a definite "pecking" order to who gets to feed first. The most aggresive is the Red-billied, then the Jay, then the Hairy, and lastly the Downy. Perhaps this is where the phrase "pecking order" came from.

The male Cardinals are a brilliant red.  They seem to eat only the sunflower seeds and prefer to eat them off the ground.  The worse the winter weather the more they come to the feeder.  They are shy and prefer to come very early in the morning and at dusk.  We currently have a group of about a dozen visiting.  Our record at one time has been over 50 Cardinals after a huge snowstorm.

The female Cardinals are not as colorful as the males and they are more timid when feeding.

The Blue Jays are in the crow family, and they always come to the feeders as a mob.  We currently have a mob of about 10 daily.  They prefer sunflower seeds and suet.

The White-breasted Nuthatch is a year around visitor to our feeders.  It prefers sunflower seeds and suet.  We seem to have a steady group of 2 or 3 at all times. TO VIEW MORE OF OUR PHOTOS GO UP AN TO THE RIGHT AND CLICK ON DECEMER 2013 OR ANY MONTH DESIRE.

The Red-breasted Nuthatch is a northern species that usually arrives in early September and sometimes spends the whole winter with us.  This year we only have one at our feeders and as you can see it prefers sunflower seeds.  It also likes the suet.

The Juncos arrive from up north in late October and will spend the winter in large numbers(50+) feeding on the ground below the feeders.  They prefer the cheap seeds-millet type.

We have Chickadees year around.  During winter we have a crew of about 6-9 that spend the winter with us.

The Goldfinches loose their yellow in the winter.  This one has more yellow than most-took this photo earlier in another winter season.  We still have about 10 with us but if the winter deepens they sometimes pull out.

And of course we have a few House(English) sparrows with us.  Female on left and male on rt.
Surprisingly we still also have about a dozen Robins still here but they do not come to the feeder-they are feeding on our cedar tree berries.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


We were treated to a standoff between a red Pine Squirrel and a spectacular Pileated Woodpecker the other day.  We felt others might like to see some of the photos we got of that standoff.

About 20 ft outside our kitchen window we have an old rotten stump that we have built a small platform sunflower feeder on.  Several times a year the very large Pileated woodpecker will vist this stump to peck grubs and worms out of the rotten wood.  It seldom eats the seeds but will peck away at the stump.  It stopped by the other day to have a snack and gave us an great show.

The Hairy woodpecker(on the right) is a common visitor at our sunflower feeder that is built on an old stump.  As you can see the Pileated woodpecker is much larger than any other woodpecker.

The Pileated was at the stump for a few minutes when a bold Pine squirrel came into the feeder to get some sunflower seeds. The Pileated tried to intimidate the interloper into leaving.

The Pileated then chased the Pine squirrel off the top of the feeder.  This is the only time I have ever seen the Pileated eat sunflowers at our feeder.

The disagreement then moved to a maple tree just beyond the feeder.  The Piliated tries to make itself look larger by spreading its wings.  This is about as close as they ever got to each other.  The battle went from the tree to the feeder stump several times before the Pine squirrel moved on with out harm to either one.