Sunday, March 06, 2011

Today's Bird Visitors

It's been snowing since 11 AM and we've now got about 2 inches on the deck. It's sent the birds into a feeding frenzy.

In addition, there are some newcomers coming in to fill up.

A couple of European Starlings came in to check the ground beneath the feeders and the covered tray on the side.

Then there was a small group of blackbirds at the base of the telephone pole. I could see one was a mature male Red-winged Blackbird but two looked like females--and that's just plain wrong. Female Redwings don't show up until the males have staked out territories, usually sometime around mid-April. Then I checked the Sibley's and there was a picture of the young males looking like the female. It doesn't say when they molt into breeding plumage, but these could be young males hatched last summer who haven't made the change.

One of the birds in that group just didn't look right. I saw no wing bars on the side of the very sold black body. So I picked up the binoculars and saw a yellow iris in the eye. Could it be a Common Grackle? No. The tail was too short and that eye was in a brownish head not an iridescent blue. I was looking at something much, much rarer. It was a Rusty Blackbird!

Oh and we had a Brown-headed Cowbird sitting on the post at the end of the deck. Which, at first glance looks a lot like the Rust Blackbird--except it's smaller in body and tail, and has a plain brown eye.

So we had Red-Winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds and a Rusty Blackbird joining the 50 to 75 Common Redpolls, dozens of Black-capped Chickadees and Dark-eyed Juncos, a dozen or so Mourning Doves, five or six Blue Jays, and the same number of White-breasted Nuthatches and Tufted Titmice. One or two Red-breasted Nuthatches, American Crows, and a pair of Northern Cardinals rounded out the morning's visitors.

Off in the distance I and hidden by the falling snow I heard a small flock of geese. Probably complaining to their leader who brought them north yesterday.

1 comment:

JDP said...

I enjoy seeing photos of your birds. Maybe you will have time to take some when it warms up and you don't have to spend all day shoveling snow.