Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bird Roundup at the Aerie

Our bird feeders and the environs around the Aerie have been busy places lately.

We've seen a small flock of Goldfinches make them a daily stop. Anywhere from 12 to 24 of the olive birds with their black wings with white stripes can be seen in the morning getting their fill of black oil sunflower seeds.

A somewhat larger number of Dark-eyed Juncos can be found along the edge of the yard or underneath the feeders looking for seeds of all sorts on the ground. Some of these snowbirds will come up to the deck and the tray feeder to pick at the pieces of sunflower seeds left by the squirrels and larger birds but I seldom catch them actually opening a sunflower seed themselves.

The ground feeding Mourning Doves are often around. I've watched some of them start under the feeder and work their way up into the woods turning leaves to locate wind-blown seed or insects.

The Black-capped Chickadees continually flit in and out to raid the feeders. They seldom stay longer than it takes to pick out a "good" seed from the lot before they head off to the pines to either eat their find or stash it in some nook or crevasse for later.

The Tufted Titmice behave in much the same manner as the Chickadees, but are far fewer in number. Same with the White-breasted Nuthatches who are fewer still.

Yesterday we thought we saw a female Purple Finch at the tray and today we had confirmation of a sort when a male showed up in his raspberry colors.

We've got a few Downy Woodpeckers that come for seed, too. We'd probably have more if I put out a suet block, but the last one got carried off by a bear and the feeder was never seen again.

I thought I spotted a Brown Creeper in the locust trees off the yard the other day. I didn't have my binoculars with me but it was small and brown and sure behaved like one going down the tree trunk head first. It won't come to the seed feeders, however, as it prefers the insect eggs, bugs and spiders it finds in the tree bark.

Overhead there are the Common Ravens, American Crows and the occasional Red-tailed Hawk. They don't come to the feeders but they do make their presence known. (Actually, I keep waiting for the Red-tails to zoom in and snatch one of the many Gray Squirrels that monopolize the feeders for hours. I counted a dozen of the tree rats this morning. Or, perhaps, a Sharp Shinned Hawk to scoop up a Goldfinch or Junco.)

I also caught sight of a flock of geese, probably 175-200 Canadas, heading south the other day after the front moved through and the wind shifted and temperatures plummeted. They were way up there just beneath the cloud bottoms and seemed a bit disorganized as they tried to form up. It wasn't the prettiest V in the world and there was lots of discussion about that and perhaps their destination as they flew on.

There you have it. A roster of what's been seen at the Aerie over the past week or so.

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