Monday, November 12, 2012

Birds of the Aerie

Not much happening here at the Aerie. After having a couple of days of very cold weather with heavy frosts, things warmed up for the weekend. It was highs in the 60s Sunday and again today. Only problem was the wind that started Sunday night. Blowing out of the south in advance of a cold front coming in tonight, it blew steadily all day Monday at about 20-25 mph and gusted into the 30-35 mph range. Not much new in the birds appearing on the home front either with the exception of one old friend. Sunday we had a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers come up close. Unlike in the past, however, they didn't come to the feeders for any sunflower seeds. Instead they visited several trees--paper birch, ash, locust--looking for insects, spiders and their eggs.

Red-bellied Woodpecker 

Saturday I had a chance to see the Pileated Woodpeckers, but they caught me without a camera. It wouldn't have made a difference. The two of them were just a bit too far into the woods and flitting from tree to tree. I'm not sure I could have gotten a clear shot of either of them.

Today I spotted--and positively identified--a House Finch on the tray feeder on the deck and again on the feeders on the side of the house. Again, they were here for just a moment and then disappeared for now and, again, I didn't have the camera ready. Now it's got me thinking about the "Purple Finch" I so casually IDed last week. Other than the those, only the regulars have been here. Often. There are a couple of visitors that dominate the feeders when they arrive. They chase everyone else away and eat their fill.

Blue Jay 

When five or six Jays appear, everyone else goes off to the stick feeders or the brush. They are bullies of the neighborhood but are willing to contribute to the safety of the smaller birds by raising an alarm when a hawk comes in sight.

But these guys....
Gray Squirrel 

...they're not so much bullies as dominating. When the Gray Squirrels hit the feeders they HIT THE FEEDERS! They hang from the pole by their hind legs so as to reach out and feed on the hanging feeder. They sit on the deck rail and hold the stick feeders like submarine periscopes grabbing seed from the portals. One will sit on and empty the tray feeder. Only when they are chased from a feeder by me or another squirrel will they give up their free food--but not for long. Already this week (and the feeders have only been out for one week) there have been as many as 12 squirrels in the yard at one time. And most of them look like the one in the photo--plump! (Oh, if there were just more room in the freezer!)

1 comment:

Ruth said...

The house finch ID vs Purple is hard this year. I've had several birds, that at first glance I got all excited and thought it might be a I snapped a shot, and when I got it back to the computer to look at realized it was a house finch. I swear they're brighter red this year than usual.....