Winter Bird Count:
It's that time of year I really start paying attention to my bird feeder. I now have two seed feeders and two suet feeders that I filled yesterday, just before the snow. All day the snow fell, and I watched, as eight tiny snow birds rushed in to eat. These small gray birds with white bellies are also called juncos and migrate here from the north. Would I see my other favorites?
A downy woodpecker stopped in at the suet feeder. I put peanut butter in both, as they seem to especially like it. That was at 8:34 in the morning, the snow falling gently. By 3:05 in the afternoon the snow was falling heavier, but two cardinals made there way over, flying back and forth between the feeder and the lilac bush and the pear tree I planted to give them more cover. There were now 11 juncos between the tree, shrub, ground, and feeder, a very nervous tufted titmouse, and a returning downy woodpecker.
I looked again the next morning, at 7:35. The snow had stopped. House finches danced around, the males' red wings bright against the white all around. Perched in the lilac were two mourning doves and I found myself singing a familiar Christmas tune. Nine junco pecking...five house finch frolic...two mourning doves, and titmouse in a pear tree...
I got to try out my new 75-300 zoom lens and it was a whole new world over last year. The titmouse did not stay still long and getting the lens to focus took time. I will try a tripod later, but I was happy to get a few close-up shots of my visitors. The chickadee, bluejays, and pair of nuthatch showed up late, and my camera's battery was fading. Then a squirrel showed up and they all flew back into the trees.
For info on how YOU can submit data for the Winter Bird Count, visit FeederWatch.org.