Sunday, January 25, 2009

PFW - Week 12: First Goldfinch

Last summer after I first moved here, I did see an occasional American Goldfinch. But this weekend was the first time I've had one visit the feeders. He didn't return today during the light snow that fell, but at least I know they are out there and I'm looking forward to seeing them more often. Especially as they molt and the bright yellow feathers come in.

The total count for PFW this weekend was higher and included the return of the Carolina Chickadee and American Robin. The numbers picked up today, the second day of the two day count, with the arrival of the light snow. Temperatures stayed below freezing all weekend.
  • Carolina Chickadee 2
  • American Robin 6
  • European Starling 5
  • Song Sparrow 1
  • White-throated Sparrow 6
  • Dark-eyed Junco 4
  • Northern Cardinal 2
  • House Finch 9 (0 with eye disease)
  • American Goldfinch 1 (0 with eye disease)
  • House Sparrow 1

Northern Cardinal

Dark-eyed Junco

Carolina Chickadee

Song Sparrow
scratching in the snow to find the sunflower chips

Sunday, January 18, 2009

PFW - Week 11: Just the Count Results

Mourning Dove 1
Song Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 2
Dark-eyed Junco 2
Northern Cardinal 2
House Finch 5 (0 with eye disease)

Looking Up to Lucy

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Early Signs of Spring?

Last weekend I mentioned hearing the Cardinals singing, invoking thoughts of Spring despite the brutal cold weather we are experiencing. This morning I also heard a Red-winged Blackbird singing in the distance. But even more interesting was this female Cardinal perched in the tree in front of my next door neighbor's window.

Over and over she would fly to the window in attack mode. Evidently, she saw her reflection and was trying to run off the intruder. This is common behavior in the Spring when mating starts up. I thought it was kind of early in the year for this to happen, but apparently I was wrong.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Q: The behavior .... often occurs in spring. This is the time of year when most birds are busy establishing their territories, finding a mate, laying eggs, and raising their young. They are very protective of their territory and will attack and try to drive away any bird they view as a possible competitor or a threat to their young. When they see their own reflection in your window, they assume they’re seeing a competitor and so they attack their own image. Both males and females may do this, especially species that often nest close to houses, such as American Robins, Northern Cardinals, Chipping Sparrows, and Song Sparrows.

This territorial reaction may be so strong that the bird may exhaust itself, but it usually doesn't result in fatal injury.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

PFW - Week 10: Winter Birds

While I never look forward to winter and the cold weather, I have always been able to look forward to the winter birds to make it bearable. Just about the time Project FeederWatch starts the White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos arrive, steadily increasing their numbers throughout the season. It hasn't happened here, however, until today. I've seen one or two here and there, but this weekend, there were 10 WT Sparrows and 3 Juncos brightening the dreary winter landscape.

I was too happy to see them to even think about taking pictures, but managed to capture the female and male Cardinals today. Even though it is a ways off, the Cardinals quietly singing Cheer-Cheer-Cheerio in the bushes brought a harbinger of Spring.

PFW Count:
  • Song Sparrow 1
  • White-throated Sparrow 10
  • Dark-eyed Junco 3
  • Northern Cardinal 2
  • House Finch 5 (0 with eye disease)
  • House Sparrow 4

Lucy doesn't think I see her, and I didn't have the heart to tell her the camouflage wasn't working. She's a young'un. Why discourage her.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

PFW - Week 9: Ho Hum (unless you're a CARDINAL fan)

This weekend's count, nothing exciting:
  • Song Sparrow 1
  • Dark-eyed Junco 1
  • Northern Cardinal 2
  • House Finch 4 (0 with eye disease)
Even Lucy seemed bored by the lackluster showing of birds. I'm just waiting for the weekend when I have to check this box on the Project FeederWatch data entry form:
Check if you watched your feeders but NO BIRDS were present.

The weekend was saved when the Louisville Cardinals beat rival Kentucky Wildcats in a basketball game that was won at the buzzer by a long three from Edgar Sosa. Another one of my favorite teams, the Tennessee Lady Vols, also pulled out a tough win against Rutgers yesterday. Unfortunately, Tennessee's men's team couldn't make it happen.

Song Sparrow on the platform feeder