Thursday, November 18, 2010

Backyard Activity

 Monday morning I watched as 63 Dark-eyed Juncos flew into the tree behind my house. I have been seeing many juncos on a daily basis, but I never counted them before. I was astounded at how many there were. I was afraid to leave the window because many other vagrant birds will join flocks of juncos. I didn't want to miss anything special. Nevertheless, after regular gawking, I didn't find anything unusual this week.

In the past they have had several
special birds like the American Redstart and several varieties of sparrows with them. I will continue to scan the flock as they move in and out of my yard.

On any given day, I will see several Blue Jays. Some consider this bird to be a nuisance, but it is so bright and commanding, that it puts on a show every time it appears.
Not as frequent but a regular visitor, the Northern Flicker comes to my yard on a daily basis. The flashing yellow shaft displayed in flight is spectacular. There have been so many Northern Flickers around this year. On almost every trip that I have made into the woods, I have seen one or more flickers. They appear to be coming to the yard most often to enjoy the suet and the black-oil sunflower seeds. I have also noticed the Blue Jay and the Northern Flicker flicking the food out of the feeder onto the ground. They are the cause of a lot of wasted food.

 While I have seen the juncos, jays and flicker visit my yard regularly over the last three years, the Red-breasted Nuthatch is a new arrival this year. At times, I have had at least three in the yard garnering their share of the sunflower seeds. These are tiny little birds that are very interesting to watch.  I am delighted that they have joined the regular ranks.
 The Black-capped Chickadee is always a "pleaser." There have been up to three in the yard at a time visiting the suet, but their menu of choice also seems to be the sunflower seeds. It is odd because the chickadees don't come every day but appear more often on a weekly basis.
Among they other daily visits from Rock Pigeons, American Crows, and Ravens, I can always count on the European Starlings to show up. As described in an earlier post about the starlings, it it sheer entertainment to watch them undergo the transition from juvenile to adult.

More recently, I have had a raptor (unidentified) show up in my yard twice within the last three weeks. It is clearly stalking the junco tree. On both occasions I was not fast enough with my camera to document its visit nor identify it.

My yard is in constant motion with the flitting, jumping and calling of all of these different birds. There seems to be a real shortage of cones and berries in the woods this year. Maybe  that is a result of all of the rain we had this summer, just guessing. At any rate, it is quite likely that backyard bird feeders are going to play a very important role in the survival of many of the small birds that will over-winter in Newfoundland this year.

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