Coldest day of January, Wednesday, 1-30-19

January 31, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

We've been away and returned, just in time for the coldest day. Oh, boy! Our weather station showed the lowest temperature being -4.7 degrees on Wednesday. 



The bird activity was constant at the feeders and the Bubbler as temperatures dropped on Tuesday. Pine Siskins, like all the finches, drink a lot after feeding on seeds. The next image of four Pine Siskins shows them at just about every angle! Pine Siskins have also been feeding in the trees, here they are shown eating seeds of the Pond Cypress.


Pine Siskin 1-29-19Pine Siskin 1-29-19 Pine Siskins 1-30-19Pine Siskins 1-30-19

Pine Siskin eating cypress seeds 1-14-19Pine Siskin eating cypress seeds 1-14-19


The Northern Flicker managed to find water in between the formations of ice as the temperature just continued to drop.

Northern Flicker 1-30-19Northern Flicker 1-30-19


On Wednesday, while watching birds under the feeders, I saw bird #36 for the year. I followed it for a few minutes before it popped up between the logs, a female Purple Finch. 


FOY #36 Purple Finch, female 1-30-19FOY #36 Purple Finch, female 1-30-19


This bird was checking out all the feeders and I found it again on the left side of the west feeder, along with House Finches and a Northern Cardinal in the deep shade.


FOY #36 Purple Finch, female 1-30-19FOY #36 Purple Finch, female 1-30-19


In this composite photo, there is a female House Finch on the left and a female Purple Finch on the right. Study those feeder birds! If you see the brownish cheek patch and white line above and below, you may be looking at a Purple Finch. It's all about the details! The next photo taken in winter shows the males in the same order in winter plumage. The male Purple Finch does not have deep striations on the sides like the House Finch. 


House Finch. female on left, Purple  Finch female on rightHouse Finch. female on left, Purple Finch female on right

House Finch on left, Purple  Finch on rightHouse Finch on left, Purple Finch on right


One last thing that can cause some confusion is that House Finches can be variable in color, from reddish to orange. In the photo below, one can see how the Purple Finch looks more like it was dipped in raspberry juice for its tint by springtime! What a beauty...there may be a quiz later!




I hadn't seen a Hermit Thrush since 1-8-19 and it was a real challenge to see it and get a photo in the bright light on that bitterly cold day. The sun is low, though we are gaining minutes of daylight every day now. By my count, we've added 44 minutes since the Winter Solstice. Take heart! Birds are singing, woodpeckers drumming and soon spring will arrive.


Hermit Thrush 1-30-19Hermit Thrush 1-30-19


In the meantime, the birds try to survive in between feeding forays by fluffing up, perching on one foot or covering then to keep warm. They rest to conserve energy. Here, a Pine Siskin and a Dark-eyed Junco show us how that's done.


Pine Siskin at rest 1-30-19Pine Siskin at rest 1-30-19 Dark-eyed Junco at rest 1-30-19Dark-eyed Junco at rest 1-30-19


Some little birds just keep on the move and eat, like the Brown Creeper. It has been coming in frequently to get a bit of the bark butter.


Brown Creeper 1-30-19Brown Creeper 1-30-19


Stay warm and enjoy our winter birds!






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