First Winter Storm 1-11-19

January 14, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Before the snow began to fall, birds were about their usual winter business: foraging, resting, drinking and bathing in turn. Northern Flicker, Mourning Dove, and American Crow were in the mix of birds.


Northern Flicker 1-11-19Northern Flicker 1-11-19 Mourning Dove resting 1-10-19Mourning Dove resting 1-10-19 American Crow 1-101-9American Crow 1-101-9


A Hairy Woodpecker came in to drink and a Blue Jay bathed even as the first flakes and a bit of sleet began to fall. 


Hairy Woodpecker 1-11-19Hairy Woodpecker 1-11-19 Blue Jay 1-11-19Blue Jay 1-11-19


I wanted a ready measuring stick for the heavy snow that was to come. I found an old yardstick, but Dan had a much better idea. He re-used a leftover piece of PVC pipe, marked it and put it over a rod from a feeder hook. It was in place in the garden before the snow began about 12:45 pm. 





Tufted Titmouse and House Finch 1-11-19Tufted Titmouse and House Finch 1-11-19


Yikes! Yes, birds, we know. Not to worry, we have plenty of seed! This Tufted Titmouse and House Finch seemed to plead for reassurance. We filled every feeder to the brim and scattered seed under the gazebo for the ground feeding birds. The snow began to accumulate.


A Northern Cardinal and Pine Siskin seemed to be wondering how long this storm would go on.


Northern Cardinal 1-11-19Northern Cardinal 1-11-19 Pine Siskin 1-11-19Pine Siskin 1-11-19


A Red-breasted Nuthatch came in for some food, but this bird has been AWOL since Friday afternoon. Did it leave in the storm overnight? We wondered.


Red-breasted Nuthatch 1-11-19Red-breasted Nuthatch 1-11-19


By 4:48 pm, near sunset, the tally stood at over 4 inches.


Snow depth 4:48 pm 1-11-19Snow depth 4:48 pm 1-11-19


The snow came down in earnest. Here's what it looked like at midnight from the Bubbler Cam.


1-11-19 about midnight


By the next morning, the snow was much deeper, easily 9" by 7:30 am.



The number of Pine Siskins was at eleven, and the first Song Sparrow for the year came in.


Seven Pine Siskins 1-11-19Seven Pine Siskins 1-11-19 FOY #29 Song Sparrow 1-12-19FOY #29 Song Sparrow 1-12-19


A Hairy Woodpecker and Northern Flicker were briefly on the same oak tree, looking for bark butter.


Hairy Woodpecker and Northern Flicker 1-12-19Hairy Woodpecker and Northern Flicker 1-12-19


A Northern Cardinal and a Mourning Dove were two species that looked for water in the basin and on the large bubbler rock amidst the mounds of snow.


Northern Cardinal at Bubbler basin 1-12-19Northern Cardinal at Bubbler basin 1-12-19 Mourning Dove on snowy bubbler 1-12-19Mourning Dove on snowy bubbler 1-12-19


Just after noon, I saw a new bird for the year, a Rusty Blackbird. There were two males hanging about the west feeder. They stayed about an hour before flying off. I think they might have been scouts for a larger flock. 


  FOY #30 Rusty Blackbird 1-12-19FOY #30 Rusty Blackbird 1-12-19


Late in the evening, we heard a Great Horned Owl calling for species #31 for the year. It was still snowing lightly. Sunday, 1/13/19 was the third day of the storm. Birds came in early, then scattered for cover. Our first Cooper's Hawk of the year had flown in. It sat in this same spot for nearly four hours! I assumed it was digesting a meal, but the birds weren't taking any chances and stayed well-hidden.


FOY #32 Cooper's Hawk 1-13-19FOY #32 Cooper's Hawk 1-13-19


Our second new bird that day was an American Tree Sparrow, only seen here in the winter. It's a perky little sparrow, fun to watch. None were seen last year at all.


FOY #33 American Tree Sparrow 1-3-19FOY #33 American Tree Sparrow 1-3-19


A Rusty Blackbird was under the feeders, finding seed, but this bird looked like a female.


Rusty Blackbird 1-13-19Rusty Blackbird 1-13-19


The third new bird for the year that day was a female Brown-headed Cowbird for #34. They are resident all year in Missouri and move around with blackbird flocks. 


FOY #34 Brown-headed Cowbird female 1-13-19FOY #34 Brown-headed Cowbird female 1-13-19


So, the snow is still very much with us! And, with that storm, we saw many new birds. Today, I was very glad when Dan said he thought he saw the Red-breasted Nuthatch. I focused on the peanut feeder and as luck would have it, the bird came right in. Has it been here and I just missed it the last few days with all the other birds around? It's possible, they're so quick.


Red-breasted Nuthatch 1-14-19Red-breasted Nuthatch 1-14-19


With that thought, here is a well-timed article from Cornell Lab on feeding birds. Hope you enjoy the discussion.


Why do we feed birds and should we?








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