A Slippery Start
Temperatures hovered around 29 degrees, freezing rain gave way to melting droplets and ended with snowflakes. Bedraggled birds came in by the dozens to forage, and we had 24 species on this first day of the new year.
The Pine Siskin count was 22, a pair of Brown Creepers were seen, and American Goldfinches numbered 13. A Blue Jay looked to be encased in ice as it rested in a viburnum.
A Red-bellied Woodpecker was challenged by a pest but held its ground against this European Starling. The immature male and female Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers both came in looking for bark butter.
Rusty Blackbirds were seen in the woodland, tossing leaves and looking for insects. American Crows came in low, near the Bubbler, hoping for a handout the next day. Even in these miserable-to-us conditions, Pine Siskins held a pool party.
A Hairy Woodpecker took some time to nap on the bark butter feeder. Northern Cardinals, Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows were seen going in and out of the still fragrant Christmas tree, salvaged from our neighbors. We thank you, Nick, Courtney and George, and so do the birds! We staked it for additional cover, and just in time before the first snowflakes fell.
On Sunday, 1-3-21, a female Purple Finch stayed long enough to be documented. However, the resident House Finches did not make the bird welcome at all. They harassed the Purple Finch at each feeder.
Meanwhile, the Pine Siskins continued to take advantage of bathing time after lunch.
On the next day, another female Purple Finch came in. To me, this bird looked a bit brighter, with more contrast in its plumage. At the same time, a very striped female Red-winged Blackbird was near the feeder, FOY#28 for the year.
Tuesday, 1-5-21 was a much nicer day. It warmed up to 50.2 degrees, the 'Yellow-shafted' Northern Flicker female seemed to thoroughly enjoy a dunking. See the shafts of its feathers? The western sub-species has red shafts.
A Red-tailed Hawk was seen soaring and heard calling, FOY#29. Carolina Wrens were singing, and insects were dancing about. All of the insect activity brought in Eastern Bluebirds, FOY#30.
We took an idea from our friend, Wally George, to re-use a storage container as a tray feeder for the birds. It took a few days, but quite a few species now have used it. Sixteen Pine Siskins were on it on Thursday, 1-7-21, and as we added up the Siskins on the other feeders and in the Bubbler Basin, we came up with 43. Today's count was 48, our highest ever.
Blue Jays, a Song Sparrow and today, a Common Grackle have visited the Bubbler, bringing the year total to 23 and overall yard total to 32. As counting birds goes, it has been a good start to the year.
We have gained 11 minutes of daylight since the Solstice, have you noticed?
As the Brown Creeper says, "Hang in there, please stay safe and well!"