We've gained 13 minutes of daylight since the solstice!
The big news is that the Eastern Bluebirds have figured out where food is for them on cold days when the insects aren't as easily found. Yay for the bluebirds! Feeders helped the breeding pair get through last winter when snow covered the ground for days. They've brought in the whole brood. With several inches of snow predicted for Friday night and Saturday, we will probably have birds at all the feeders.
There's a hanging tray feeder, a couple window feeders where at least one bluebird took a mealworm, and this setup on the deck. I've dubbed it the "Grab 'n Go" bar.
Main food items for these feeders are dried mealworms, Bark Butter Bits (Wild Birds Unlimited product) and fine sunflower chips. A suet cake could be broken into bits, too. These foods are also popular with a lot of other bird species like House Finches and American Goldfinches. Here are a few more.
Tufted Titmice, Blue Jays and Northern Flickers come in and quickly grab a bite, then head back to the trees and shrubs for cover.
The birds will rest in trees near the feeding stations and this male is in a Spicebush (Lindera benzoin). The birds are coming to the fountain often for water, which is on the deck railing. The white framework supports a plastic cover and a wool blanket as insulation to keep the water from freezing up on bitterly cold nights.
Again this year, our neighbors shared their Christmas tree with us after taking it down. It still has great fragrance and the sparrows and juncos took to using it right away for cover. We staked it southeast of the stump, which blocks the northwest winds. Now, the bark butter log had not been getting much traffic so Dan took off the hardware cloth cage and made a new one with this vinyl mesh. Small birds should be able to get through, larger birds can come up from underneath. Hopefully, the starlings will still be deterred.
Now, we have seen some new birds for the year.
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have been coming in to drink and bathe at the Bubbler. An immature male has been seen more often, the adult female has the white throat.
Song Sparrows are seen at different times of the year in our yard, but often in the winter. This bird saw the Christmas tree and stayed there a few days, hardly seen outside of it. I caught it trying to sneak in a bath with the bluebird yesterday.
A Yellow-rumped Warbler was first seen in the pond cypress on 1-9-22. It has come in to get some bark butter and bathe the last couple days. What a splash artist!
The magnificent Pileated Woodpecker came to the suet feeder on 1-10-22 and the next day, it took to the bark butter as all the other woodpeckers have done. The male has the red 'moustache'. Either sex can reach 19.5" long compared to the Brown Creeper at 5.5".
We are still seeing Brown Creepers and Red-breasted Nuthatches every day. It's winter, and soon their tolerances will be put to the test!
"Queedle, Queedle and Turalee!"