We begin with a short video of clips from our Stealth Cam near the garden, taken in January.
Deer, a three-legged coyote and an opossum came through the garden in varying degrees of cold, snowy and wet conditions.
Rusty Blackbirds foraged under the Buttonbush shrubs during freezing rain on 1-22-24. Brrr!!
Now, let's take a closer look at Pine Siskins that have wintered here in our sanctuary.
3-24-13 Pine Siskins eating thistle seed in 12" of snow
1-14-19 Pine Siskin eating seeds from Bald Cypress catkins (Taxodium distichum x Shawnee Brave).
12-24-20 Pine Siskins eating Beebalm seeds (Monarda fistulosa) in the garden.
2-13-21 Pine Siskin eating Cliff Goldenrod seeds (Solidago drummondii).
Pine Siskins are attracted to our yard in large part because of the abundance of native plant and insect food.
One-sixth of their diet is insects (arthropods).
They will also feed on elm, maple and sweet gum seeds, E. red cedar, birch, spruce and pine.
1-27-21 Pine Siskins will also eat seeds and berries of native Lonicera spp. like our Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens).
12-13-20 We documented a green morph Pine Siskin.
As you can see, it is lighter in color with less dark streaking (less brown pigment)
and with yellow-gray-green tones on its back,(black and yellow pigments, carotenoids, retained) indicating a green morph.
What I learned just recently is that according to one study that examined 1500 specimens from 6 museum collections,
about 1% were found to be green morphs, all of which were male. Whether this plumage represents a true color morph or
individual variation remains uncertain. It's considered an aberrant plumage.
On 1-28-24, I had a high count of 12 Pine Siskins.
As you can tell, all of them are darkly streaked with the exception of the bird on the left in this last photo.
Once again this winter, we have a green morph Pine Siskin. It was seen on three days. What a handsome bird!
Overall numbers have dropped as temperatures have warmed. The birds are foraging again for their native plant and insect foods.
A Song Sparrow popped out on 1-25-24.
A female Downy Woodpecker waited for a turn at the suet while the Northern Flicker female took its time.
Fog helped disguise this Cooper's Hawk as it flew through the woodland.
Once the hawk left, the Blue Jay and Carolina Wrens were back to business.
Another immature female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker hammered into old wells of sap to drink.
Isn't nature beautiful?!!
The sapsucker had worked so hard to get the sap flowing.
Many will enjoy its efforts!