Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bird Watching

We love to watch the birds and if the light is right we take pictures too. Here is a small sample of some of the brighter visitors to Sparrow Haven.

To encourage the birds we have placed several feeders and feeder stations around the yard. In the picture of the goldfinches you can see the niger seed feeder, a favourite of the finches, and the fruit and nut feeder in the background. We've seen all manner of bird and squirrel using the fruit and nut feeder but it is specifically for attracting Chickadees, Nuthatches, and the Downy Woodpecker. The Tufted Titmouse also like to forage from the fruit and nut feeder.

Female Rose Breasted Grosbeak
Here we have one of the platform feeders. This feeder is filled with peanuts in the shell, sunflower seeds, and a mix seed good for most common birds. The Blue Jays love the peanuts while other birds tend to feed off the mixed seed. Here the newest visitor to Sparrow Haven, a female Rose Breasted Grosbeak, picks through the mixed seeds looking for sunflower seeds and safflower seeds. Cardinals are also big fans of the sunflower and safflower seed mix but they prefer a different feeder.

Cardinals prefer the covered platform feeders that we have hanging in the middle of the yard. Here you can see the hanging Barn style platform feeders as well as the new ground feeding station we just built. We use the sunflower and safflower seed mix in the platform feeders and for the most part it is the Grosbeaks and the Cardinals who use them. Occasionally you'll see Grackles, Cowbirds, and Starlings in there as well.

The ground feeder was built for the ground foraging birds we have around, namely the Mourning Dove and the Rock Dove. The Rock Dove looks like the average pigeon and for all I know they may actually be the common pigeon. The day after we built and installed the ground feeder the sparrows were happily scratching around in the millet seed we had place inside on the screen. AS yet, we haven't seen either type of dove use the feeder but they will get used to it.

Behind the ground feeder is the bird bath. We keep the water topped up and fresh and have been rewarded for our diligence by the many variety of birds who drink and bath in it. We also have a circulating fountain near the back door that is a favourite of the smaller birds such as the different species of sparrows and the Chickadees. It is such a favourite that the sparrows all came to inspect it when we brought it out from its winter storage. Just minutes after we hooked it up there was a lineup of birds waiting to visit it.

Hairy Woodpecker
A Hairy Woodpecker scuttles around the branches of the Flowering Crabapple tree where the fruit and nut feeder is hung. These silly birds have been know the hammer away at the television antennas in the area. The sound carries very well and can be quite deafening if the antenna is outside your bedroom window.

We have also seen Downy Woodpeckers and have spotted what we believe was a Pileated Woodpecker from a distance. The Downy is smaller than the Hairy and moves with quick jerks up and down on the tree branches and trunks.

Near the back of the property we have a wild area as well as a couple of feeders, but I'll save that for a different post.

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