January 27, 2016

These cold winter days all it takes is some tempting seed hanging outside your window and  the  entertainment begins.  This bird house covered in various  seeds was a Christmas gift  from my daughter to both me and my backyard birds.  It gets picked clean pretty fast but can easily be reseeded by covering with peanut butter and then dipping into a bucket full of seed.

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It’s not easy to tell the difference between the Black Capped Chickadee and the Carolina Chickadee.  Interestingly,  I live right on the dividing line of where the 2 Chickadees reside – Black Capped  generally live to the north of the line and the  Carolina generally lives to the south of the line – thus, we get both!   My best  guess, without getting too technical, is this bird is a Carolina Chickadee.  These little rascals are also very quick so to get 3 decent photos in one day is amazing  luck!

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This Tufted Tit Mouse has a unique feature that she bows  her head to say grace before meals.

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The sunlight really  highlighted this female Cardinal’s beauty.   The dainty Carolina Wren  has rarely come to my feeder this winter,  so it’s a special treat when I see her.

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The  Purple Finch is  a colorful addition to my backyard and they are plentiful all year  round.   It can be  difficult to tell the Purple Finch from the House Finch as they are both pinkish  in color.  The easiest  way to differentiate is the Purple Finch’s beak is cone shaped and the House Finch’s beak curves downward a bit.

DSCF7504 (2)    pine siskin again

The Pine Siskin is another bird I don’t see often so I was  doubly

delighted to see 2 !

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This  unique looking bird is  leucistic .   That’s when  there is a partial loss of pigmentation , causing white patchy feathers.  In my 10 years of birding, this is a first!


Lastly, these Mourning Doves  found a comfy  place to relax on my patio chair.    Normally I  see them ground feeding or drinking from my bird bath, but I guess today they decided  “to sit and rest a spell”.

Hope you enjoyed this  peek into my backyard birding  and thanks for reading!




January 21, 2016

These beautiful  Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are  daily visitors  to  my backyard, both at the suet feeder and also drinking from my bird bath all year round.

Hang some suet and the woodpeckers will come.  It  is a woodpecker  magnet.   All  birds, not just woodpeckers,   need  a higher  fat content  of food to give them energy and help keep them warm in the winter but I keep suet available year round and it’s always a popular stop for a bite.


Starlings love suet also and come in multiples which  can  be a problem mostly because they chase all of the welcome  birds away.  Here is a novel moment when everyone is getting along and  sharing – or so I thought.  The moment I put my camera down this Red-Bellied Woodpecker leaned over and grabbed the tail feathers of the Starling!


If you  have trouble telling the difference between a Downy Woodpecker and  a Hairy Woodpecker it helps to have them side by side.  I was so lucky to capture  this rare moment when both came to feast at the same time.   The Hairy Woodpecker is bigger and has a longer  peak.

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The Eurasian  Sparrows, along with many other song birds,  frequent the suet feeder also, but sometimes only as a resting spot.


The  Northern  Flicker eats suet but also digs at the ground frequently for food.

yellow bellied sapsucker

This juvenile Yellow- Bellied Sap Sucker Woodpecker surprised me for the 1st time on Christmas Day.


But today he ( she?) showed up again and nibbled for quite a while.  Temps were  below freezing today so he was all puffed up to keep warm.  “A bird’s body heat warms the air between its feathers, so  birds fluff up in the cold to trap as much air in their feathers as possible. The more trapped air, the warmer the bird” says  Peter Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo.


Last photo of the  suet -fest is the male Downy Woodpecker  (with a red spot on his head) and the Red-Bellied Woodpecker peacefully eating  together.   If  these photos have inspired you to hang a suet feeder – they comes in many shapes and styles.   I am pretty sure I own them all  and they all will attract birds,  but this kind with the tail prop makes it easiest for the larger woodpeckers to come feed.   As for the suet flavors – I have served them all  and none have been wasted!

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed my feathered friends!





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