I had in mind a totally different post for you this week but our internet has been down for over a week so working online has been limited. Instead, I have a collection of recent bird photos that show some of our feeder birds that we enjoy everyday. As the leaves fall from the trees, observing birds becomes much easier. We also have more of a variety to enjoy this time of year and keeping track of them for Project Feederwatch becomes our normal routine at least two days a week.
The Outdoor Hour Challenges this month focuses on the weather and we have been noting how the weather affects the birds in our yard. We have had ice on the birdbaths quite a few mornings this week and if I don’t go out and break it up, the birds skid around on it which makes me laugh.
House finches can seem common at the feeders…oh, just another finch. But, when you see these colored birds through the eye of a camera, you realize they are not just another bird. They come in varying shades of pink, orange, red, and purple…they come day after day and provide a happy bird song (listen on All About Birds to hear the sweet sounds of a finch).
Our backyard Anna’s hummingbirds are still at the feeders every day. They have a particular tree they sit in and most days it is on the same little branch that hangs over one end of our deck. I can hear them making their little chattering noises whenever I am outside. In this image the feathers look black but it is just the way the light is hitting him. If he tilts his head in just the right way or the sun hits him just right, his chin and throat are the most brilliant pink and his body is a dazzling green. I always thought that hummingbirds were delicate creatures but I have seen them at my feeder in the pouring rain and when we have snow. All About Birds says that they weigh the same as a nickel….imagine that!
The return of the Dark eyed junco is complete for the season. We started having one or two a day under the feeders but now I am counting 12-20 every day. They mostly poke around under the seed feeders to glean some food but I have noticed that they are hanging out at the suet feeder as well. They do give the woodpeckers first chance at the suet but as soon as the woodpecker flies away, they hop on and have a meal.
Our Northern Mockingbirds make daily appearances at the berry vines in our front yard. I read on All About Birds that they switch to an almost all berry diet in the fall and winter. The other fact I learned about the mockingbird is that they don’t sing at this time of the year. The website says that they sing from February to August and then from September to early November. Isn’t that interesting? I am going to record the dates I hear them sing in my neighborhood…a little extra project for me.
The Nuttall’s woodpecker is a frequent diner at the suet feeder. We seem to have a female that is rather shy but I have observed her quite a bit as she hops up and down the trees near the feeder. She shares the feeder many times with the little White-breasted nuthatches.
The excitement this season is that we appear to have a wintering Red-breasted nuthatch who comes daily to the trees outside my window. At first I thought he was my usual White-breasted nuthatch but I read online that the Red-breasted has an eye stripe….sure enough, our nuthatch had an eyestripe. He is super quick and I have yet to capture a clear image but you can see in this one that he definitely has an eyestripe! Hopefully I will get a good image of him for my nature journal sometime this winter.
Project Feederwatch has helped bring my bird observation skills to the next level. In just a few minutes a day, I have learned so much more about the bird life right outside my window. What a gift this activity gives…hopefully you enjoy seeing my bird friends and are inspired to start learning about your own backyard birds.
Take it one bird at a time and enjoy!
There is a wealth of birding information on the internet but I have not found a more homeschool-friendly site than the ones sponsored by Cornell University. I would love to encourage you all to subscribe to their homeschool blog (click the logo to pop over there now).
You can also follow them on Facebook .
You can download their FREE Homeschool Guide to Project Feederwatch.
Of course, my favorite resource is their AllAboutBirds website which is a great tool for identifying and learning more about birds in your own neighborhood.