|A house finch contemplates the menu. We used to have lots|
of these pretty finches in our summer garden, but they vanished
after a Cooper's hawk began frequenting the area, as did most of
the English sparrows. They pay us visits in winter, though.
School was canceled for a second day in a row, which made for a lovely, dawdly sort of morning spent in PJs and bathrobe with a hot cup of coffee and the newspaper at hand. This slow time allowed for leisurely birdwatching at the feeders (which are stationed within easy viewing from the living room and kitchen windows; didn't want to actually go outside--that would be "brrr-watching").
And WHAT a ruckus there was. Somebody squealed and let slip that the eatin' was good in this little side yard, because there were many more birds and considerably more species tucking into the meal today.
English sparrows joined the crowd, shouldering aside the juncos at the suet feeder. A lone female Townsend's warbler slipped in among them briefly, her svelte form like a gazelle's in a herd of cape buffalo.
A strutting song sparrow showed up to claim his share along with three of his lady friends. A vivid male house finch perched to methodically consume sunflower seeds. The Bewick's wren seemed alarmed when he showed up; he looked disgusted by the commotion and huffed off like a gourmet irritated by commoners cramming into his favorite restaurant because it got a favorable review in The New York Times.
|Plump, sated robin redbreast.|
The appearance of a starling momentarily startled the small birds, but as he was interested only in digging his beak into the suet, they quickly returned to foraging. But when two crows showed up to see what all the fuss was about, that did it. Everybody scattered.
Everybody, that is, except the chickadees. They kept a wary eye on the crows (who didn't hang around long) but didn't stop grabbing seeds and fleeing to cache them elsewhere for use throughout the season. (I saw one tuck a seed securely behind the wooden frame of our neighbors' window.) It's not uncommon for a chickadee to cache upward of 100,000 seeds and other tidbits. If they were human, they'd have been champion Green Stamp savers.