Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter Visitors

As the changing weather is keeping us inside a little more often than outside, I have started to feed the birds again.  I don't feed them in the summer, as we have lots of things around for them to scavenge naturally, seeds, insects, critters and such.  Not to mention that we are outside more often in during their feeding times of late afternoon/early evening and mornings--so there are more opportunities to see them.  In the winter, I like to feed them closer to the house, so that I can see them from my windows.  These two pictures are actually through my picture window in the front of the house.  The sparrows and goldfinches have been enjoying the feedings of sunflower seeds.  I notice that they are avoiding the safflower seeds in the mix, and sure wish that a hungry cardinal would show up and take care of those.
We usually have 5 different kinds of sparrows around for the winter. Not all of them live here year
This interesting little guy is a Harris' Sparrow. He is a winter resident here.
This White Crowned Sparrow only comes around during the colder months too.  See, not ALL sparrows are just little brown birds!! Even THEY can be interesting looking.  I didn't realize that there were so many different varieties until we put the waterfall in a few years ago.  These guys showed up to eat from the close by feeders and then used the water to bathe and drink.
I love the little dark eyed juncos, and first noticed them when I began bird feeding a few years ago.  Sadly, they migrate north for the summers--and I find myself waiting eagerly for them to return.  I saw the first one on November 2 this year. Their coloring is what initially attracted my attention.  They are dark on the top with a white belly.  They are ground feeders and can be found hopping around underneath the bird feeders.  This was the closest picture I could get through my picture window.  Santa is bringing me a new camera for Christmas though with a 35X optical zoom--so look out world. .the views are about to get a LOT better:-)
Anyway, back to the juncos.  They are one of the most common birds in North America throughout all the states as they come down from Canada.  Look around and see if you can spot some.
I started this post soon after I took the junco and bird feeder pictures above.  I bought my Christmas camera 2 weeks ago while shopping in Wichita.  After reading some bad reviews AFTER I bought the camera, my husband felt sorry for my anxiety and let me "try it out." So on Thanksgiving, I charged that baby up and worked it over.  The picture of the Harris sparrow and the white crowned sparrow were taken with my new Canon SX30 IS.  Those sparrow pictures were shot through my picture window, and the birds were sitting on the other side of the pond. .roughly 30 feet away!! The rock dove pictured above was sitting in the peach tree across the driveway. .50-60 feet away. I am VERY impressed with this camera so far. .and when I offered to give it back so he could wrap it. .he told me that he would just wrap up the box. .I could keep the camera. .THANKS SANTA CLAUS!!
Back to the story.  Thanksgiving morning was spent doing a little birding inside from my window seat! I loved every minute of it!! The rock dove above is a new one for us.  We have mourning doves in our tree row and love to listen to their cooing in the summers.  They are year round residents here, but we don't hear them as much when it gets cold. The rock doves are darker and bigger. .and they have been ground feeding under my bird feeders. 
This American robin showed up for the party.  She had just taken a bit of water in her mouth. To swallow, they throw their heads up in the air. 
There are usually more goldfinches than I can count.  Their yellow color dulls during the winter.  They are quite bright and vivid in summer months.
I am not sure what this little guy is. .initially I thought he was a sparrow of some sort. .but as I researched, I started to wonder if he may be a pine siskin.  Anyone know for sure?  I never thought that I had pine siskins, but they look very similar to a gold finch. .so I may have overlooked them.  Be sure that I will be paying a little better attention.
And THIS one was the highlight of my day. .unfortunately however, he lives at my in-laws house.  It is a red bellied woodpecker.  They live there year round and even visit her sunflower feeders right out of her kitchen windows.  This guy had too much to eat for Thanksgiving too, as he just perched there for quite a while, letting us me admire him.  The picture was taken from my spot in the recliner (I ate too much too) and out of her screen windows. I was afraid he would fly if I got up to get closer. 
I love to watch out my windows for the different bird varieties. I often pull out my worn birding bible to identify them.  My dream is to build up a habitat that is widely appealing to many different species. And I live for the day when cardinals, blue birds, and colorful woodpeckers will be a daily sighting here.
If you build it. . .THEY WILL COME!!
What's outside your window today? Have you checked yet???


  1. What a great variety of birds. I really like the little sparrows with the striped heads too. I haven't had any luck getting gold finches even with thistle seed. Everyone tells me they'll just love that. My thistle see feeder broke before I ever saw one. I love the woodpecker. We had a pair of large woodpeckers in our back yard a while back. They were mostly browns. They clung to the power pole in the alley and made an odd call.

  2. I have a blog entry I've been working on! Can you guess the name of it?? Winters visitors! Can you guess what it's about?? HAHA
    Only I don't have names for my birds. Mostly it's just "look at that really cute bird with the little red head!" ;)
    I'm thinking I LOVE your new camera! Keep me updated on how you like it. I'm researching!

  3. By the way, some of my little birds look like little feathery tennis balls with legs. Fat little things!

  4. I'm thinking you got a sweet new camera! I'm a Canon junkie. We just put our feeder out too, and the juncos are out there every morning. There was a woodpecker (I think it was a downy, but I forgot to look and see if we have those in our area) in our tree too, pecking on the pinecone feeders the kids made. They loved that!

  5. wow! I am impressed with your knowledge of the birdies that come to visit you! that's awesome! i was just thinking that i need to get some bird seed out on my back deck right away. we really enjoy watching the birds. I might make you jealous, because we do get blue jays and cardinals. I have to say that it is so exciting to see those stinkin' birds! they are so pretty and they stick out so vividly against the snow. Wait, I know we get cardinals in the winter, but I can't remember if the bluejays are here in the winter or not...but we have definatley seen them here. I always try to take pictures of them. I will try again this winter.

  6. sweet pictures. I had to laugh at Becky's bird comments they were great!DJ