Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Out of the Ordinary Visitors

Watching the feeders a little more closely this winter has shown me some unusual visitors that I haven't noticed before, although that's not to say they haven't been here previously.

This chubby white-throated sparrow has been coming regularly since mid-January.

That's him to the left of the photo, with a tree sparrow, cardinal and house sparrow (right) on the tray.

He often feeds on the tray by himself, as dark is descending. Posted by Picasa

That's when I first noticed him. All the other birds had gone to roost for the night, and there he was, pecking away in the semidarkness. He's easily distinguished by his white throat and the stripes on his head, with dabs of yellow (called lores) near his beak.

He's quite social and doesn't startle as easily as some of the other birds. Posted by Picasa

Here he's hanging out with the goldfinches, and a couple of tree sparrows.

And here he's sharing the tray with tree sparrows (front left), goldfinches (right) and a house sparrow (rear).

These pine siskins are also new-to-me guests. The two birds on the right are our friendly chickadees.

At first I didn't realize these fellows were not goldfinches, as they almost always show up with a group of them. When I looked closely I realized they were quite different than the little yellow finches.

Now I see that they're easily distinguished by their brown streaks and there's a touch of yellow in the wings and at the base of the tail. The latter is not very noticeable in any of these photos.
(click pictures to enlarge for detail) Posted by Picasa

This little chap was visiting just after New Year when the Christmas lights were still up.

Recently I was rummaging around in the deep snow below the front porch looking for a suet cage that had been blown down by strong winds, when 3 little siskins came to sit on the line directly above me. They chatted and seemed very interested in my activity. I laughed and chatted back to them, delighted by their friendliness. Posted by Picasa

These sweet little birds show up quite often but never stay long.

I wonder if they were around last year but I failed to notice. Posted by Picasa

Best buddies - goldfinch and pine siskin.

This little guy is a common redpoll. Initially I thought I was looking at a house finch, but then I realized that this bird is smaller, has a black chin and a red cap.

He hangs out with the goldfinches too. I haven't seen the redpolls since early January. Hopefully they'll come back one of these days.

The female's breast lacks the red. Cute, isn't she, with her little red cap? Posted by Picasa

Remember, this weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), from February 13th through 16th.
If you are counting for Project FeederWatch your counts can do double duty if you enter the same tallies into the web site for GBBC.
Find out more here:

Count for Fun, Count for the Future!

And enjoy nature while you're at it.
It's good therapy for the winter blahs :)


Lisa at Greenbow said...[Reply]

Great post Kerri. I love seeing your winter visitors. I too think the Pine Siskins are easy to overlook. I envy you your Redpolls. We don't get them down here. At least it is a rare occurance. I have lived here 15 years and have not had one that should tell you something. We will be counting an area this weekend.

Susie said...[Reply]

Hi dear Kerri,
Always so enjoyable to look at each of your pictures. I smiled at the thought of you chattering to the birds..
Your posts are always a cure for the blahs, no matter what the time of year!
love and ((hugs))

Debbie said...[Reply]

Kerri, I always enjoy your posts and your wonderful photos.

We have also had the Siskins and the White-throated sparrows, but I have not noticed any Redpoles this year. I'll have to pay more attention and see if I have any. I also noticed a few Starlings yesterday...the blighters...they are not a welcomed visitor and they could have stayed away a bit longer for my liking.

Sue said...[Reply]

I haven't trained myself well to look out the window. When I do, either there are no birds, or just sparrows. I do have a family of doves, but haven't seen them for a few days.

I love your birds and pics!

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...[Reply]

Kerri, what a terrific collection of bird photos you have shown us. I of course was slobbering over the cardinal, but also charmed by the whitethroat--aren't they sweet? They look like they have little white bibs on.

Needled Mom said...[Reply]

Your pictures of all of your feathered friends are just wonderful. I love the personality of the different birds. Surely wish that we had cardinals here as they are so stunning.

Annie in Austin said...[Reply]

You're a wonder, Kerri - with your camera and also with your identifications.

Cardinals, blue jays, wrens, white winged doves, starlings and mockingbirds I know, but It's so hard to tell those little brownish-gray birds apart! Although we don't seem to have anything rare, the fountain keeps the birds here long enough to give us a chance at identifying them.

Thanks for the link.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Layanee said...[Reply]

You really know your birds! I so enjoy seeing them at the feeders...both yours and mine!

Vicki's Bit-o-earth said...[Reply]

Kerri, I love your photos and descriptions. I've fed the birds for years, but other than the most common types, I don't know what kinds of birds I have at my feeders. Isn't that terrible? I love feeding and watching them, and I even name some of them... but I've not taken the time to learn who I have there. I'll make a better effort. Thank you for the bird count link.

Robin's Nesting Place said...[Reply]

Kerri, great post! You have birds that I've never seen before. They seem to love your feeding tray.

Chandramouli S said...[Reply]

Wonderful post, Kerri! With the declining Sparrow population, it's great to see some sparrows in your feeder! Wow! These tiny feathered balls look so adorable!

Merle said...[Reply]

Dear Kerri ~~ I enjoyed seeing your lovely birds and they are so quiet
and eat from your hand. Wonderful.
Thank you so much for your message and concern for the people of Victoria. There is a telethon on now to raise money for the victims who have lost so much Over 1000 hommes and almost 200 lives although both are likely to increase as they get to more devastated areas. All the
ex-pat Aussies have come for the Telethon and they are showing the concert on a huge screen at the tent city on a football oval.
Everyone is so generous, it is hard to believe. Take care Kerri
and thanks again for caring.
Love, Merle.

Tabor said...[Reply]

Unfortunately, I will be away for the weekend and cannot do the count. We have a number of very fat pine siskens (I think?) at our feeders each day. We had a new bird, which I think is a yellow rumped maybe I will post a photo of that for confirmation.

Anonymous said...[Reply]

What a wonderful assortment of birds that visit your garden. I really need to learn the names of some of the ones in my own garden. :)

Linda said...[Reply]

Wonderful pictures Kerri. I think you're going to do really well with the bird count!
I've begun to see robins coming by for a drink at the birdbath. I think they're probably getting ready to head your way.
Spring is coming!

Frances said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri, I just love seeing the birds at your feeders. Thanks for the heads up about the pine siskin, I think we have them too but thought they were finches. Time to get out the binoculars! And you little red poll female is cute as can be. :-)

Dave said...[Reply]

Those birds really love your feeders! We have a similar sparrow to your white throated one visiting us. I'm not sure its the exact same breed but pretty close. I haven't noticed the yellow on its head. I'll have to pay closer attention!

Zoey said...[Reply]

Wow, Kerri, you have quite the assortment of birds at your feeders. I really liked all the cardinal pics below. They are my favorite bird and it's always a treat to see one.

joey said...[Reply]

Many wonderful guests, Kerri. I don't ever remember seeing a redpoll but adore your goldfinches and, wow, your handsome cardinal really stands out!

verobirdie said...[Reply]

So many different guests! They are lovely! If they make your day, they made mine too!

Anonymous said...[Reply]

It is wonderful to see all the birds that visit your yard, Kerri -- many (most) are familiar. They're such a welcome diversion through a long winter.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...[Reply]

You are doing such a great job in capturing all of these lovely and detailed pictures of birds.
I love the pictures of the bird in your hand...that's really a keeper and tell Ross he did a great job in being ready with the camera and in capturing that wonderful picture.
I haven't really closely watched the yellow finches and perhaps I may also have some other bird variety mixed in there with the finches.
Although we have many cardinals stopping in to feed, I haven't seen the woodpecker this year.

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...[Reply]

You're convincing me to move my feeders closer to the house! I need a telephoto to see them out at our feeders in the butterfly garden.

Wonderful ways that you've captured your little friends with the camera.


Marie said...[Reply]

I love birds! These are beautiful!

I feed the birds too, but I can't get near enought with my camera to get good photos.

(I hope you understand my english, hehe)

Have a nice weekend :)

Roses and Lilacs said...[Reply]

Yes, I remember the bird count and plan on doing my share of counting;) I don't have nearly the variety of birds this year since I stopped feeding millet and corn.

It was a joy to see your birds, especially the white throated sparrow and the redpolls.

Barbara said...[Reply]

You have such a great variety of birds visiting your feeder, Kerri! It's just wonderful...and your pictures are great as well! Normally I can stop feeding the birds end of February, but this winter is quite exceptional. We still have snow (again) and it is said, that this was the hardest winter since 22 years!
Stay warm!

sowing the seeds said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri,
Thankyou for the lovely heartfelt comment you left on my blog.
I adore all your beautiful bird photos, especially the too cute cardinals that look like they might be very cheeky.
We have many birds at our home too, mostly White & Black cockatoos, Red Brow Finches, Black Ducks, Crimson Rosellas and King Parrots. Ocassionaly we will get a visit from some Gang Gang Cockatoos.
I am enjoying your blog and will be back to see more :) Oh the Blue Jays look so cute too.

Titania said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri, it is always such a pleasure to come and visit your feathered friends. You have such a "grand" collection. You have the special soft touch to make them comfortable. The pictures are enchanting and I could spend a lot of time behind the window to watch them. I am sure they are back in summer to help with the bugs.

Moi said...[Reply]

they are heart-stealers, Kerri.....
and the one with the stripes on head reminded me of punk-ish looks :DDDD

your photos are such loving odes to these pretty little lives......:)

Regarding your comment on how do I get to display large image son my blog......I first upload them on the website and from there copy and paste the link for the "Large" size on to my blog. If you need help to do the same on your blog, let me know....I will help you as I can :)

have a great weekend , take care! :)

Mountain Mama said...[Reply]

They are so sweet. I love your bird photos Kerri.
You are helping me to identify some of the birds I see in my feeder, even though I live on the opposite side of the US, we do have many of the same feathered visitors.

Isabelle said...[Reply]

So pretty! And educational too; we don't get many of these birds so your lesson is very interesting.

(How do you persuade your cats not to snack on these handy birdies?)

Patsi said...[Reply]

I'm counting !!
Never saw a Red poll before.
We only see the goldfinchs in summer and never seen a pine siskin yet which are suppose to be common here. Love seeing the birds,they're fun to watch.
They make for a lighthearted and enjoyable post anytime of the year.

Anonymous said...[Reply]

Kerri, I so enjoyed seeing all the lovely winter visitors to your bird feeders. Thanks so much for sharing.

em said...[Reply]

kerri, this is great, i'm learning about all the birds that live in ny that we don't have downstate! maybe someday! great posts, i just love the repoll.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...[Reply]

You capture such fantastic photos of the birds, Kerri! I would love to be at your house and see them all:) I do get a lot of birds here, too...but they aren't quite as close to the house as yours seem to be---and I remember you having some come to your hand--that's amazing;)

I love those little white-throated sparrows. I have seen 1 on 2 different occasions, and I have 1 photo of one, but I don't think I've ever posted it because it wasn't all that clear. They are so pretty w/their little yellow mark on their heads.

WiseAcre said...[Reply]

Posts like this make me want to get a bird feeder. You've have some neat feathered friends and great pics. But I don't want to tempt the cats, with 5 of them I'm afraid they'd be too much of a threat. Besides I'm not responsible enough to keep the feeders stocked. I figure if I can't water houseplants I shouldn't take on even more responsibility.

sweet bay said...[Reply]

Kerri we never get Pine Siskins or Redpolls down here in NC, but we do have lots of White-Throated Sparrows and Goldfinches. We got Pine Siskins one very cold winter when we lived in PA. I love their call.

Anonymous said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri,
have had a look at your photos. They are terrific. The flowers and birds are beautiful.

Kylee said...[Reply]

You know what? I think we might have Pine Siskins here, too! I'm going to have to pay closer attention. Those stripes on the belly look awfully familiar.