Saturday, January 10, 2009

Feathered Friends

We have a great backyard for birds. It's surrounded on two sides by trees as well as a maple, dogwood and weeping cherry in the yard. The bird feeder is positioned about 7 feet from the weeping cherry. The most common visitor to our yard is what I call the pig bird better known as the sparrow. Pig bird is certainly not their scientific name but they are pigs at the bird feeder and they aren't particularly pretty, just plain brown. We feed the birds all year long although experts say not to feed in the summer, let them find their own food but I like to see them.
This is a red bellied woodpecker but I don't think the name is accurate. Every one that I've seen has a white belly and my bird books say they have a light blush on their belly. That is hardly red. These are a medium to large woodpecker and have a red hood on top of it's head down and down it's neck. You can't see it in this picture since when I cracked open the sliding door to snap his picture he turned and looked at me.
Earlier there was a downy woodpecker looking for a snack. They're a small woodpecker. The cardinal is a territorial bird and usually doesn't let others on the feeder when they're dining. Woodpeckers first choice of food are insects but they love black oil sunflower seeds which is what we use in our feeder.

Woodpeckers can be very damaging to trees. We found this tree while walking in the woods next door. This particular tree is dead and must be full of bugs. Years ago our house had cedar shingles before we had it sided and the woodpeckers loved it. Why did we have it sided? Carpenter ants, spiders and other bugs would make their way inside.
Other ornithological visitors in our yard include blue jays, tufted titmouse, chickadees, and in the summer, robins, gold finches, orioles, hummingbirds and rose breasted grosbeaks.


Kitten Herder said...

I've always enjoyed watching birds at our bird feeders. We haven't put one up at our townhouse. We have a few trees that are pretty close to the house, so we get a fair number of birds and squirrels without having to entice them too much. Plus, I wouldn't want to have to clean up the seed hull mess that most seed mixes leave behind when the birds are done with them. I could get the hull-less sunflower seeds, but they are just so darned expensive. And it would really irritate me to spend all that money just to feed the squirrels. :D