20 January 2009

Snowy Day Birds

A couple of things before the comments start flying.

Number 1, I know this snowy day I'm sharing brought little more than a dusting. That apparently didn't bother the birds, so try not to let it bother you.

Number 2, I TRIED to get the girls to go outside and play in the snow, but Lily lasted about 14 seconds before she banged her ear on the slide and came running inside whining about being too cold.

So while there are no pictures to share of my kids playing in what will certainly be our only snowfall of the year, I managed to get plenty of shots of my backyard birds, who were (and still are) present in record numbers on this most inclement day.

There have been 4 or 5 Song Sparrows pecking around on the ground, gobbling up the millet that's supposed to keep the pigeons out of the sunflower seeds. Have I mentioned I need a BB gun?

Yesterday, apparently in anticipation of the snow, I was visited by two Field Sparrows. Just a moment ago, a Chipping Sparrow made a brief visit to one of the crepe myrtles to see what all of the commotion was about. He hasn't been back.

A few days ago I made my first ever batch of Zick Dough, a homemade bird treat I'd heard about often but never experienced first hand. Let me tell you . . if you've got Eastern Bluebirds you want to make happy, this is the ticket. Mealworms are great, but the price tag is high and the maintenance is tedious. Zick Dough, to the contrary, is cheap, quick, and low maintenance. Within an hour of putting the first offering out in my new side-dish feeder, 3 bluebirds had turned it into their own personal all-you-care-to-eat buffet. Just let me know when it's gettin' low guys!

My back yard is never short on finches. Recently though, they've been shying away from my thistle seed feeder and tending toward the sunflower seeds. Concerned that I'd been offering them an inferior meal, I sprung for a new bag from my local Wild Birds Unlimited, hoping to bring order back to my feeding stations. They weren't as quick as the bluebirds, but less than 24 hours after discarding the old thistle seed, it was business as usual at the ol' yellow feeder.

Not pictured here are my usual cadray of Mourning Doves, Rock Pigeons, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Add to that a trio of snow-day Northern Cardinals, and my yard list for the day is up over 10, which is quite good for my little corner of suburbia!

This next picture is from a week or so ago, but I never shared it and I really wanted to. It's a shot I took of an immature White-crowned Sparrow. I couldn't get any of the adults to sit still for long enough to photograph, but this little guy was happy to hang out in the tree for a few seconds.

And then there's my favorite bird of the day. When I drive to work in the mornings and then home again at night, I often spot this Loggerhead Shrike along one of the otherwise boring stretches of road. This morning I put the camera in the car with the express purpose of capturing his image, and he did not disappoint. What a cool looking bird . .


Lynne said...

Excuse me but I'd probably pee my pants if I saw one.
Excellent pix.

Anonymous said...

I have a bb gun you can borrow!! LOL

Julie Zickefoose said...

Hi Corey--my first visit to your blog, and I have to make a Science Chimp attack. Looks like you have a Savannah sparrow in one picture--see the faint yellow on the lores?

I'm delighted that you got bluebirds to the Zick dough as fast as you did--you must have been giving them mealworms, right? Just be sure not to feed the dough after the weather warms up. I'm serving six bluebirds at the moment and loving every minute, but they'll get cut off the methadone come spring.

Eee! Eee! eee! Science Chimp, signing off.

Corey said...

Hey Julie - thanks for the comment! I do see now that I mis-ID'ed that sparrow . . they just come and go so fast it's hard to keep up! I do have Song Sparrows as well, and there are so many different "subspecies" of them that I often have a hard time telling them from the Savannah's. I guess I just expect the yellow (and the white on its breast) to be a lot brighter in the Savannah. Oh well, just add another to the list!

As for the Zick dough and the bluebirds, I'll make sure to save it for colder months. I've never fed them live mealworms before, as it just seemed like too much work. They always looked plenty fat to me, so I just didn't bother. As many Japanese Beetles as I get in my yard during the Spring and Summer, they eat like kings!

Carolyn said...

You'll shoot your eye out!!!

Mary said...

Yes, I'm envious of your shrike. You mention Rock Doves. Oh, my. I had about 25 here, every day, until I removed the feeders in the fall for two months. They have not returned. Now you have me thinking about a BB gun - just in case.

I mean, can you afford to feed them???????

Mary said...

See? Science Chimp doesn't miss much. You never know when she'll pant-hoot and attack.