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Thursday, April 7, 2016

This Weather is For the Birds

Now that the stray kittens are taken care of the birds want attention too. The first real day I felt certain that Spring had sprung I hung out the feeders as I mentioned in that other post. Filled it a second time before the snow started flying and it hasn't stopped. The Upper Peninsula got hit way worse than us. Our last Winter Storm Advisory was cancelled while the UP should have had theirs extended.

The snow that we did get was enough to panic all the early returning Spring birds. I tell you, this weather has everyone screwed up. Even the Killdeer are back early. And freezing their tail feathers off. It has to suck being a ground nesting bird in Michigan. The only really nice thing about the snow is that since I am the first feeders full in the trailer park this is where they all came to roost. And I am working on getting some good picks of our fine feathered friends. More importantly though, I am getting the best variety in attendance.

I am using the Royal Wing brand sold in a variety of places across the country. Currently Tractor Supply has their bags at 2.00 off and will do so until the end of April. As advertised on the packages, I am getting all the birds that the seed mixes promise. The early birds on the roster are:

      chickadee ~parus atricapillus, poecile atricapillus
updated 5/12/16
      tufted titmouse ~parus bicolor

      cedar waxwing ~bombycilla cedrorum

      killdeer ~charadrius vociferus

      white-breasted nuthatch ~sitta carolenensis

      mourning dove ~zenaida macroura

      American Robin ~ turdus migratorius

      blue jays ~cyanocitta cristata

and from the largest collection in the family
      slated colored junco ~ junco hymealis
      chipping sparrow ~spizella passerina
      pine siskin ~carduelis pinus
      american goldfinch  ~carduelis tristis 
      northern cardinal ~cardinalis cardinalis
updated 5/12/10
      rose-breasted grosbeak ~pheucticus ludovicianua
      white-crowned sparrow ~zonotrichia albicollis

A few of our feathered friends have trouble distinguishing themselves from other of their kind. There is a sparrow that looks like a siskin but fatter. And that sparrow looks like another thrush or a wren. So that one I am having trouble identifying. For the others that seem to be one thing but left me more than a reasonable doubt I went by the birdsong that I heard while the Winter Wind was blasting everyone in the face. The website is a great resource to help identify the copycats. They may look alike but they don't sound alike.

      red winged blackbird ~agelaius phoeniceus
updated 5/12/16
      common grackle ~quiscalus major

      downy woodpecker ~picoides pubescens
updated 5/12/16
      hairy woodpecker ~picoides villocus
      red-headed woodpecker ~melanerpes erythrocephalus

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