Tuesday, January 25, 2011
My son took this photo of a house finch using all its feathery powers to stay warm in the maple tree in front of our house on Sunday morning, after an early-morning low of -18 F.
When it was even colder a couple of nights earlier, to help out the ground feeders, including the squirrels, I scattered a mixture of seeds, cracked corn, and shelled peanuts plus some leftover raisins and small pieces of a bagel with peanut butter on the front walk and nearby snow. Sunday morning I noticed that two American crows were hanging out in the maple tree and saw one fly up to it from near our house, so I believe they were taking advantage of the buffet. I've not seen crows attracted to our feeder area before, though we have plenty of crows in the neighborhood. On the other hand, I don't usually put food out on the ground deliberately, and when I've tried scattering just the cracked corn it's been very unsuccessful. But much of what I put out this weekend was taken, not too surprisingly given the cold and the deep snow cover.
The ground feeders we typically get right by the house include mainly the the little red squirrel(s), dark-eyed juncos (which I haven't seen since the cold snap despite the extra food), and the short-tailed shrew (which, again, I haven't seen for several days now). They search through the leavings under the other feeders, which include a whole seed here and there among the scattered shells.
Perhaps thanks to the return of such severe cold, we saw the red-bellied woodpecker at our suet feeder again on Sunday. So for our Project Feederwatch reporting, we were able to record its visit as well as that of the crows, both for the first time.