Sunday, May 8, 2011

Feeder Activity Update, with Goldfinches

Spring migration update around our feeders:
  • Baltimore oriole seen fleetingly 2-3 times in the past week or so. We don't have an oriole feeder yet, but we do have a hummingbird feeder up, which orioles may be drawn to.
  • Two male rose-breasted grosbeaks seen yesterday and a male-female pair together on the feeder today
  • Ruby-throated hummingbird seen today
  • A friend had an orchard oriole at her feeder in Northfield
The above are all birds that may summer here. Also seen today on our front lawn were two Harris's sparrows with their distinctive black face and pinkish beak, which are merely passing through on their way to their much more northerly summer breeding grounds. The flock of white-throated and white-crowned sparrows that arrived a week ago reduced their numbers in recent days, and today for the first time we've not seen or heard them at all, so they are most likely on their way further north as well.

I wrote yesterday of my joy in the unexpected arrival of our first-ever rose-breasted grosbeak at the feeder. The day had already been exciting with a sudden multiplication of American goldfinches at our feeders. We've been seeing up to about four at a time in recent days and weeks, but suddenly in the last couple of days we have seen groups of up to 13.

As you can see in the photo below, some of the birds are still completing their transition from the drab olive of the winter male to the brilliant yellow we usually associate with this small songbird.

The goldfinches have been seen at our sunflower-seed hopper feeder, at the Nyjer seed sock-style feeder, at the large tube feeder which currently offers a mix of black-oil sunflower seed and safflower seed, and on the ground below the feeders. I sometimes refer to the sock feeder here as the thistleseed feeder, though I gather that Nyjer (formerly known as Niger or Niger thistle, but with a modern name change for marketing reasons that may be apparent) is not actually a thistle.

Below you can see five male goldfinches, two female goldfinches and a chipping sparrow. At the same time two more were on the sock feeder and two or three were on the tube feeder, both immediately above the area shown in this photo.

No comments: