Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ring (of Pine Siskins) Around the Rosie

I recently happened to capture this nice threesome of pine siskins encircling our Nyjer (niger) seed feeder. As you can see, the birds were concentrated in the bottom few inches of the feeder because we had let the seed supply run low. When the feeder is full, they tend to arrange themselves more vertically.

In the photo immediately above, you can see (especially if you click on the photo to see it larger) a bit of the yellow feathers on the wings on the bird on the right. A better view of this distinctive splash of yellow can be seen in the photo below, taken in December 2010.

I have written about pine siskins in several earlier posts, collected here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Life Seen Upside-Down - Happy New Year!

I thank my birding/blogging/Facebook friend Ruthie, of Nature Knitter, for the opportunity to take these photos of a white-breasted nuthatch on her distinctive ball-shaped feeder (a gift, I understand, from another birding/blogging/Facebook friend, Lynne, of Hasty Brook), as seen from Ruthie's dining room on New Year's Day. We were celebrating the birthday of her bubbly, personality-filled dog Holly the Pibble, who could win over a legion of pit bull detractors.

An unusual perspective on a habitually upside-down bird

Thanks to the seemingly dozens of feeding stations visible from Ruthie's windows, I kicked off 2013 with fabulous views of 13 kinds of birds (white-breasted nuthatch, red-breasted nuthatch, house finch, black-capped chickadee, dark-eyed junco, house sparrow, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, northern cardinal and blue jay) in addition to the crows, pigeons, wild turkeys and hawks I'd seen from the highway.

A more normal view of one of my favorite birds

I do love white-breasted nuthatches, as well as their smaller red-breasted cousins. We have both a male and a female very regularly at our peanut feeder at home this year. Last year at about this time I wrote that we had really just started to see the female (assuming it is the same pair), though the male had been a frequent visitor, and that I hoped she'd get more comfortable visiting our feeders. It seems she has.

Female white-breasted nuthatch (Jan. 2011)

I have some more recent photos of the female, but none I like as well as this shot of her soaking up some rays, or maybe just resting and conserving energy, on a very cold but sunny day last January.

This year, may you have interesting encounters with natural places and wild beings. Notice what you see. And, if you like, show someone, or tell someone about it (me, if you like -- in comments here, or email me at penelopedia @ gmail . com. I would love to hear your stories.)

“Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.” 
 Ralph Waldo Emerson