In my experience cardinals seem to instinctively know exactly when a camera lens is being focused on them and fly away. Keeping my mounting frustration in check (sort of) I was rewarded with these two captures today! I love the combination of red on white of cardinals in winter snow. Perfect for Christmas time.
No, we are not talking about immunizations against the flu bug nor are we talking about sips of your favorite warming alcohol. We are talking about our favorite winter pastime: photography! Most of the images we capture right through our sliding glass door that overlooks a crabapple tree, lilac bush, and our bird feeding station. The lens cap is off so we hope to post some of our favorite shots of our winter birds here.
Peter's Feeders just got a new camera so watch out! Get ready for birding pics galore. Here are a couple of birds we captured today. Check back for more pictures as we will be taking full advantage of the summer bird variety!
We just had our first Baltimore Oriole arrive at our feeding station. For those living in the Midwestern United States that means it is definitely time to get your hummingbird and oriole feeders up. To have the best chance of attracting them to your yard this spring and summer put your feeders out in early May. If you entice them with an easy food supply they will be much more likely to nest in your area and continue visiting all through the spring and summer months. Orioles and hummers are creatures of habit so once they establish themselves in your yard they will be much more likely to return year after year! Here is the oriole we spotted this morning. Hooray for spring colors!
We have had our first sighting of a Rufous-sided Towhee! In over 30 years of feeding birds we have never seen one in our yard until this year. Two of them have been hanging around the feeders this past week and I finally managed to capture a good shot of one today. Very exceptional looking birds!
It's amazing that even after 30+ years of bird feeding it is still exciting to see a new or unknown bird at the feeders!
Today we had a surprise visit from a group of 4 Red Crossbills. Two males and two females. We are in Northwestern Wisconsin and it was our first time seeing them. They are a little larger than a sparrow, with a short tail, and have that distinguishing feature: a crossed bill. But it was the plumage that really made them stand out.
The females in the group were a rich olive green. The feathers on their heads and backs were edged in black and when they bent their heads to pick up a seed a sequined pattern would appear in the feathers. The males were not a true red but more of a burnt orange. Especially against the eternal white of winter these birds added a welcomed splash of color.
Red Crossbills are very adaptable birds. They range over much of the US and Canada and their body size, color, and beak length all change depending on their location. The crossed bill is essential for removing seeds from conifer cones which are the main food source for these birds. If food is plentiful Red Crossbills will breed at almost any time and it is not uncommon for them to hatch eggs throughout the winter.
Here is a short video of the Red Crossbills at our bird feeders this morning. We hope to see them again soon!
Jackie Wollner is an amateur photographer and wildlife rehabber. Take a look at some of the fabulous images she has captured. Her photos really show a tenderness for the fragility of young birds. Love it!
Here's a fun little video we took of a Black-capped Chickadee chowing down on a black oil sunflower seed. You can see he is all fluffed up to keep warm in the below zero temps we've been having in Northwestern Wisconsin!
Our official website is up and running! www.petersfeeders.com Click on the link above to check out our unique line of handmade bird feeders and make sure you sign up on our homepage to receive free bird feeding tips.
Winter is a great time to start bird feeding. A limited food supply during the cold months means that birds have fewer places to look for nourishment and can locate your new feeders faster. Black-capped chickadees are super curious and are usually the first ones to investigate. Once the first bird finds your feeders you will be amazed at how quickly your flock grows! **Remember to be patient. It can take several days to over a week for you to start seeing birds on your feeders. If you want to attract a variety of birds you will need to have several feeders and provide a few different types of seeds. Here are my favorites: Black Oil Sunflower Seeds- Just about every bird loves these! BOSS are packed with healthy fats and proteins for lots of energy. To attract larger songbirds(Cardinals, Grosbeaks) you will want a feeder with either perches or a large tray that they can land on. If you choose a smaller feeder they will still come but will eat off the ground. Birds that love 'em: Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Blue Jays Tufted Titmice, Dark-Eyed Juncos, Woodpeckers, Redpolls, Finches, Black-capped Chickadees, Nuthatches, Sparrows, Mourning Doves Thistle (niger) Seeds- Thistle seeds are tiny so only songbirds with small, delicate beaks can eat this seed. It is a great seed if you want to give your finches special attention. Make sure you buy a feeder made specifically for Thistle. The seed will run out and make a huge mess if you use a traditional or all-purpose feeder. Birds that love 'em: House Finches, Purple Finches, American Goldfinches, Redpolls Peanut Butter- Peanut Butter is a nutritious treat for insect eating birds because of its high fat and calorie content. It is especially great for winter feeding because the cold keeps it solid, but if you get a Peanut Butter feeder with horizontal cups you can continue to feed it all year round. Birds that love 'em: Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, Woodpeckers
What about about commercial seed mixes? While these can often be the cheapest to buy I am not a fan. They have a lot of filler seeds that most songbirds won't eat. You will end up with big mess on the ground and you will have to buy seed more often. That being said, doves and sparrows will often eat the discarded seed and commercial mixes can be a cheaper way to begin feeding while you are building up your flock. Birds that love 'em: Mourning Doves, Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees, Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Blue Jays Tufted Titmice, Dark-Eyed Juncos, Woodpeckers, Redpolls, Finches, Black-capped Chickadees, Nuthatches Whatever you decide to feed your birds you will be helping them out so the most important part about starting to feed wild birds is to sit down and ENJOY IT!