alaskabirder

Its a Great Day to Bird

What is at Your Bird Feeder?

In a previous blog I wrote about Project FeederWatch, a nationally recognized citizen science project. We are already into week 10, and we still only get about 5 different species of birds: Pine Grosbeaks (most abundant), Black-billed Magpie, Black-capped Chickadees, Common Redpolls (least abundant), and Gray Jays.   The weather hasn’t been nasty enough (cold, snow, windy) for the Gray-crowned Rosy-finches to appear.  The Pine Grosbeaks are here virtually every day, although their numbers vary depending on the weather.

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And a Grosbeak in a Spruce Tree

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Pine Grosbeak

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Pine Grosbeaks at feeder

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Up, up, and away

Each year, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology publishes the results of the previous year’s Project FeederWatch Program. I was reviewing a list of the most popular species for Alaska and Northern Canada and was surprised to find Common Ravens as number two in terms of percent of sites reporting this species (61%). We have never had a Common Raven come to our feeder. Not sure what others are using to attract this species, but I am curious.

Project FeederWatch is a popular citizen science project involving over 20,236 participants in the United States and Canada. Pretty impressive!!!

We did add a second feeder to the mix. We now have three feeders. Two are close together, while the other is located on the opposite side of the house. Whenever the Black-billed Magpie decides to come to the main feeder the Pine Grosbeaks make a hasty retreat and fly to the smaller satellite feeder.

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Our secondary feeder for when the magpies are taking over the main feeder. We have gotten up to 15 Grosbeaks feeding at the feeder, including on the ground. As you can see we have no snow and green grass. Is it really Jan. and winter?

In watching the birds I’ve also noticed that when the black sunflower seeds have mostly been consumed and the Pine Grosbeaks leave, the Black-capped Chickadees will actually spend more time at the feeders. If the Pine Grosbeaks are present, the chickadees will fly in, grab a seed in their beak, and they fly back to the protection of the shrubs and trees nearby. There is definitely a “pecking” order for the birds visiting our feeder, although the Common Redpoll doesn’t seem to care who is at the feeder.

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Common Redpoll feeding with a male Pine Grosbeak

There are a lot of great websites providing information on what to feed birds, when to feed birds, where to place bird feeders, providing water for birds, and more. Here are a couple of my favorite websites;

Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/citsci/take-action/2014/11/dos-and-donts-of-feeder-placement/?utm_source=Cornell+Lab+eNews&utm_campaign=fdd1ecaf95-Cornell_Lab_eNews_2014_12_04&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_47588b5758-fdd1ecaf95-302736213

1 Comment

  1. Even if there are no other birds around our feeder, the chickadees will snatch one sunflower seed and go sit in the lilac tree to eat it, then return for another one.

    I might comment on “fast food” or “savoring each bite” but won’t do that : )

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