There has been a nice gathering of feathery friends since the past blogs. I have some good news and some sad news.
The news will be given in the order it happened.
(Female Finch. There are a variety of finches, and it is harder to tell which females belong to which group because they are plain in color.)
Finches Are Not All The Same
After identifying the birds that have been visiting, I’ve discovered there is a difference between a House Finch and a Purple Finch. And due to this I now question if I ever had a Purple Finch.
Purple Finches tend to have a faded red coloring all over their body.
House Finches tend to have brighter reds on the top of their head and center of their chest.
(This little House Finch, among chirping sparrows, looks at me knowing I am taking a picture of him.)
With that being said, the sparrows near this finch, yeah, they are confusing me! First, I thought they were field sparrows, but after watching some youtube videos on bird identification, I think they are probably chirping sparrows. I do tend to hear them make little “chirp, chirp,” sounds.
The chirping sparrows gather in hordes. I am not kidding! Sometimes in my yard, I will have 20 plus little brown blobs you see moving in the grass. Hop, hop!
(Chirping sparrows can be identified by their chirps, but also pay attention to the crown on their head. Notice it tends to be in a reddish tint.)
(I rarely get the chance to take pictures outside because the birds are very skittish. But here is a nice shot of the chirping sparrows I caught today when I tried to restock the bird feeders. )
So both finches and sparrows tend to make me guess, but overall I feel more confident.
Journey of the Mockingbird
I haven’t had much success trying to get a pic of this guy yet, but a new and kinda old visitor is watching. That is the Mockingbird. He is a pretty decent size, like turtle-doves. But mockingbirds do not tend to eat seeds, so I only caught him once stopping by for a drink of water. Before I could get my camera ready though, he flew away.
UPDATE: I wrote this blog on Friday, January the 27th. It is currently the next day, I’m editing. I haven’t posted this blog yet to you all, BUT I did get some new pics of some of the birds I couldn’t get before.
(Mockingbird- they can be aggressive birds. This guy tends to scare all little birds and points his beak toward my turtledoves. He can move on his legs quite fast. As for humans, I haven’t had any issues with him. But know that during mating season and when their hatchlings are in their nest, this lasts about two weeks, they can and will be fearless. Mockingbirds are growing extinct, you legally cannot hurt them or move their nest. They do a lot of pest control eating insects like ants and wasps!)
Ironically today, when I took the picture above with the sparrows, he was near my fence again!!! These birds, that I had so longed to visit, now are frequent. And due to this, I have to restock my feeders about once or twice a week.
A new face started appearing around my feeders and I had been waiting for her.
(Beautiful female Gold Finch eating thistle seed.)
(Gold Finches can be identified by their bright yellow color. Males are very yellow, while females tend to have olive coloring. But check out their wings! Notice the black with white markings? That’s something to look for.)
Importance Of Understanding Bird Seed
So I had gotten, with some of my Christmas money, new feed as I was running low. *Bird Seed tip: get seed at gardening stores or hardware places. They tend to have more seed for cheaper money.
Reading online about what seed attracts which bird was handy. I, as you may know from past blogs, I have a squirrel problem.
(Exhibit:D -The scoundrel)
(Exhibit: E- Three scoundrels)
So my plan of attack was to get seeds they, the squirrels, did not enjoy but the birds did.
Two seeds I saw consistently were:
Thistle tends to ate by finches, but also including chickadees, songbirds, titmice, and turtledoves. However, if there are other options of seed, birds tend to choose over it, so it’s better in a mix. But for the finches, I put thistle in my long bird feeder for smaller birds, which the finches were rarely used anyway. The chirping sparrows tended to use it more.
But after I added thistle, I was seeing the goldfinches appear. Goldfinches also, like other finches, eat a variety of seeds, but for me, they only appeared after I had the thistle out.
Both chirping sparrows and finches eat more at the bird feeder now.
I also noticed that my squirrels were not visiting as much, if at all. The squirrels definitely didn’t take to either seed but were still craving the sunflower seeds.
Only one solution was left.
To which, I took out a spray bottle, set it to squirt instead of spray. Lifted up the window, and when he didn’t leave, I lightly squirted at the pole and at him.
He ran away. Pretty simple.
They still visit from time to time, but after getting sprayed they tend to not immediately come back, sometimes for a few days.
Now when I added the safflower seed some new friends emerged.
If you live more towards the North, these chickadees will have a darker crown and thus called the Black Capped Chickadee. But for the south, like me, we have the Carolina Chickadee, which has a less dark crown.
Some Birds Are Predators
Now for my sad news…
For those who have read some of the blogs about my birds, you’ll know I love turtledoves. One of my visitors was a carnivore, known as the Cooper Hawk.
Out of the hawks I’ve researched, Coopers are the only ones who tend to scope out bird feeders.
Mixed feelings overwhelmed me for the past days afterward.
I have about 5-10 turtledoves that visit every day, sometimes more.
Finding out online, apparently, 2 million turtledoves are killed each year for sport…and that still hasn’t diminished the population made me feel better that at least this turtledove was a meal for another bird.
The ecosystem…something you shouldn’t get attached to.
Nonetheless, the comical side for others aside from myself, I was convinced I was just plumping up these birds to become meals. Then I remembered a few months back when I saw feathers on the ground. I wondered who I set up then?
Coopers can be bad especially if they tend to constantly cause problems at the feeders. I am glad to say, this cooper hasn’t done that. He got a meal. I walked towards the doors near the porch to try to get a better picture and he took off (with his meal, thank you).
There was no gore, nothing like that. But I still felt bad. And then I was ranting to my husband and one of my best friends, “What about the pictures of the turtledoves I’ve taken? What if HE was in the picture? And now, he’ll NEVER AGAIN be in the picture, cause some hawk just swooped down and got him!”
But you know, this is a way of life. And I don’t have to take down my feeders thankfully because that hawk hasn’t been a pain. So I am grateful for that.
(One good thing for turtledoves is that they blend in very well to the scenery.)
My turtledoves are lovely and funny. They tend to be prey for hawks because they walk slower, so at least my little birds are okay. Right?
These pictures have been taken after the incident. I feel comforted knowing, they still came back to visit and chill. There was one particular bird that often would stay by itself on a branch in my tree. I don’t know, but I always thought he was there for me.
When the incident happened, I worried if he was the one that got caught because of a few days afterward, no one showed up in that spot. But about a week later, one turtledove did.
Just a reminder from God, we are not alone.
(My turtledoves just chilling and blending.)
(When you hear the woo-woo call from a turtledove, it tends to be male turtledove calling out to the female. Trying to…wait for it…”woo” her.)
Some Newer Guests
I haven’t fully gotten him yet, but he was close to visiting!
A Blue Jay!
Now, jays tend to be aggressive from what I read, but turtledoves can be too. Still, one day, he may visit me hopefully. They enjoy peanut butter suet cake and seeds.
Update: A day after I wrote this, he visited MY yard. I am getting closer. But wasn’t able to get a pic. This is him chilling in the neighbor’s yard.
I have a peanut butter suet cake out now, which can attract Jays and Downy Woodpeckers. Haven’t really gotten anyone to eat it…except one.
I am almost positive, I have a Warbler.
And the answer a day later is YES! Apparently warblers like peanut butter suet cake.
(Warblers, in general, tend to stay in trees. However, this little guy visited the bird feeder for some peanut butter suet cake. Warblers tend to be rounder than finches.)
(I believe from identification, this little guy is a Pine Warbler. Pine Warblers are round and share a yellow/green color. At first, I mistook them for goldfinches, but pay attention to the difference in the wing colorings. Goldfinches have this distinct white against black in their wings, pine warblers do not.)
Soon after discovering I did indeed have a warbler visiting, I noticed this little girl.
(I believe this is female Yellow-Rumped Warbler. Males have a lot more color, but both share the yellow on the sides of their stomachs.)
My Favorite Bird
My one bird I was so happy to see visited me!!!!
I so hope he comes back!
(A Tufted Titmouse! They tend to feed in higher feeders, they don’t like coming low to the ground like warblers. Though, I’m hoping since the warblers are breaking their rule, that this guy will too. They enjoy spaces that are not so open, and many trees surrounding. I’ve only seen him once. Like the chickadee, he tends to grab a seed and fly off to eat it.)
(As you can see, they have a small body coming from the family of Chickadee. Mostly gray, and big black eyes. They are so cute!)
Anyhow, that’s enough for one adventure. Here’s to getting more visitors and tips 🙂
Happy February 1st!
(Cardinals enjoy seeds, like black sunflower seeds.)
Note: All pictures except the cooked turkey were taken by me.
(Check out my main blog, Inside Cup, here)