|Pool Party! Yellow-rumped Warblers enjoying a dip on a hot day.|
There are many reasons to love the fall. When I lived in Pennsylvania, it was the reds, golds and oranges of the leaves and the cool, crisp days before the long winter. Now it's college football and fall migration ... and Project FeederWatch.
|Are you talking to me?|
|Pine Warblers love the peanut butter and jelly suet.|
But PFW is about more than the numbers. I've learned so much from watching the "ordinary" feeder birds. I've learned about the grab and fly birds. The Tufted Titmouse will fly in, grab a seed and fly away to a safe place to crack it open and eat. Then there are the leisurely eaters like the House Finches that come in and sit a while. There are the skittish birds like the Gray Catbirds that fly at the first sign of movement. And there are the calm ones like the American Goldfinch that freeze when I move. If they decide I'm not a threat, they just go back to eating and ignore me. And of course, there is the "Hour of the Cardinal." It seems to me that Northern Cardinals are the last birds to eat before dark, congregating in bigger numbers as dark creeps in.
|Goldfinches show up in big number and eat LOTS in March.|
Also, I've watched the House Finch numbers decline dramatically as they fell victim to the eye disease that blinded so many of them. I used to get 12 at a time. Now I rarely see more than three.
I love to watch the bathers. Gray Catbirds in particular really love the water. They'll get in the pool and flutter and flop for the longest time. I believe they're in the water much longer than it takes to get clean, so I think they're just having fun!
Carolina Chickadees and Chipping Sparrows are bold! After I've filled a feeder, I get no more than a few steps away and they're back at it. They often sit right above my head as I fill the feeder, squawking at me, telling me to hurry up!
|I was stunned when this Eastern Bluebird stopped by.|
Which brings me to my last point for today. The more you watch your feeders, the more likely it is that you'll be present when the surprise bird shows up. I'm convinced that many more birds come to my feeders than I actually see. But during PFW season, I watch more frequently and as a result, I get more surprises.
My greatest surprise was probably looking up into a nearby pine and seeing an adult Bald Eagle staring down at me! And there was the New Year's Day when I was shocked to see seven Pine Siskins spread out among the feeders. I was thrilled to see a Pileated Woodpecker do a belly flop into my birdbath. And this season I had two really unusual visitors at my feeders - an Eastern Bluebird munching mealworms and an Orchard Oriole enjoying some grape jelly and orange suet.
I'm tempted to rattle on for hours here. Instead, I'll draw this blog to a close by urging you to consider becoming part of Project FeederWatch. Why should I be having all the fun?
|Usually the Red-bellied Woodpeckers like the nut suets, but this is fruit cake.|
|This Orchard Oriole was a surprise visitor last month|
|This Brown Thrasher likes the fruit cake suet.|