It has been a while since I posted about what's happening in our yards. This isn't because the yards have been quiet. On the contrary, they have been very busy - so busy that we are going through huge quantities of birdseed.
Our most frequent and numerous visitors are White-winged Doves. We often have 20 or more, of which several are clearly juveniles. (Note the tuft of white feathers under the eye.)
The Doves spend a lot of time trying to access the tube feeders. They can perch on the feeders but can't manage to eat from them. So then they settle for eating the seed that has fallen onto the ground from the feeders.
The next most numerous visitors are House Finches. Our normal number of 7-8 has roughly doubled with the arrival of this season's chicks. They come to our tube feeders at dawn and stay till dusk, moving away only when bigger birds fly in.
We haven't spotted any young Carolina Chickadees or Caroline Wrens yet but adults of both species come to our feeders a lot. The young are presumably safe somewhere nearby.
We have several adult and young Blue Jays, both of which eat mainly from the tube feeders. The adults, though, get particularly excited whenever we put out peanuts in their shells.
At this time of year we usually get visits from Northern Cardinal youngsters accompanied by their parents. This year we have only noticed one young Cardinal and he seems to be parentless: He visits alone and our adult Cardinals show no interest in him. He has spent a lot of time sitting on our feeders but hasn't yet worked out how to access the seed in them. So he has to join the White-winged Doves in eating the spilled seed on the ground.
Our suet feeders have been busy with adult and young Northern Mockingbirds. A Young Downy visits them, too, but has to move aside when a young Red-bellied Woodpecker comes to feed.
We have also had visits from a few birds that we rarely see in our yards. Common Grackles have appeared a couple of times, and a young House Sparrow turned up once to check out our tube feeders. Then yesterday the first American Robin that we've seen for ages decided to check out the flower beds in our front yard.
It's wonderful to see so much activity at home, even if it has meant that we have to replenish the feeders more or less daily.
Our squirrels have been busy, too. We finally got to see a baby last week when an adult carried one in its mouth along our fence. Very cute!
Less cute is the fact that one squirrel has learned to get into a "squirrel-proof" cage feeder. It sits in there for hours munching through the sunflower seeds.