Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yard Watching

.It was another cold day on Sunday and so I decided to stay home and watch birds from the comfort of our central heating.

In February our yards are usually crowded with Chipping Sparrows, American Goldfinch and White-wiunged Doves. Sunday was no exception and I often looked out to see 20-30 Chippings Sparrows, 6-8 Goldfinch and 10-20 White-winged Doves.

We are so used to seeing hordes of White-winged Doves in the front yard that I almost didn't notice that a solitary Mourning Dove had managed to in and take a drink from the birdbath.

Over the past weeks our suet feeders have been getting a lot of attention from two of our three winter Warblers - Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned (below).

On Sunday I was pleased to see that they were joined - but only for a minute - by a Pine Warbler.

The smallest of our visitors, a Rufous Hummingbird, continued to make use of our hummingbird feeders.

I keep expecting a Cooper's or Sharp-shinned Hawk to notice all the activity in our yards but the only hawks we saw on Sunday passed by high overhead. However, a couple of Turkey Vultures circled low over our front garden, their enormous wingspans dwarfing all of our yardbirds.

Unfortunately, our neighborhood House Sparrows have also noticed the action in our yards and 6-8 of them frequently fly in to eat at the seed or suet feeders. When not eating, they tend to hide out in our honeysuckle vine or to perch expectantly on our garage roof.

Remembering how aggressive House Sparrows can be in England, I worried that these ones would dominate our feeders. However, they seem to be fairly timid and they are often pushed aside by our House Finches and even by our (much smaller) Chipping Sparrows. As long as they continue to act this way, I guess I won't bother taking any steps to discourage them from visiting!

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