Thu 30 Jan 2014
Chris White sent over this nice story about the experience he and his wife Carol have been having with participating in Cornell’s Project Feeder Watch. We wanted to share it here with you along with some photos that Chris took:
We joined Cornell’s Feeder watch program, but were late starting, they were swamped with applications and renewals I think, and we were late getting the instructions. Out first week was December 6th. And we’ve kept up with the weekly reporting schedule since then. For the first week we had 33 different birds from 16 species, totaled the way they want you to with the most seen at one time from each species added together over the two days. By the time we filed this week’s report, we’d counted 173 birds from 18 species. Last week we had a count of 122, and the week before that 77. The last two have retraced to about 155 birds, with the composition shifting away from finches towards cardinals, we had about 40 of them stopping by last week. Over the succession of weeks we’ve reported 28 species visiting, but they don’t all come every week. Our resident goldfinch crew was 28 strong yesterday afternoon — week of the 9th, but its declined since. Our woodpeckers are now understood to be couples, of which 1 red bellied couple, 2 couples made up of downeys, but three flickers visit from time to time. The Carolina wrens which begin each day with their song have appeared as a twosome, there’s probably more out there who have been among the unique visitors we’ve counted every week. Recently an elegant Hermit Thrush has begun to visit the plantings Jason put in.
There have been 9 house finches and 12 purple finches. 2 Red-Shouldered Hawks stopped by this week on separate days. Yesterday’s (8th Jan) visitor was politely shown off the property by a mixed flock of red-winged blackbirds and brown-headed cowbirds, which numbered in excess of hundred. The flock came back today at lunch time, and 23 of the red-wings and 12 of the cow-birds stopped by the feeders. We’re also accumulating a sizeable flock of house sparrows. I counted 26 this afternoon. We’ve subsequently been visited by mixed flocks of red-winged blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles and robins.
Our feeder operation has grown: we’re up to four tubes, three suet slabs, and a feeder with a flat rim. By now there are also ground level feeding stations well attended under all the feeders. There are two goldfinch socks and a peanut suet mix which the woodpeckers and others really go for.
Our lot is a bit smaller than half an acre. It is lined with 6 cedars on the east and about 15 conifers on the west, with plenty of scrubby tangles we’ve let build up. There are also deciduous trees, both fruit trees and volunteer drop ins, in the body of the lot. We hadn’t realized how much activity could be supported by such a selection of trees. The next lot is wooded and swampy, and there are more trees behind us, along with open fields.