As I write this, there is snow cover, chilly temps, and lots of cold birds at the feeders. I have had Cardinals, Blue Jays, Purple Finches, American Gold Finches, Eurasian Tree Sparrows, Juncos, and a few house sparrows. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow scatter the feed terribly. They scratch most of it out of the feeder onto the ground. Last week on February 13, most of the feed blew out. My what a windy day, and cold. Brrr.
If you see sparrows at your feeders, the way to tell a Eurasian Tree Sparrow is their gray heads, and a brown dot on their cheek. They are very similar to the house sparrow, yet quite different when you really look. There are a lot of sparrows. Most with very similar markings and you really need a good bird book with individual pictures to tell the difference.
The Juncos are in the sparrow family. They are common to abundant, rather tame with light pink bills, gray or black hoods, white outer tail feathers, and, in the west, rusty backs or pinkish sides. Often in large flocks, they hop on the ground and pick up small seeds but seldom scratch with their feet. I have noticed the last few days that I have actually had some sitting on the feeders. They usually stick to the ground and eat the seeds that other birds scratch out of the feeders. I suspect that we are seeing the Slate Colored race in our region.
Russ and Elsie made some homemade suet pine cone feeders and I hung a couple of them out and most of the feeder birds are attracted to them. I am still seeing a lot of Hawks (Red-Tailed) and Bald Eagles. I certainly have hardly any rabbits. Now mice on the other hand, I have several in the bird houses, and in my garden shed, so the raptors are not doing their duty in the food chain there.
To all of you who are wondering, Duane is doing well after his fall, and his stay in Blessing and Scotland Co. Hospital. He received excellent care in both places. He is still taking therapy and doing good. He fell on the ice on January 18, so it is a month now. As you are reading this, it is my birthday. I have made another trip around the sun. It has been fun, exciting, busy, full of kids visiting, grandkids loving on me, and so much friendship to say the least. Thanks to readers for your compliments. I hope you are having a good February, until next time, good birdwatching.