Saturday, February 28, 2015

Project FeederWatch

"If you are small and on a search, I've got a feeder for you to perch on..."
         -The Eels, I Like Birds

This is my very first year being in a house where I have been able to put up a bird feeder in my backyard. I wish so much that I had been able to put one up years ago!   With this new addition to my backyard, I also signed up for Project FeederWatch.  This is a fantastic citizen science program that runs from November until April of each year.  Participants watch their feeders twice a week and record all birds within your feeder area and submit their data.

If you are interested in joining (which I suggest you do!)  click here:

I started FeederWatch this year in mid-November and have been switching between my home in Chatham and my home in Peterborough, depending where I am that week.  I'll try to seperate my sightings so far based on location!

Chatham House:

This is the first year that my parents had decided to put up a feeder....I think I have given them the birding itch!  There was a nice variety of birds here in Chatham while I was home over Christmas and then again over reading week in February.  I saw my first flock of House Finches while I was here, along with Blue Jays, Cardinals and the odd Junco.  House sparrows were of course all around, although once February hit I noticed more American Tree Sparrows visiting the feeder!  The crows were always more of a nuisance bird around the feeders....although in a place like Chatham you can't expect to get anything other than crows!   The local Coopers Hawk made his appearance every time I was home.  Mike and I were very amused watching a flock of almost every neighbourhood bird fly by with him trailing in pursuit.

Peterborough House: 

The Peterborough house had a completely different set of birds at my feeder!  Throughout the beginning of the count (November - mid-December) I only saw Juncos, Chickadees, and American Goldfinches.  

January was a completely dull month, I don't believe a single bird actually visited my feeder for the entire month.  Finally by the beginning of February the Juncos and Chickadees finally started coming back!

I had one really lucky instance for a photo when two Juncos landed on my feeder, a male and female side by side!   In the photo (below) you can see both of them.  The male, the junco on the right that is a dark charcoal colour, is sitting right beside the lighter, more brown female junco on the left. 

At the beginning of February I decided to add some suet to my backyard, in addition to the typical feeder seed.   It brought out a new little guy, a White-breasted Nuthatch!  It seemed to love both the feeder and the suet.  I always love when it sits on the feeder because it slowly just starts to sink until finally, it flips upside down and falls off!  I guess that's what happens when you are used to being upside down!  

A Cardinal finally came out to the feeder yesterday, but today I think was the highlight of the feederwatch!  I was sitting doing some work this morning (awkwardly while I was brushing my teeth) when I noticed something amongst the Juncos.  I almost spit out my toothpaste everywhere I was so excited...when I noticed they were...Redpolls!   Common Redpolls to be exact.  The first time I ever saw these cute little guys was on the Cambridge Christmas Bird Count back in a long time ago, making today when they showed up a very special treat.

There is still exactly two months left for feederwatch counts and I can't wait to see what else shows up at my feeder!

Happy Naturing!