Saturday was no exception. As it was snowing heavily outside, I was standing by the window and taking pictures of some of the winter birds that visit the bird-feeders. I have about four or five bird-feeders and a suet-feeder. I always try to keep them filled up as I do not know how all the birds survive here in this winter with so few native plants around. Wild birds eat seeds and berries during winter as most of the insect population has either died down or gone into hibernation deep into some holes which most birds cannot penetrate. But with more and more native trees being cut down in the suburban USA and replaced with non-native ornamental trees or plants which do not provide any berries or seeds, birds find it hard to find food. As the winter goes by, food become more scarce as the remaining food gets covered with snow. That is why February is the bird-feeding month in the US as it is the peak month in winter when everything is hidden under snow, temperature is freezing, water is frozen and that's when most birds die due to lack of food.
I provide black-sunflower seed and suet for my birds. I should also get some thistle which juncos and finches prefer. Suets are mostly favored by any kind of wood-peckers. I get all sorts of birds -- sparrows, finches, juncos, doves, cardinals, chickadees, titmice, jays, nuthatch, wood-peckers (red-bellied and downy) and starling. Squirrels also come to the feeders. I do not chase them away as they also need food during these winter months. Birds and squirrels share the feeders together and all survive. With so many birds and squirrels, I should be getting raptors in my yard. Luckily I am yet to see them in my yard though I see them flying high in the sky. I know they also need food but please no murder and blood-shed in my yard. Here are pictures of some of the birds that I could capture on Saturday. They dart in and out too fast; or move around too fast to capture properly. Also, the window and the screen were not helping as most of the pictures have come out hazy.
This is a blue-jay. Do you know jays belong to the crow-family!? Crows and Jays belong to the "Corvidae" family. Who would say they are related!? Like their cousin crows, jays are also highly intelligent birds. You can also train them to get food from your hand if you have the patience and time to stand still, everyday at the same time, with food. This year I had the rare luck of having a jay-family raise their brood in front of my eyes. I will write about it later in another post.
We can learn a beautiful lesson from jays -- as soon as a jay finds a source of food, it start giving out loud calls so that other jays might find that source of food. Just imagine us humans announcing the source of food, resources, wealth to all and sharing them with all.
This is a sparrow hanging upside-down from a suet-feeder. From sparrows, we should learn how to work together in a flock. Sparrows are not native birds of the US. But wherever they have been introduced, they have become hugely successful for their flocking habit which helps them with protection and food-sharing.
This is a Tufted Titmouse, one of my favorite birds. They have such huge circular eyes and such cute mohawks on their tiny heads that one has to fall in love with them. They are considered song-bird species of the eastern deciduous forest of the US. They dart back and forth between the feeder and a tree-branch. They will take a seed, fly to the branch, whack the seed open with their beak, eat and then again fly back to the feeder.
This is a nut-hatch with habits very similar to wood-peckers. During spring and summer, one can find them poking onto the tree-trunks to eat insects. And, it is one of the few bird-species in the world, that can climb down a tree (or climb down anything). In this picture also, you see it hanging upside-down on the bird-feeder.
This is a chickadee, another exceptionally cute bird with a tiny body and a round-head. This is a bird which has no fear of humans, I think. They will come and sit right next to you as you fill in the feeder or work in the garden. A very restless bird which cannot sit still for a second. Where does its little body get so much energy? It also behaves like tufted titmouse, flying between feeder and trees with one seed at a time. AND IF YOU START PROVIDING A BIRD-FEEDER, THEN PLEASE CONTINUE DOING SO BECAUSE CHICKADEES BUILD NESTS AND REAR THEIR BABIES WITHIN A ONE-HUNDRED-FIFTY FEET RADIUS OF A FOOD-SOURCE. That is, these birds build their nests very close to a food source. If that food-source happens to be your bird-feeder and if you suddenly stop feeding them (especially in winter), then they might even face death.
A female downy-woodpecker waiting for its turn at the suet. I see much order, respect and cooperation among the birds in the feeder. They seldom fight. Each wait for its turn. They are not greedy, do not hoard and occupy the feeder -- they come, eat to their fill and then leave.
This is an European Sterling. They move around in great flock and can finish everything in a bird within matter of seconds. Also, when they are at the feeders, smaller birds like titmice, chickadee, nuthatch, finch or sparrow cannot approach the feeder. Again, I do not have to chase them away so that the smaller birds can feed. As they descend in a large-group and starts eating, squirrels notice the food-source. So, they come. As soon as squirrels come, these birds fly away. And when squirrels on the feeders, all the smaller birds come and eat from the other side of the feeder.
I spread some seeds on the ground as well for ground-eating birds like dove or juncos.
This is a mourning-dove, another of my favorite bird. It is one of the most hunted species in the USA. Why would anyone want to hunt such a beautiful-looking bird which does not create any kind of destruction or anything? All it wants to do is sing out lamenting songs in spring. I know you will say that it's killed for food. It seems like all we humans can do are elect stupid leaders, eat anything and everything and destroy world for our needs and greed.
I think this is a house-sparrow (sometimes also called garden-sparrows). There are couple of different types of sparrows one can find in the eastern USA. House-sparrow is the most common among them.
The next two pictures are that of Cardinals. The first one is a female Cardinal. The bright red one is the male cardinal and is the state bird of New Jersey. Though they are of medium size but these are dominating and quarrelsome birds. No two cardinals will sit in the same-feeder; they also do not allow any other birds in their vicinity. But they are superbly gorgeous birds, and especially the bright-red male-cardinals are sight to behold in bright white snow.
And this is the rarest phenomena that I am seeing in my yard for the first time -- an American Robin still hanging out. American Robins do not stay in New Jersey and migrate south during winter. Rarely, one or two birds stay behind. I think it is one of those rare birds. I hope it soon migrates and as otherwise it will die without any insects or berries for food.
I'm joining in the memes hosted by Eileen, Rambling Woods, St Germain's meme.