There is a mighty fortress around my house, and it comprises bird feeders.
Today was a feeder day. I work from home full time for an environmental consulting firm. My house has many windows. Several of my usual visitors said hello in their own unique ways today. My photos are all pretty awful because they are taken through a dirty window while I was working. I need to clean my windows, but you don’t do that in the winter in Oregon. You just don’t.
American Goldfinch*: It took the goldfinches more than 1 week to find my thistle seed feeders; they’re here every day now.
Black-capped Chickadees. It does not matter what they are busy doing (e.g., eating), they always have something to say before or after the fact. It is as if we’ll forget them when they’re gone or not be ready for them when they arrive. “Food … There’s food here … This food is good … Other chickadees in the vicinity, there’s food here … watch out for the squirrel … This food is great … This redbud tree is a great roosting tree … I’m leaving now. There’s still food … I’ll be back.”
Chestnut-Backed Chickadee*. I usually see just one or two CB chickadees at my feeders per day, and they usually get comfortable hanging out near, but not necessarily with, the black-capped chickadees. The chestnuts seem to be more independent than their BC counterparts, but this is purely a yard perspective.
Bushtits*: These darlings arrive frantically and in a group, as if they are pressed for time and need to get their suet feeding done As Fast As Possible. For this reason, they have no personal space to speak of. The dozen or so bushtits that visit will all be crowded around/on the suet feeder, and bushtit #1 is not bothered if bushtit #8 lands completely adjacent to, or on, him at the feeder. There are bigger things to worry about in the world of bushtits, and I guess with the amount of energy these darlings expel, that thing is food.
Bushtits; Salem, Oregon; January 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt
Dark-eyed Juncos*: I largely get the Oregon junco variety, although I did get a few slate-colored juncos last year alongside the Oregon ones. My yard juncos also arrive in a group, but unlike the bushtits, they are never pressed for time and really appreciate their personal space. If junco #2 flies near junco #8 by closer than 1 foot (by accident!), junco #2 will fly away to quickly re-establish this 1-foot junco personal space (JPS) buffer. I understand juncos.
Purple Finch*: This was a new yard bird for me today. Odd, I know.
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet*: Do I need to say anything about kinglets? They are my favourite yard bird every day they visit (UNTIL I GET A VARIED THRUSH), and I will get a great photograph of them one day. Ruby’s don’t show their ruby crowns often, and when they do, it’s usually intentional, but I do get brief glimpses of their actual ruby crowns at my suet feeder because of the acrobats they need to perform to feed at the suet feeder.
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet; Salem, Oregon; January 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt. Honestly the only reason I’m including this photo is because I got ONE photo of this guy that’s not 100% blurry. #tinycelebrations #theymovesofast #cantstopwontstop
Yellow-Rumped Warbler* (Audubon, I think?). I only saw one female today, and she showed up a few times.
Yellow-Rumped Warbler; Salem, Oregon; January 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt
European Starling*. I don’t see starlings a lot at my feeders, but when I do, they arrive like a gang of bullies, almost knocking shit over like they’ve never seen feeders before. Because they are so infrequent, I enjoy their brief sudden visits.
Western (California) Scrub-Jay*. Scrub-jays at the feeder are usually alone, but this might be because they are so big, and my feeders are not. Sometimes I get two. I love their chestnut-colored backs and their white bibs.
Western (California) Scrub-Jay; Salem, Oregon; January 2, 2018; photograph by Linda Burfitt
*New Birds for 2018: 9 species
2018 Year-to-Date Talley: 28 species