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At The Bird Feeder

Male cardinal in winter

Male cardinal in winter

This winter saw two snowstorms arrive here in the Palmetto State. The first was in December and the second occurred during the month of January. The first one stayed just a day, but the January storm dumped eight inches and the snow stayed on the ground for almost a week. During that time the small array of bird feeders that are conveniently located around the house became an active place, as birds of all types gathered to chow down on the fresh supply of wild seeds that were left out for them.

The most common birds at the feeders are the pine siskins and goldfinches, which sometimes get into fights over the best perch. They are fun to watch as they jockey for position on the vertical hanging feeders. Also frequently seen, are the cardinals, nuthatches, chickadees, titmice and wrens, all of whom, like to land on the hanging feeders and take their fill of the provided nourishment.

On the ground juncos, white-crowned sparrows and mourning doves can be seen picking up the scraps that have fallen from the feeders. Sometimes, they are joined by gray squirrels, who mix with the other avian creatures quite well. Other birds that have been observed at the feeders or the water bath include the cedar waxwing, purple finch and robins, who come mainly for the water.

However, my favorite is the hairy woodpecker, which on occasion can be seen at one of the several hanging feeders. These birds have a strong preference for peanuts and will discard any thing that is not a peanut. When finally they find a peanut, they will fly away with the tasty morsel clamped tightly in its beak.

Have I learned anything from winter feeding observations? First of all you have to provide fresh material and you must feed the birds all winter long so they will keep coming back. Then you have to present the food, so that the raccoons and squirrels can’t climb onto the feeder and devour all your seed supply. And finally you must observe the birds from a safe distance or they will fly away. All in all, I have enjoyed my winter of watching the birds dine. During this present month, I plan to spend much time posting about the rapidly growing phenomena of self-published e-books and yes there are a few parallels.

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