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the usual suspects

8 January 2010 3 comments

Since the snow has been falling, I’ve been filling the bird feeder more rapidly.  I get the Publix-branded seed, which is very inexpensive, and lasts for a while.  The birds love it.  This morning, the birds were scrambling around the deck (a cat had visited at some point, based on the tracks in the snow), and the snow was falling in the sunlight, creating shimmering lights wafting down through the trees.  I was struck how much my Mom would have liked the view.

The birds are pretty common all year, and you can see them just about any moment of any month.

  • Cardinal
  • Bluejay
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Slate-colored Junco
  • Tufted Titmouse (the smaller, grayscale version of the Cardinal)
  • Wren
  • English Sparrow

In addition, there have been a few irregulars:

  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Crow (a rather surprising sight to see several on our deck)

One I have seen before, when we put out suet, was the Pileated Woodpecker.  If you’ve never seen one of these up close, they are impressive.  They have the same flight pattern as most of the Woodpecker family (a long, up/down, close-to-the-ground pattern), but they have about a 3-5 foot wingspan.  They are huge.  Easily as big as the crows.  Seeing one fly up from the woods is impressive.  Unfortunately, suet isn’t as cheap as the seed is, so the birds will have to do without the added energy this winter.

Finally, our cat treats the whole show through the rear door as some sort of Food Network for felines.  That, along with the heating pad, provides the old girl with a good time that lasts all day.


  • Deb Seaton said:

    There are lots of deficiencies in my knowledge base: identifying birds is one. And it’s nice to see you posting about something less esoteric and prickly than your usual fare.

    Also. It makes me wish I’d known your mother.

  • Emily Overturf said:

    You should see the cardinals here this year. I have never seen so many. The deep brown brush comes alive with the bright red swarms of them. And the flocks and flocks of starlings and huge crows.

  • Linda said:

    It still makes me happy when I see certain birds. Mom taught us pretty well. I get great joy for some reason when I see a hawk, regal as they are, sitting in the upper most branches of a tree, or a hummingbird of course, being Momma’s favorite. Canada Geese make me look up and say “Hi, Daddy” every time. Going down by the river with a 50 pound bag of corn in his trunk to feed his geese. It was one of his most favorite things to do in his later years. Our Mom the peeping Tom of West 37th street, or so people thought, her with her binoculars.