Friday, February 24, 2017

Strangers on a Winter Day

The Crows visited this morning.  Only two of them, hopping along the railing on top of the deck. Apprehensive, one flew off to a nearby tree while his partner pecked at peanuts in the feeding tray on the rail. It snowed most of yesterday and this morning, covering the ground, stacked in piles on the tree branches. They must be hungry and the peanuts were easy pickings.
I had many winged visitors today. Little winter birds crowded the feeding tray, scampering and scrabbling for food. The temperature is hovering at 22 degrees and more snow is expected in the afternoon. A flock of Pine Siskins flew in and out only to perch together high up in the naked Cottonwood. Dark-eyed Juncos, House Finches, Chickadees, and even an occasional Lesser Goldfinch hung close to the rail on this chilly Winter day.  The Flicker, and the Hairy Woodpecker and the Blue Jay swooped in for a morsel, then off they go to cash away what they've pilfered.

Surprise! Surprise!  The magpie's have arrived, they gulped down three to five peanuts at one time and then fly off down into the canyon to some place only they know about.  They've visited several times today, which is unusual. Must be a hard day to find food.  Although brassy, I'm surprised to see them so near to the house. They're smart and exploitive, guess that's why they've survived so well.  To learn more about the resourceful Magpie go to this page on the Audubon website.  You'll be amazed to find out how intelligent they really are.

Incredible diversity today. Some of them may stay all year, but others are just moving through to find the right place to set up housekeeping for the Spring. Nevertheless, I've brought out several servings of raw peanuts and sunflower seeds, even brought out a suet cake to keep them warm and cozy.