Backyard Birding

January 21, 2015 0 By Audrey

I’m not sure why I didn’t think to put out bird feeders a long time ago! We’ve always had a hummingbird feeder attracting frequent long-billed tiny visitors, but I had yet to put out a seed feeder – until now! After a visit to our local Backyard Bird Shop the helpful and friendly staff pointed me to an Aspects bird feeder and a bag of black oil sunflower seeds. I also picked up a suet feeder.

What fun it is to watch the birds from home! It’s low-maintenance, entertaining, and has the most comfortable vantage point. Also, I’m sure the birds appreciate the winter treats. We are lucky to live in a part of the city that still has large Douglas-fir nearby, as well as shrubs and bushes that provide favorable habitat for birds. The lilac trees in front of the house make a wonderful setting to hang feeders.

Several species have since visited including Black-capped Chickadees, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Western Scrub-Jay, Bushtits, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Song Sparrow, and Dark-eyed Juncos.

The following pictures show a good example of the differences between the Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees:

On a rainy late afternoon one mysterious visitor prompted me to reach out to the What Bird forum:

At first glance, I thought surely it’s some type of finch, but it doesn’t have the classic heavy/curved bill of a finch, instead the bill is slender and long. It has white wing-bars and a light “eye-brow.” The bird turned so I could also see it has a streaked belly.

My next best guess was the Pine Siskin based on the bill size and shape, but the lack of typical yellow accents on the wings gave me pause. Confirmed by the birding community, the bird is in fact a Pine Siskin! Some apparently have more yellow than others, and the heavy streaking and facial features differentiate it from a house finch. Pretty cool to see a new species and I didn’t even have to leave the house!

Finally, as with any new hobby, there’s a learning curve and I quickly realized I’ll have to reinforce the suet feeder to keep pesky “squirrel-birds” out. 😉


Tweets and chirps,