Sunday, December 12, 2010

Feeder Watch

You know that you have officially become an old fart when you start formalizing your relationship with birds.  This means that you spend $69.00 on a new heater for the bird bath because you cannot for the life of you remember where you stored the one you bought two years ago!  I know, it will definitely show up when I repack the Christmas decorations.  This also means that you join the two-day a week feeder watch program administered by Cornell University this winter.  It is a simple project in that you set the amount of time you want to watch, count the most birds of each species during that time, and fill in their database (IF THEY EVER GET AROUND TO SENDING THE PASSWORD TO THE DATABASE).  Otherwise you make chicken scratches on various pieces of paper and try to not lose them before the online database becomes available.  I watch two mornings a week for about an hour.  It has made me far more careful in trying to ID birds and I have already discovered a bird I have been mis-naming, I think and another that I am not sure of.  (Yes, that IS a preposition at the end of the sentence.)

Anyway, my feeders are kept full and one suet cake is out.  Anyway, the avian crowds get quite large sometimes and I am wondering if I need to put out a take-a-ticket machine so that they don't get too rough waiting for a feeder perch to open up.  Sort of reminds me of Black Friday....except no bird gets maimed, injured or killed in this sale, thus far! (Second photo.)

Below are the beautifully colored goldfinch.  This winter they are still quite yellow.  Imagine how lovely they will be in the spring when they get their bold mating colors.  (The odd mate out is a house finch with the faint red head.)






20 comments:

One Woman's Journey said...

Beautiful. I am envious. Not many birds as of yet and they are the ordinary. 15 degrees and hard winds at 7:00 this morning when I filled my feeders. I keep watching for a prize.

Hilary said...

I miss my feeder. The tree from which it hung had to be cut down due to a fungus. I don't have any other place to hang one for now. A pole feeder would be good but I've not been able to find one so far. Beautiful photos, and watching with a bit of an obligation would make you notice a lot more, I imagine.

Monkey Man said...

Opened my front door yesterday in time to see a hummer fly away from the flowers still holding on at my front porch planter. Great Post.

deb said...

oh, haven't seen finch here now for bit. I adore the yellow.
I just bought an Ontario backyard bird ID book for my hubby and I for Christmas. ;)

Celia said...

Love the birds, I'm joining the Audubon Society here with my grandgirl. I gave up on the feeder as we have droves of cats here, one even caught a very young mourning dove earlier this year. We got it and left it with the local vet and it survived.

Beverly said...

I guess I am an old fart too. Not that I have a warmer for the bird's water, but, if I did I would have lost it too.
I told Lily today that I was going out to fill the bird feeder, and if I wasn't back in a few minutes to come looking for me. She looked at me like "I will never understand some things she says".....

Brian Miller said...

oh you have lots of little lovely friends visting your feeder...a heater?

Dave King said...

That sounds like a fun activity to me!

slommler said...

Wonderful pics....And keeping track of the birds sounds like a lot of fun. And I see you have your camera ready as well as your pen!! Good for you!!
That bright yellow is something else.
Hugs
SueAnn

Rachel Cotterill said...

I love the idea of starting a ticket system, we could do with that! :)

Leah J. Utas said...

We aren't feeding them like we used to, but we still get some finch family members by in the summer.
Thanks for feeder pics.

Angie said...

They are beautiful, Tabor! And watch who you are calling an old 'fart' now, girl ROFL It's a wonderful hobby...well, can get quite expensive, but hey, we can't take it with us, right? :D I love your pictures. What kind of camera do you have? I can't decide what to tell Santa...still think I'm not ready to go to an SLR but then again...:)

Tabor said...

Angie, if your feeders are close any good point and shoot with a good zoom will work. BUT, I use a 300 telephoto on my Canon EOS DSLR for the best bird shots. Almost cannot get a decent shot of the little guys without a telephoto and 300 is the minimum. Canon and Nikon have the best lenses for us non-professionals in my book. I also own a Canon Powershot that is several years old.

Bossy Betty said...

So pretty! Glad you have reached this stage in life--we all benefit from it! Gorgeous pictures! How fun to sit and watch your friends!

Angie said...

I need your email, Tabor, :) cause to talk about these Bluebirds would bore your other 'visitors' to death :D---I could send you an invite to view the last couple of days' worth of Bluebird pictures---and they are all gathered at the birdbath!! :D It has been an incredible Christmas treat for me to have so many of these precious birds here. Yesterday I counted 12!!! of them here at the birdbath.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Oh they are gorgeous! My husband is going a little nutty with his bird feeders lately. Funny, because he's never home in the daylight where he can really see the benefit :-)

Pauline said...

The bird shots are wonderful. Love the bottom one where the finch's head is shoved completely into the opening :)

Man, I'm becoming an official old fart at a rapid pace - I had to sign up for Medicare yesterday and I have already put out two seed feeders and two suet cakes ahead of our very first snow (which fell during the night).

(the word verification is synchedu - meaning, I take it, that we bird lovers are in synch lol)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Beautiful pictures on this cold morning.. It's 5 degrees here right now... Yipes!!!! That's too cold for Tennessee...

I am so glad that we do take time to feed the birds. I worry about them during times like this. They really count on us...

Good Luck keeping a count... I just don't have time to do that--but at least, I'll feed them!!!

Hugs,
Betsy

Kerri said...

Good for you joining Feederwatch. It really does make you pay attention to the details. Sometimes I find it hard to get other things done because I'm so distracted watching the goings on at the feeders :) It's better than any movie!
The other day I saw a northern mockingbird sitting on the porch tray, but only for a few seconds. No time for a photo, but what a treat to at least catch a glimpse!
I was lucky enough to find our bird bath heater very easily this year, but I know the feeling well of wondering where I stored 'that' (insert whatever you're looking for) :)
I love the gentle nature of the goldfinches....gentle except sometimes when they're vying for seed on the tray, that is.

Freda said...

You are obviously an expert with the feeders and identifying the birds. The blue ones are gorgeous and look so exotic and pretty. We get goldfinch here too, I didn't realise they deepened their colour in the summer. Will be back to your world-blog for tints and lessons!