Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Winter Backyard Birding

Today turned out to be a huge day in my backyard! With the falling temperatures in the Louisville area, the birds had to find food and water! I decided to buy a birdbath heater this year, and I'm glad I did. It has performed very well thus far. This morning it was nine degrees, and although a great deal of it did freeze, there was a small area around the heating element that was open water. The birds really responded! I think they appreciated some fresh, non frozen water to drink!

Northern Cardinal by Karen Bonsell
Northern Cardinal (female)

What are you lookin at? (European Starling)
European Starling

Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove

I happened to notice a very small bird very high in my Maple tree. When I got a closer look, I could see it was a Golden-crowned Kinglet! This photo is somewhat blurry, but it gives you an idea of what he looks like. He also moves around very fast and erratically. I believe he was coming to the Maple tree to drink sap that was seeping out of the branches. He would come to the Maple for a few minutes then fly off to a pine tree in the neighbors yard! He did this several times throughout the day! 
Golden-crowned Kinglet by Karen Bonsell
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Another highlight from the day was the Red-breasted Nuthatch! These guys don't usually come this far south, but with the finch irruption this winter, the Red-breasted Nuthatch, though not a finch, is also a species on the move. I started seeing him in late fall and haven't seen him very often since, but it is my guess that he needed to find another food source with the cold temperatures. 
Red-breasted Nuthatch by Karen Bonsell
Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch by Karen Bonsell
Red-breasted Nuthatch
A female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker spent most of the day in the Maple tree drilling sap wells. When another woodpecker would come near, she would chase him off. She didn't seem to mind other birds though. There were many birds and squirrels drinking from these sap wells, including the Red-breasted Nuthatch in the photo below the Sapsucker photo. 
Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker by Karen Bonsell
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Red-breasted Nuthatch by Karen Bonsell
Red-breasted Nuthatch drinking from sap wells

I have been having a Pine Warbler visiting my feeders since early December. I didn't know what it was for a long time, but I showed the pictures to some of the members of Beckham Bird Club and they felt it was a Pine Warbler. This is a rare bird to be in this area at this time of year. Most Warblers migrate to Central or South America! I am noticing that I usually only see him when it's very cold or very rainy. This makes sense to me, as Warblers tend to mainly eat insects. He seems to like the suet and the black oil sunflower seed!
If you would like to see some of my other pictures of the Pine Warbler, click here. 
Pine Warbler by Karen Bonsell
Pine Warbler

I ended up seeing 23 different species in my yard today!


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