One of my favorite pastimes is watching the birds in our garden, although due to my work schedule I don't get to do it nearly enough - usually only on Saturday and Sunday, while I'm sitting in the dining nook having morning coffee.
I'd heard of Project Feeder Watch before, and thought I was too late to participate. However, although it started back in November, the season actually runs through April 8th. So I decided to go ahead and order the kit.
The kit includes a calendar for you to keep track of the days on which you participate. I had wondered how my data would be useful, given that I can only watch a couple of days a week, but the calendar allows that to be taken into account when you submit data.
You also get a poster to help you identify the birds you see in your backyard.
You can submit paper tally sheets, but I'm planning to enter my data online.
I'm looking forward to getting my kit but in the meantime, I got the camera out as I was watching the birds in the garden this morning and snapped a few photos.
The first few photos were taken from inside the dining nook, through the windows. Not great photos I'm afraid, because I was shooting through the wooden blinds, and you can see a reflection of the blinds in the photo.
As always, clicking on the photos will allow you to view a larger version.
The Chipping Sparrows have been with us most of the winter. They are by far the most populous birds in our garden. The American Goldfinches just showed up last week, causing me to have to make a special trip to the store to get some nyjer seed. I may have wasted my money -- they seem to like the regular patio blend birdseed just fine.
We also have several resident pairs of Northern Cardinals in the trees around our home. This female doesn't mind sharing with the goldfinch.
No birds in this photo -- just a wider shot of the location, taken from out on the patio, so no reflections.
The red-bellied woodpecker, "Woody", stopped in for a visit. It's quite amusing watching him feed from the fence, and even funnier watching him on the back wall, where all I see is his head poking over the top, while his body is hanging off the other side.
I don't think I've ever captured a Carolina Chickadee on film before - they always grab a nut and then flit back either to the tree behind the fence, or up in to our pine tree. I had the camera on the tripod today and just snapped.
I also caught the back end of a new bird for me -- a Tufted Titmouse. I saw him for the first time just yesterday. He came and went several times this morning, but this was the only photo I got.
Further along the fence, lots of Chipping Sparrows, or LBB's--Little Brown Birds--as my dad would say, jockeying for position as usual.
A little later in the day (I wrote most of this post this morning) I happened to notice all sorts of activity on our pine tree. We have two suet feeders out there and I'm used to seeing "Woody" and a couple of downy woodpeckers out there. But today I was seeing different birds.
Is this a Carolina Wren?
Back at Thanksgiving, when my dad was visiting from England, he told me how the birds in his garden loved peanut butter. So we spread some on some knot holes on our pine tree, but I never saw any bird take notice till today.
Knowing that the peanut butter was dried up and almost inedible by now, I ran out and smeared some fresh peanut butter on the tree.
In a couple of minutes, my visitor was back!
Pine Warbler perhaps?
And finally, also at the behest of my dad, who said the birds loved the nut feeder in his garden, I put up a nut feeder shortly after Thanksgiving. It had stayed at the same level until earlier this week, when I noticed the level start to go down.
Earlier today I noticed a Tufted Titmouse on it, but didn't get a photo. A few minutes ago I managed to snap this Northern Cardinal having an afternoon snack.
If you haven't already, it's not too late to participate in Project Feeder Watch. Learn more about it and sign up by clicking on the button below.
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.