Thursday, December 4, 2008

Birds at My Feeder - December 2008

Look at the difference in the level of seeds in just a couple of hours! Here's the feeder at 7 am.

And here it is at 9:30 am.

Bear with me here because this is the first time I've taken these kind of bird photos for the blog. I've always put out feeders, but haven't paid much attention to what showed up to eat. But if you think my other photos look fuzzy -- well, just you wait! I needed a little help with identifying and images, so I consulted this lovely book, Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City by Lesile Day with Illustrations by Mark A. Klingler. I might need your help too.

The book states "New York might be the most biologically diverse city in temperate America. The five boroughs sit directly under the Atlantic migratory flyway, at the mouth of a 300-mile long river, and on three islands -- Manhattan, Staten and Long." Nyack is about 25 miles north of NYC.

The most common birds at the feeder tend to be nuthatches, titmice and chickadees.

Although I only caught one of them, there is a pair of doves (I call them John and Carrie) who I've also seen on the deck . They're in love, I suspect. Always together.

This is Mark Klingler's drawing of a red-bellied woodpecker. We've got one that comes in and out.

Jay W. came on Monday, and brought his brothers X, Y, and Z on Tuesday.

I need help with these. Are they spotted thrushes? Warblers?

Update:Pamela -J I believe has correctly identified this as a thrush. It's defining characteristic seems to be it's size which is closer to a robin than a sparrow. Thanks, Pam!

Update: Our Friend Ben at Poor Richard's Almanac pointed these out as starlings. Thanks, Ben!

There's a bunch of these little guys. They look like juncos, but are dark on top and light underneath.

One of our neighbors has noticed the activity.
And someone inside has noticed the neighbor.


our friend Ben said...

Ha!!! I know how you feel, Jen! It seems like we're full-time birdfeeding valets these days. But when we see the red-bellies and nuthatches and juncos and bluejays and cardinals crowding the feeders, it's all worth it! As for the IDs, I'm no expert, but I'll take a stab at it. Hopefully someone who's a better birder will give you definitive IDs! The first "unknown" looks like a female house finch to me. I'd say the birds in the next photo are starlings, which are atcually quite handsome in their spangled new plumage before it wears down to typical boring black-brown. And the last photo is of male juncos with their slate-gray backs and white bellies.

tina said...

You did so good capturing the photos-and that feeder! OMG! They were hungry!

tut-tut said...

Nice post with all these birds. I'm not familiar with those, either. But I have a cat who looks not unlike that one who is quite a birdwatcher himself . . .

Pam J. said...

My guesses, starting at the top of the 3 pictures, are thrush (if it's a big bird--robin-sized), starlings, and a junco. Also, the 2nd picture below the book picture shows a nuthatch. They are often in this pose: on a tree trunk, facing down. Have you ever read the book "Redtails in Love"? Wonderful true story of the redtail hawks that live on Fifth Avenue in Manhatten overlooking south Central Park. A lovely book.

Joanne said...

My goodness, they ate that fast! Do you think eating that volume of food could be a sign of a very cold/snowy winter? And they're fattening up early? What lovely company to watch outside your window.

Fern @ Life on the Balcony said...

"Jay Z" LOL. Rapper birds. Too cute!

I put out a bird feeder in front of the window at my work. I mostly get sparrows, which is boring for me, but the office cat enjoys watching them.

Stuart said...

Wow! You have such diversity turning up to your birdfeeders. A far greater number of different birds than we would see around my yard.

I truly loved your little "circle-of-life" picture essay at the end. Very funny..

JGH said...

Ben - thanks for the IDs!! I looked up some starling images on the web, and I think you're right - they are really pretty and I'm kinda sad to learn that their plumage fades.

Tina- I'm wondering if they'll continue to have that kind of appetite. If so, I'll go bankrupt buying birdseed.

Tut, does your kitty watch from outside or inside? Our neighbor I think is a stray.

Pam - Yes, that might be a thrush because it was fairly big. I put the Redtails book on my wish list on Amazon. I've heard Marie Winn's name a few times this year- she wrote a recent book about Central Park wildlife at night.

Hi Joanne - I do wonder if bird appetite can somehow fortell the weather. And they will definitely get fat if they keep eating like this!

Fern, glad you caught the JayZ reference ;-) I've discovered that it really does help to have the feeder close to the window - allows you to get much closer.

Hi Stuart, thanks for visiting! Since this is the first time I'm paying any real attention, I do wonder if this is a common array.

Karen said...

Cute photos! The cat and dog ones at the end are hilarious. I live in a different bird zone so am little help, but I did enjoy the pics and hope you find out who everyone is. Our Audobon society is quite helpful, maybe you have a chapter locally? They have so many cool field guides and once I even got a poster of common feeder visitors to help me ID stuff when we had one (took it down after it got destroyed/bloodied by the squirrels, ugh). Good luck!

JGH said...

Thanks Karen - I'm sure there is an Audobon Society. Unfortunately, the NYC guide only features a few popular species, so I do need a better guide. Thanks!

Anonymous said...


Squirrel said...

that cat looks intense!

I love it when i get 3 or more bluejays to stare at. I love male cardinals too --and the females when their plumage looks almost mossy. I can recg=ognize a handful of birds --
how is that feeder for squirrel proofness?

Squirrel said...

i like watching tufted titmice fly around..very cute birds. the squirrels have been stuffing themselves too-- and adding lining to the nests long cold snap coming.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember seeing that window before. Is it new? Where is it hanging?