Friday, February 19, 2010

Bad Weather Birds

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bad winter weather here in southeastern Ohio often brings an unusual bird to the feeding station. This winter we've had a handful of uncommon birds coming into the yard to check out the feeders, probably attracted by all the noise and activity of our regular feeder visitors. A lone pine siskin has stopped by, several tree sparrows have too. But no red-breasted nuthatches, redpolls, or evening grosbeaks have appeared, sadly.

This particular visitor is one that often confuses people, and this head-on view doesn't make it any easier. It's an adult female red-winged blackbird (note the peach-colored throat). The heavy streaking might suggest a finch or siskin or even sparrow. But it's a blackbird, and a hungry one at that. After gorging on some sunflower hearts, Ms. Peachthroat took off, headed south.

It won't be long until we start seeing male red-winged blackbirds returning early to set up their territories. I always know it's truly spring when I hear their first conk-a-reeee!


On February 19, 2010 at 4:24 PM Connie Kogler said...

THAT is a great picture! "My" Red-wings are singing their hearts out here in Northern Colorado. Snow covered hearts I might add.

On February 19, 2010 at 5:06 PM Anonymous said...

Got 2 male Red Wing Blackbirds in Pike Co at our feeders. Had them several days now.
Gary Wayne

On February 19, 2010 at 8:18 PM CNemes said...

What a beautiful picture! In my neck of the woods (Maryland) there's actually been a painted bunting hanging around someone's feeder. No mistaking one of those for a finch! The Washington Post even had a brief blurb about it: (am hoping to get out there if he's still around after this weekend!)

There's also been a Varied thrush in Virginia!

On February 19, 2010 at 8:20 PM A New England Life said...

Finally I know what I photographed last year! I just had no idea what bird I'd captured. Thanks for the ID!

No Pine Siskins here in NH this winter. A big disappointment : (


On February 20, 2010 at 10:24 PM T and S said...

Cool headon perspective, nice shot...Thomas

On February 23, 2010 at 12:56 PM OhioMoose said...


Have you noted any oddball "guard bird" behavior from Robins?

I'm located just NW of Columbus, and the frozen, snowy weather has brought Bluebirds to my feeder area for the first time (nine at one time a few days ago), and they seem to enjoy the un-shelled sunflower seeds. I also have put out some live and freeze-dried mealworms and small packaged suet balls. I have a heated water source as well, and the Bluebirds make heavy use of the water. The occassional Robin has also stopped by and eaten a few seeds from the ground feeder.

Now I have a deranged Robin that sits nearby in the trees, and swoops down on any Bluebird that dares to land on any feeder! The "mad Robin" ignores all the other birds, but will not abide Bluebirds! He acts just like the Hummingbirds do to their own kind during the summer.

On February 23, 2010 at 1:06 PM OhioMoose said...

Here are a couple of photos of my Bluebirds, including one where a local House Sparrow is wondering why the new visitors are hanging around.