Evening Grosbeak

Evening Grosbeak
Evening Grosbeak

Well FINALLY spring is arriving here the middle of May.  One more bird post before I can move on to actually blogging about gardening!    A gorgeous trio of Evening Grosbeaks visited my deck yesterday.    I don’t remember ever seeing this kind of bird before so had to dig out my Wisconsin bird book to identify it.    Always exciting to see new visitors – especially ones so bright and pretty!

 

Purple Finch and Evening GrosbeaksI was surprised to learn that these are actually finches.    Compared to purple finches that are constant visitors to my deck, they are quite a bit larger.   

Check out this page provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for more information.

Click on any of the photos on this page to see a bigger version!

Downy Woodpecker: A Reliable Deck Feeder Visitor

Still winter… so the birds are my only garden entertainment.  

Downy Woodpecker 2/23/13
Downy Woodpecker 2/23/13

On February 23rd, this pretty Downy Woodpecker girl came to visit.   Thankfully all birds don’t fly south for the winter.   These woodpeckers are year-round visitors to our feeders.

According to my daughter’s bird book, “The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker in Wisconsin and the most common.  It is built to survive and can balance on weed stems and small branches, unlike larger members of the woodpecker family.”
Wild About Wisconsin Birds: A Youth’s Guide to the Birds of Wisconsin (Adventure Publications)

 

 

Downy Woodpecker 2/23/13
Downy Woodpecker 2/23/13

 

No surprise she loved the “Woodpecker” suet block.  Its ingredients are:  Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, Mixed Tree Nuts, White Proso Millet Seeds, Cracked Corn, Peanuts, Gelatin.

Birdola 54328 2-Pound Woodpecker Seed Cake

 

Has anyone tried making their own suet for the birds?   I might have to look into that!

More pictures of the Downy Woodpecker:

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Check out the White-Breasted Nuthatch!  

White-Breasted Nuthatch
White-Breasted Nuthatch

Not many visitors to my bird feeders the last few days.   Thought with the warmer temperatures (high of 41 yesterday!) and the snow melting off the feeders, there would be more yesterday.   Only noticed this guy – a male White-Breasted Nuthatch.  I love to watch how they feed upside down! 

 

 

Checked out my Birds of Wisconsin Field Guide and it says the males have black caps and the females are similar looking but with a gray cap and nape.    I’ll have to keep a closer eye out to see if males or females are visiting.  Without knowing that detail, they all looked the same to me.

White-Breasted Nuthatch
White-Breasted Nuthatch

 

The book also says “the nuthatch’s habit of hopping headfirst down tree trunks helps it see insects and insect eggs that birds climbing up the trunk might miss.”  Pretty darn smart!

Birds of Wisconsin Field Guide, Second Edition

 

More Pictures of the White-Breasted Nuthatch:

 

Last Day of January!

Winter WonderlandThe end of another winter month means we are one month closer to spring!    Goodbye January!! I’m so excited to get outside and ‘play in the dirt’ but that will probably have to wait until April.   Thankfully, with the arrival of February, there’s a lot of other garden related things to do!  Planting seeds indoors, studying magazines and garden books, exploring seed and flower catalogs, and most importantly lots of dreaming and planning!

 

Up here in Northern Wisconsin, there’s still a lot of time left for winter but some days when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping, it’s not too bad…

Winter Birds    Winter Birds