LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, May 4, 2009

Counting Birds

We had our county spring bird count on Saturday. I did not get to go for a walk. Why? Because I was assigned to be a feeder watcher. The bird watching community is very surprised that we have a pair of Red Crossbills that have been in our woods since March. In fact, they are displaying some courtship behavior and may just be a nesting pair. So I was assigned to stay in my home and hope to see the crossbills along with other birds that visit. There were not on the list in our county.

I knew they would be coming to the feeders. We see the pair many times every day and they stay at the feeder for long periods of time. I didn't have to wait long.

I saw him in the tree:


And she was there as well:

For a brief time in early April, we actually had at least five Red Crossbills visiting us. We saw three males and two females, often at the same time. Here are the three males:


In this photograph you can see five crossbills at the same feeder. (Taken in early April)
As quickly as they came, all of the crossbills left a few days later, except for the original male and female. They appear to have taken up residence. Oh, wouldn't it be a sight to see fledgling Red Crossbills?
Here is the list of birds I saw at our feeders on Saturday in my 2 hours of official watching:
2 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
2 Downy Woodpecker
1 Hairy Woodpecker
3 Pileated Woodpecker
5 American Crow (flying over)
4 Carolina Chickadee
6 Tufted Titmouse
3 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Carolina Wren
1 Yellow-throated Warbler
2 Pine Warbler
2 Northern Cardinal
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Eastern Towhee
3 Purple Finch
10 Pine Siskins
18 American Goldfinch
2 Red Crossbills


I think I was pretty lucky to be assigned as a feeder watcher. Many parts of the county had rain and the watchers were disappointed that they didn't see some of the birds they knew to be there. I'm just glad my crossbills showed up. While the reports are not tallied, it seems that most of the Pine Siskins have left the area. We are one of the few remaining gathering places. Here's hoping they will depart soon and we can hang the rest of our feeders.

29 comments:

TheWritersPorch said...

Wow Carolyn! I'm impressed with that bird count! We don't have near that many.
Come back by, I just did an edit because I had left out a really neat thing about Ms. Green and her husband!
Carol

Cedar ... said...

What a list!

J and J Acres said...

That's really neat that you have so many birds visiting your feeder! I'm impressed that you can name off what they are, and I'm glad that the crossbills showed up!

Cheryl said...

A great bird count in your part of the world.....

The crossbills are beautiful....it would indeed be lovely to see their young....I shall keep my fingers crossed.......

fishing guy said...

Carolyn: You are really in a nice flyway getting all the great photos of these birds.

Shellmo said...

I really like those crossbills!
I still have a group of pine siskins..... I can send you some if you like...ha,ha!!

Bird Girl said...

That is just so awesome! One bird I would love to see and haven't to date! Great, great photos!!! You had a very good day, girlfriend!

Aunt "B's" Backyard said...

Crossbills, WOW! I've never had the opportunity to see one of those. That's so cool. Wonderful shots! Thanks for sharing that story and enjoy!

troutbirder said...

That's a great list. I could use a few of those here myself.

CountryDreaming said...

A birding friend of mine tells me your Pine Siskins are passing through Northeast Ohio ... with at least one pair possibly stopping to nest. Those Crossbills you saw were truly special. Hope someday to see them as well. Great shots, thanks for sharing!

Sam said...

Would you like to switch Bird Lists for a day? Mine consists of the common sparrow, the seagull, the rock pigeon and an occasional black crow... hah! Not much to see here in New York City.

..oh, lest I forget the Canadian Geese which have made their home in the field across the street from me.

I am glad you are enjoying Spring. Bird watching seems to be a great hobby in your neck of the woods. Lots of pretty critters to see.

Dog_geek said...

Great list! I'm glad your crossbills showed up so that you could officially record them- how cool! Those are some great pictures, too!

Leedra said...

That was not a boring 2 hours for sure. Bet your head was spinning just trying to see and write at the same time. Love the first 2 photos, especially the 1st one.

Leedra’s Photos For FunLeedra’s Greeting CardsPhotography By Leedra

Nature Lovin' Super Mama said...

How exciting to see to many different birds. Our sparrow returned this weekend, and had no fear flying above us checking out his house he lives in year after year. I have also noticed a lot of the summer birds have returned...by the way what are pine siskines? just wondering I don't think I have seen one before.

Jayne said...

That is quite the list Carolyn. :c) It poured here all day too, and like you, I'd have been happy to do my own feeder count...lol. I still have around 15-20 Siskins, but keep hoping they'll move on.

The Birdlady said...

How exciting! We don't get them here.

Appalachian Lady said...

The crossbill photos are fantastic. I have only seen them when I visit the Jefferson National forest. That's a great list of birds too.

Donna Longenecker said...

Wow, you have a lot of bird traffic at your feeder! The crossbills are beautiful birds. Great photos!

Dave's Bird Watching Blog said...

That's a nice list, Carolyn! It would be fun to sit and do that for two hours...with a nice cup of hot coffee as well. :-)

grammy said...

I never see birds of color here (o: I wonder if I could attract them with a feeder. Love your birds.

Mary said...

Gee, Carolyn. I'd like to see them head my way. Awesome!

A Joyful Chaos said...

Wow that's quite a list of birds for two hours!
Enjoyed your post.

jayedized said...

What a nice list of birds! And those Crossbills you have visiting are beautiful. And I absolutely love your captions of the female Cardinal and Crossbill's meeting and "meeting of the minds" on the feeder they shared - that is so cute!

Tina said...

Wonderful count Carolyn! What a variety of visitors you saw and logged! I just love the towhee..and seeing so many Crossbills must have been pretty neat...keeping my fingers crossed that you might see their young!!

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks everyone.

Shelley - I'll pass on the siskins, thank you very much.

Sam - I'll bet you could find a variety in Central Park.

Dog Geek - I was so glad to see the crossbills as well. It would have been a shame to see them every single day and not on the day of the bird count.

Leedra - They gave us a check list of birds from previous years. Unfortunately, they were not alphabetically listed.

Super Mama - Pine Siskins are attractive little birds in small numbers. Problem is...they tend to flock in large and noisy groups. Here is a URL to learn more about them. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Pine_Siskin/id

Helen - We don't get them here either. The birding community is very excited since the crossbills have not been recorded on our counts in recent years.

Dave - Yeah, but I don't have nesting bluebirds.

Mary - Welcome home.

Chaos - Thanks for dropping by.

KB said...

I know that I'm late to comment but I have a question. Why do you have to wait for the pine siskins to leave to hang the rest of your feeders?

We have hordes of pine siskins that completely cover our niger feeder. They are aggressive buggers!

Love the crossbill photos!

dguzman said...

WOW! We had White-winged Crossbills in the area for about a month this year, and I looked and looked and never saw a one of them, dangit. Your pics are beautiful!

NCmountainwoman said...

KB - "Hordes of Pine Siskins that completely cover our niger feeder." That is exactly why we don't hang the cracked sunflower or niger. If we put those feeders up, the siskins are even more numerous and crowd out all our other birds. So we put out suet and black sunflower seeds. They do not hover so aggressively over the sunflower since they have to crack it. We hope they will move on by the end of May and we will again hang our other feeders.

dAwN said...

tee hee...Looks like the crossbills are in a waiting line on that poll..
Great back yard birdie list you had.