Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Familiar (but welcome) visitors

The nice weather this month has brought out a lot of activity in the yard.  I was on the deck yesterday and I noticed this couple on the feeder.  At first glance, I mistook the female for a Pine Siskin.  They've been so common this spring that I just expected to see them.  But then I caught a flash of red on the male, and when I looked closer I saw that both birds were too big to be Siskins, and they had shorter, heavier beaks.

I don't know if this is the same House Finch couple that hung around most of last summer -- or if this is perhaps the young male Finch who was also here last year.  As I understand it, House Finches often form new couples each year, so either or both of these birds could be new.  It's good to see them though.  I've added a finch feeder since last year, so we'll see if they visit that too.

Speaking of familiar faces, this handsome House Sparrow was also hanging out in the cherry tree.  There are a lot of sparrows around -- House Sparrows, Song Sparrows, and one Golden-Crowned Sparrow (that I blogged about recently).  I've noticed a lot of sparrow squabbling this year.  One day a tangle of three sparrows whirled right past my head as I was walking my dog.  Lots of excitement.

As I mentioned above, the Pine Siskins have been everywhere this year.  I got this photo of a small flock of them working the feeder.  

A friend of mine at the PAWS Wildlife Center told me that they have been seeing a lot of cases of salmonella in Pine Siskins this year.  So if you have Siskins around it's important to be very vigilant about cleaning the feeders.  Washing them out regularly with a weak (about 10%) bleach solution is ideal. 

Bewick's Wrens are infrequent visitors to my yard, and usually they move too fast for me to get a decent photo.  I caught this one hopping around yesterday though and was able to capture him before he disappeared.

Finally -- it just wouldn't be Birdland West without frequent visits from our Pigeon Friends.  Here is one of mine waiting on the roof for the dogs to go inside so he can come down and eat. 

Our dog Lulubelle loves to bark at the pigeons and seems to take great pleasure in scaring them off.  But they always return, usually as soon as she goes inside. 

If you like Birdland West, you might also want to check out our sister blog Books and Beasts, which focuses on reviews of books about animals and related topics.
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  1. Nice! I love my regulars too, even if it's just House Sparrows and crows..

  2. If you have crows, you have all the entertainment you need. I can watch them all day.