I don't think birds much like blustery days like today; the wind is howling outside, and many feathers are in a visible ruffle. It's currently 59 degrees, with a westerly 25mph wind gusting at up to 35mph. (thanks, WeatherPop) When I first got up, it was completely overcast, but in the hour since then, we've gotten more peeks at the sun through thick gray clouds. I awoke to the sound of the yew tree outside my bedroom window being beaten hard against the house by this wind.
If you look at the time of this post, you quickly deduce that I woke up around noon today; it was a long week, and I needed the extra sleep. However, that means I didn't get out to the feeders until noon, so I only got a few diehards out there during my hour-long watch. (I'll go out later too, to catch the late-afternoon diners.) Maybe this wind will die down. I only saw Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, a tufted titmouse, a couple of goldfinches, and three house finches.
Beyond my backyard watch area, I saw some rock pigeons flying over the marsh, about thirty mallards on a little marsh pond, and a pair of bluebirds on the posts of Ed's (the neighbor) back fence. You'll remember I got some grub worms to try to attract them closer; no actual sighting of them eating the grubs yet, but every day the grubs gone by the time I get home from work. Of course, they may just be blowing off the top of the post I put them on, so today I nailed a little plastic bottom tray from a small pot up there. The lady at Wiscoy (http://www.wiscoypet.com/) said to put out ten per day and see what happens. So--we'll see what happens.
I didn't take the camera out today, deciding I would just watch. I wish there'd been more birds to watch, though. Not a lot of activity on a blustery day like today. Still, I did get to see the sun for a bit, blasting its rays through the clouds, glistening on the marsh ponds and the bare branches of Ed's willow, and two bluebirds. Not bad.
UPDATE: I remembered just as I hit PUBLISH that I needed to look at that nest in the post, the nest with the bones in it. Here's a better photo (thanks to a stool):
I also looked more closely at one of the bones:
All the bones seem to look like this one; I saw no skull, no smaller thinner bones, no nothing. Just these little bones, all the same. Jimmy commented on my New Year's Day post that it might be an old bird; he must be right. What else could it be? Too big to be a mouse. I just wonder where the other bones--scapula, skull, wing, etc.--are.
One more thing: no sooner had I come in to blog than the bird world peeped a collective "Let's go hit the feeders!" I saw a red-bellied woodpecker, a white-throated sparrow, and the downy. I saw him so closeup through my binocs that I began to realize something--something big:
DELIA LEARNS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HAIRY WOODPECKER AND A DOWNY WOODPECKER
The easiest ways to tell the difference between a hairy and a downy: the hairy's beak is longer than a downy's, and their calls are different. Let me show you a blurry bino-scoped pic of the female I saw just now:
Unfortunately, you can't tell how long her beak is--but it's long. This is a female hairy woodpecker. Now I'm questioning all my "Downy" IDs of the past! The only thing that is keeping me sane right this second is knowing what I've heard. According to Audubon, the hairy's call is "A rolling and rattling series of notes, chikikikikikik." The downy's: "Short, flat piks and unusual horselike whinnying calls." Okay--I have never heard the woodys in the backyard do anything other than short separate "piks" -- no "rolling" continuous pik-ing. Okay. I'm calm. I will not go back and change all my Project FeederWatch data entries. I will simply be more observant!
Now that I look at the photos in Audubon, the woodys' heads are very different--the downy's is small with a stubby beak. The hairy's is longer and more sleek. I think I've seen more hairys than downys, but I just don't know--the only calls I've heard are definitely separate little piks. Sigh.
I got a sharper photo of the hairy--or at least the suet feeder where he'd been only a split second before:
Darn those flitty woodpeckers.