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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Project FeederWatch begins...slowly

So, my first days of doing observations for Project FeederWatch 2013-14 were very, very slow. For a long time, I thought the only birds I was going to have to report were House Sparrows. But persistence paid off and eventually more birds did show up.

My total for the two days of observations was fourteen species. Only one of them was a bit unexpected.

Cooper's Hawk
American Crow
Blue Jay
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Rufous Hummingbird
Inca Dove
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Northern Mockingbird
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Wren
Northern Cardinal
House Sparrow

My unexpected visitor was the Inca Dove. I don't actually see them very often in my yard any more, but there it was, the lovely little dove feeding under my feeders. It was the only species of dove that showed up in the yard on these days.

The most exciting moment of my observations was a dive bomb attack by the Cooper's Hawk which chased a flock of House Sparrows. I have to admit I cheered him on, but I'm not sure if he was successful in his hunt.

Only one Rufous Hummingbird showed itself while I was watching. It may be that all the others have moved on.

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet was the only strictly winter bird that I saw. I'm sure there must be others in the area, but they didn't reveal themselves to me.

I've been doing this citizen science project since the 2004-05 season and this was one of the slowest starts I've ever had. It will be interesting to see how the species total grows - or not - in coming weeks.

Are you doing Project FeederWatch this year? If so, how is your watching going?


  1. I did Project Feeder Watch a few years ago and I got the itch to put my feeders out a few days ago so I joined. It's been a slow start for me too. What feeders do you have?

    1. Good for you! The more FeederWatchers we have, the better and more complete the data.

      We have a fairly large - about 1/2 acre - suburban lot and I have several different feeders. My basic seed is the black oil sunflower which most seedeaters enjoy. I also use a fruit and nut mix in one of my feeders. I have four feeders that hold suet cakes, both traditional suet and peanut butter based cakes. (The birds particularly like the peanut butter.) And I have a feeder that holds a pressed seed cake that has a mixture of seeds. This is particularly enjoyed by woodpeckers. I also keep my hummingbird feeders out in winter, because we have Rufous Hummingbirds that winter here, and soon I'll be hanging my nyger seed feeders for the finches. Along with all the feeders, I always make sure that there are sources of clean, fresh water, which birds need at all seasons.