It never takes long for word to get around via the avian ‘jungle telegraph’ when we first hang the feeder from the back deck in the fall. It is filled with black-oil sunflower seeds. Then we watch who shows up every day, often at breakfast or noon and especially on sunny days.
We usually have two kinds of chickadees — black-capped ….
…and mountain chickadee.
Both wear black caps pulled down to their eyes but the mountain species also shows a white eyebrow stripe.
The call of the mountain chickadee is slurred, and not as crisp as the black-capped.
Both are cheeky, though, and will tell you off if you try to remove the feeder too early in the evening (we have to take it down to discourage raccoons from hanging around).
Another regular visitor is the red-breasted nuthatch. It often arrives with a flock of chickadees. But its strategy is to dart in and snatch a seed when the chickadee mob has taken their morsels to crack open in the nearby cedar trees. Nuthatch’s speed makes it tough to get a photo, but I foiled it by setting the camera release on ‘continuous’ and choosing the best shot.
The song sparrow may be a common species, but take a close look. It is quite handsomely marked in buff, brown and grey. One stays around our yard all year, sheltering in various shrubs. It often snacks on seeds the other birds drop from the feeder.
But it is especially partial to the water bowl I leave out that fills with rain or snow. The sparrow takes a bath every day in the winter if the water isn’t frozen. Most days here in the BC interior, that ice will melt if only briefly around mid-day.
Since he’s the only one brave enough for the polar dip, this song sparrow has his own personal pool and sunbathing rock. He hasn’t asked for soap or a towel.