Busy Day at the Bird Feeder

It’s a grey day, and the snow has been coming down hard since last night. And when it snows, there are lots of hungry customers for the bird feeders in the back garden.

Northern flicker and female cardinal.
Northern flicker and female cardinal.

Cardinals, goldfinches, house finches, and chickadees crowd around the platform feeder for sunflower seeds, with occasional forays to the peanut feeders. Woodpeckers drop in frequently for a bite or two of suet, or maybe a peanut.

Northern flicker
Northern flicker wonders if the snow will ever stop.

Today’s guest of honor, though, is the northern flicker. Normally a fairly shy bird, he is now quite comfortable feeding right in front of our porch window. Handsome  fellow, isn’t he?

Northern Flicker
Northern flicker swallows a big bite of suet. Yum!

Yesterday I poured a generous serving of sunflowers onto the platform feeder. Today, however, I found that the platform was covered with several inches of snow. So I dumped the snow and the seeds onto the ground, and added more sunflower.  Even so, the snow keeps falling, seemingly determined to cover up everything.

Cardinal, house finch (or is it a purple finch?), and goldfinch in the Deutzia bush. Can you see all three?

Every 15 minutes or so a bird alarm goes off, and everybody scrambles for cover. They particularly like to hang out in a dense nearby Deutzia bush until the coast is clear.

Goldfinch drinks at the bird jaccuzzi.

The heated bird bath (AKA the bird jaccuzzi) is also busy. It requires less energy to drink water than to eat snow to stay hydrated.

Starlings taking a bath
Starlings taking a bath


2014-01-01 15.30.30

A group of starlings decided it was a good day for bathing.

Are the birds hungry in your garden?

47 Comments on “Busy Day at the Bird Feeder”

  1. Wasn’t it a crummy day to be outside! But the birds have no choice. You got some great pictures. Love the Flicker. I had one Starling too later this afternoon – looked like he was going to bathe but changed his mind. Went for the peanut feeder instead.

  2. No snow here for a while but lots of birds to enjoy. The only ones I don’t see regularly since I stopped filling feeders about a year ago are Northern Flickers. Lots of hummers (still do those feeders) and other birds seem to be interested in something in my garden. Happy New Year!

  3. They are!!! They have been feasting on berries right by our kitchen window! My kids really enjoy seeing the female cardinal that stops by! They like her orange beak! Your shots are fantastic! And how lucky those birds are to have a warm bath available to them after feasting at their feeders!!!

  4. The winter has apparently decided to stay away here. We haven´t had any snow yet, and the temperatures are above zero all the time. So the birds are not really hungry. The sunflower seeds get eaten, but all the other stuff lasts forever.
    It looks really beautiful the Northern Flicker.
    At least we don´t have the heat the birdbath.

  5. I love the Flickers but we see them more frequently in summer. I’d love to get cardinals! Lately I’ve had lots of little birds to my suet feeder after I discovered hot pepper suet. Strange but true: birds can’t taste it, and aren’t bothered by the hot pepper, but it isn’t appealing to squirrels and raccoons – perfect!!

  6. What a fabulous group of exotic visitors you have, the flickers and cardinals are stunning. what a joy it must be in such thick snow to be able to have a warm drink and a hot bath, I’m glad you are there to take such good care of them.Your weather sounds dismal.xxx

  7. I am not familiar with several of the birds on the West coast where we are just now, but I have identified a Golden-crowned Kinglet a house wren and a Western Towhee. We do have lots of flickers at our place, but I do not think they hibernate with us.

  8. We have far less birds at our feeders this winter, I think as its been so mild here – we have had one frost and plenty of gales and driving rain and lots of berries are still available in the surrounding countryside. Really lovely photos from your garden, the Northern Flicker is a new bird to me, thanks for sharing.

  9. Love the cardinal, have never seen one around here. We have a pair of northern flickers that have been hanging around our place since the spring, but try as I might, I haven’t been able to successfully photograph them. I’ve noticed many more flickers in the city in the past few years.

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