Feeding Frenzy

The snow continues. I measured 12″ in the backyard this morning, and a few more inches are expected. Not record snowfall by any means, but it feels like a lot. Once again I had to trudge out to the platform feeder to dump the snow and lay down fresh sunflower seeds.

Cardinal waiting for me to bring out more sunflower seeds.
Cardinal waiting for me to bring out more sunflower seeds.

backyard bird feeder in winter

It’s cold right now, but the bitter cold isn’t expected to arrive until tonight. The predicted low for tomorrow is -13 F.

The woodpeckers have an annoying habit of eating suet only out of the top hole in the feeder, leaving the bottom two relatively untouched. Then Judy and I have an argument about whether I should refill the top hole. My position is that the woodpeckers should not expect me to refill the top hole when the feeder still has plenty of perfectly good suet. I usually lose this argument.

Cardinal, goldfinches, and house sparrows.
Cardinal, goldfinches, and house sparrows.

You get the feeling the birds know what is coming, and they are gulping down as many calories as they can to fortify themselves against the frigid temperatures.

Can anybody tell what kind of hawk this is?
I think this is a red tailed hawk. Can anyone tell for sure?

Red tailed hawk

The hawks are also hungry. (The light was pretty bad, so these pictures are not very sharp.)

Deutzia bush full of cardinals, juncos, etc.
Deutzia bush full of cardinals, juncos, etc.

When there is a predator alarm the songbirds fly off to their preferred perching spot. At these times the Deutzia is full of a whole crowd of birds looking as if they were expecting a play or sporting event to get started.

Squirrels in snow
The squirrels we shall always have with us.

I throw a few sunflower seeds and peanuts on the ground for the squirrels. Plus the birds are very messy eaters, and they drop quite a few seeds.

2014-01-05 12.26.57_2

And now I am out of sunflower seeds, so I am making an emergency run for more. Stay warm, everybody.

50 Comments on “Feeding Frenzy”

  1. Looks like a cooper or sharp shin hawk. They prey on songbirds at the feeders and are smaller hawks. I saw your forecast…ouch! Stay safe and warm. We are getting freezing rain and then rain…followed by lake effect snow ( that means about a foot or more) and -30 windchills for a couple of days…

    • Sounds like an ouch for you, too! Good luck managing the snow and cold – you too should remember to stay safe and warm. Just got word here that the public schools and many offices including mine will be closed tomorrow.

  2. I believe you have a Sharp-shinned hawk. The tail looks squared off and the head looks smaller. I know many have said otherwise. Birds do know when a storm is approaching and feed accordingly. You have such low temps in Chicago, it is a feeding frenzy at the feeders. I am sure you will be out filling and filling. Stay warm Jason.

  3. Things look great at the feeder, ours here was also hopping all day too.
    Rain for us tonight and then we get the cold. It’s not supposed to go much below zero but being that it went up to 40 today I don’t know how the drop will effect the birds and friends. Keep warm!

  4. You stay warm too Jason! Ha…those woodpeckers are always throwing a wrench in things! My dad has one that drills holes in the side of house every year! Drives him crazy!! And yes I can sense the animals know what is coming too. The shot of your hawk is so cool! Take care!! Nicole

  5. One of the advantages (or possibly the only one!) of having an awful winter like that is the wildlife you can see in the garden. Pretty boring here as it’s so warm. Take care and stay warm, Jason. PS: Can you put some of these awesome cardinals in the post? I just adore them!

  6. Hey Jason! Starting my Monday morn at 42 degrees, high to be 36 with dropping temps all day & expecting zero overnight! C’mon spring! Lots of different opinions on the hawk. I saw two of this same type on the phone wires a few days ago. Love all your pix! My feeder, like yours, just doesn’t stay filled long. I even had a pair of crows pecking at the suet yesterday. Stay safe & warm. Gin

  7. Great pictures, you have a good variety of visitors, although how you managed to stand outside long enough to take the pictures is beyond me, it was blowing and blizzardy yesterday. My consensus is it’s either a Sharp-Shinned or a Cooper’s, it does look a bit more like a Sharp-Shinned Hawk, which is a bit less common, although maybe not in your yard! Stay warm… 🙂

  8. Ain’t this fun! You guys actually had it worse in Chicago with this one, because you had the snowstorm AND the polar vortex!! Fortunately (really, am I saying this?), we only have the polar vortex. Stay warm, Jason! Thinking about you guys and all my other friends and family throughout the Midwest. We can break out the T-shirts this weekend. Woo-hoo!

  9. We have been negligent with our feeders this winter. There are lots of flowers with seeds on them, but we still usually put out safflower seeds and suet.

    You asked me about when hellebores bloom here. They are one of the first to bloom, I’m thinking in late March or April.

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