Last week, we had the first really cold snap of winter and the birds immediately responded by coming to our feeders. As you can, one of them was a bird I haven’t seen for many a long year,- an Evening Grosbeak! We haven’t had them in the garden for quite a while and he only stayed for a short visit. He was a lone bird, not with a flock, which might be just as well as a flock of them can empty a feeder in a very short time! He didn’t seem to be sure of what, or where, he should go to sate his hunger. He tried the hanging feeders unsuccessfully, probably because of the shape of his prominent beak, and then got his sights on the larger garden feeders, with a bit more success. Being mixed in with a number of other birds was a bit off-putting for him and at one stage he tried perching on one of our cars, but didn’t do that very gracefully and with much confidence.

Prior to the Grosbeak’s visit, our regular flock of fifteen to twenty Rock Pigeons swooped in before the squirrels could get to the feeders. Accompanying them were six or seven Bluejays whose beautiful blue feathers contrasted to the yellow, white and black of the Grosbeak and the not so vibrant Pigeons, although one of them was a lovely light reddish brown color. He was the odd one out from the rest who had the traditional bluey grey coloring. He was also behaving a little oddly, strutting about in a frolicsome Spring-like gait in pursuit  of a suitor! He wasn’t getting much joy out of the females that he pursued, which wasn’t really surprising, they were only interested in the food, not him!  

Although being reasonably sized birds, the ones above didn’t match the size of the two Crows who came and did a bit of foraging underneath the hanging feeder, beneath one of our trees. Everyone seemed to be getting along nicely, without any fuss and muss, and were of no worry to the much smaller Slate Grey Juncos, the other ground feeders who were present. Their contrasting white and dark grey feathers seem to be more accentuated in the cold, for some reason, despite the time of year.      

Well the snow arrived that morning, so I guess the winter season is here to stay for a little while and the birds will appreciate every little bit of help they can get, from us, to survive. Please don’t forget them, for the joy that they bring during these cold days, and keep them fed. When you do venture out to feed them though, please make sure that you stay safe and well.

John Baldwin  



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