Spring is Finally Here

The feeders have a lot of color in them today. Rose Breasted Grosbeaks and Red-Winged Blackbirds are back from a long winter away.  Other birds are getting their spring colors.

The grosbeaks took quite some time coming to the feeders last year but it looks like they’re ready to settle in for a long and early stay this year. The flashiest ones, of course, are the males, black overcoat and a stark white belly with the bold splash of red on their chest makes them a real stand out at the feeders.

The females are a less bold color with dark strips but still a striking bird.

Grosbeaks seem to come to different types of feeders, ones that provide a bit more of a sturdy perch will likely be easier for them but I’ve had them come to the small feeders too. The seed I use is black oil sunflower seeds and a lot of different birds go for these quite well.

Hairy Woodpeckers, males and females have been steady visitors all winter as are a few Downy Woodpeckers. These guys feed between the suet and the sunflower seeds.

Both these woodpeckers look pretty much alike. The biggest difference is their size, which includes the length of their bills. If you haven’t seen both woodpeckers together it’s still hard to know just how much of a size difference we’re talking about. I’ve shuffled the video clips so it’s easier to compare them. Both types visited on the same day so there is no variation on the distance of the camera. They all landed on the suet, the other feeder is a couple feet farther back so the birds look a bit smaller on that one.

The Hairy Woodpecker is the biggest, and his bill is much longer than a Downy’s. The other difference is the outer tail feathers on a Hairy are pure white, while on a Downy they are white with black spots. This can be hard to spot at times though.

And for anyone wondering, there are tiny differences in the red spots the males have on their heads. I’m compiling a few different ones and I’ll get those posted at a later date.

A hairy woodpecker and a northern cardinal at the feeders

I can’t leave out our other visitors, it was a rainy but busy day. We had a White Breasted Nuthatch, a Common Grackle – he’s kind of sharp with that purple head – a Bluejay, well there’s never just one, Red- winged Blackbirds were showing off their colors too. And a male Cardinal came around too.

All in all it was a happy looking day at the feeders.