sandhill cranes

Winter bird activity

We hope everyone had a great holiday season and many thanks to all of you who shopped with us and brought us baked goods. We greatly appreciate all of you. During the holidays we get so busy running the store our weekly blog takes a vacation. Many of you give us favorable feedback on our blogs, which is nice to hear, but if there is a subject you think we should touch on please let us know.

So far this has been a fairly uninteresting winter for bird feeding enthusiasts. Although people have seen Red-breasted Nuthatches at feeders sightings have slowed. If you live where there is a presence of pine or cedar trees keep a close eye on your feeders this cold weekend. Red-breasted Nuthatches show a preference for areas with pine and/or cedar. Since I have no pine trees I recently ventured out to Montgomery Bell State Park and only had to step out of my truck in the visitor parking area to see a group of 5 or 6 in the cedar tree I had parked near. By the way if you really want to see Red-headed Woodpeckers you will see them at Montgomery Bell. They, too, seem to prefer open areas adjacent to forest along with lots of pine trees. I enjoy golfing and birding at MB and marvel at the great numbers of “Red-heads “present.

Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Red-headed Woodpecker.

Red-headed Woodpecker.

With the fluctuations in temperature come fluctuations in feeder consistency. On warm days, anything in the 50’s or more, insects become active and your feeder birds may gravitate to the sudden availability of protein. Birds do not live on seed and suet alone and never will. Customers sometimes make the comment “the birds must be confused”. Not likely. They simply adapt to changing weather patterns and take advantage of whatever food sources become available. Although, on Tuesday when it reached nearly 70 degrees I heard some birds singing which is usually reserved for spring and summer. So maybe they are a little confused, or perhaps eager.

Some notable sightings around Nashville include numerous reports of Sandhill Crane flocks flying over, a Bald Eagle regularly seen around Hillwood Golf Course, and a Snow Goose at Radnor Lake. One sighting of an Evening Grosbeak in east TN got me a bit excited because it’s been 30 years since notable numbers of them have been seen in this area. And they like to visit bird feeders. But more sightings were not reported and the chance to see them here fizzled.

Sandhill Crane.

Sandhill Crane.

Evening Grosbeak.

Evening Grosbeak.

January Bird Feeding News

Crazy weather, huh!?  Weather is regular subject matter in our daily conversations.  Customers often remark, “The birds must be confused”.  Actually birds really don’t get confused about weather.  To them, it is what it is, so to speak.  They adjust and react and adapt. Today in Nashville it is going to be about 70 degrees and your bird feeders may be a little quiet.  It’s not that birds don’t need food on warm days; they still expend energy and need food. However, when it’s warm enough for insects to emerge birds must take advantage of a “protein” opportunity that doesn’t come around very often in January.  Birds that do not eat insects, like Goldfinches, will enjoy the lack of competition around the feeders and be there in possibly greater numbers. 

Speaking of Goldfinches, we continue to see great numbers of them at the feeders filled with the sunflower fine chips.  The sunflower chips continue to prove they are a better buy than nyjer seed when it comes to attracting finches.  It is cheaper, cleaner, and more appealing to the birds than nyjer.  It may be perceived that the finches are not feeding on it as much because the observable seed level doesn’t go down as fast as nyjer.  This can be explained simply by the fact there is considerably more edible seed per feeder than with nyjer so the seed does not disappear so dramatically.

 

Local Birding Events

Sandhill Cranes

This weekend is the Sandhill Crane Festival at the Hiwassee Refuge and Birchwood Community Center. For more information go to https://www.tn.gov/twra/article/sandhill-crane-festival

Another great place to view Sandhill’s and many other species of birds is Wheeler Wildlife Refuge along the Tennessee River near Decatur Alabama.  They are having their Festival of the Cranes also this weekend January 14-15.  For more information visit alabamabirdingtrails.com/sites/wheeler-national-wildlife-refuge-visitor-center/