February 7, 2016

The day started rainy, windy, and cold–about 42 degrees.  The rain stopped by 8:30 a.m., and the birds appeared.  A female Baltimore Oriole showed up–first time this winter–and took an instant liking to the suet feeder:

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Baltimore Oriole (female)

She was acrobatic enough to make good use of it:

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Baltimore Oriole (female)

A dozen American Goldfinches jockied for one of four perches on the cylinder feeder.  Here’s a typical scene (four more were on the ground below):

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American Goldfinches

And then–out of the  blue–two Pine Siskins , which I’d never seen before:

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Pine Siskins

They joined the American Goldfinches for sunflower chips:

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Four American Goldfinches and two Pine Siskins

The usual suspects were around, too.  Both a male and female Red-bellied Woodpecker (first time I’d seen her in weeks) visited the suet feeder when the Baltimore Oriole had cleared off.  A male and a female Downy Woodpecker went to the mixed nut feeder, as did two Carolina Wrens and two Carolina Chickadees.  A pair of Northern Cardinals also alternated on the mixed nut feeder, as well as the safflower feeder.  Two Brown Thrashers showed up:  the more visible one kept poking its beak in the mud below the feeders, while the other stayed in low cover behind the retaining wall.  Two Tufted Titmice visited the cylinder feeder, the mixed nut feeder, and the safflower feeder.  The safflower feeder also hosted a female House Finch.  A male House Finch mixed it up with the American Goldfinches in the cylinder feeder.  All those pairs put me in mind of Valentine’s Day!

Happy as the American Goldfinches were to eat together, they preferred to drink alone, like this one:

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In the late afternoon, the woods behind our house were alive with movement.  Soon enough, a dozen or so American Robins alighted in our back yard and on the retaining wall.  They kicked up the leaf litter by the oleander, took drinks at the bubbler, and ignored the feeders.  In a few minutes they were gone.