Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friend Flicker...

Happiness, says Mr. Flicker, is fresh suet in the feeder! Only recently, after all these years, have I learned to tell them apart and can confidently report this as a male flicker. The secret, at least with the Red-shafted we have here, is of course, the red sideburns flaunted by the male, which should be more visible if you click to enlarge the photo.

It's been a lengthy hiatus, but here it is blogging season again-- the winter birds are back in force, and there's enough snow and cold to keep them in close attendance at the feeders. Another week, another 100 pounds of birdseed... What's that about eating like a bird?

Familiar friends are here-- scores of Red-winged Blackbirds, more Steller's Jays than ever before, the perennial Scrub Jays, Magpies in full force, ubiquitous Starlings, and dozens of little brown and gray finches, juncos, and sparrows. A little color in the bushes comes from these Spotted Towhees (now Western Towhees, if memory serves). Even Artemis, our Sharp-shinned (and taloned) visitor, is still coming back for feathered snacks.

Somehow the camera never quite captures all the color apparent to the eye. A few weeks ago, the flocks of Starlings and Red-wings were further brightened by an unexpected spot of turquoise and green-- a Parakeet had joined them in visiting the feeders. We haven't seen him since the first storm but trust (and hope) he continued south to more hospitable spots.