We get lots of birds in our trees in the front yard. This could be contributed to the source of food we are supplying to them. The list of winter birds is less than the summer residents. For example, I haven’t seen a bluebird in months, and most of the woodpeckers have left the yard too. And of course, the hummingbirds have gone since they don’t have the proper gear to tolerate the cold. But even with the few remaining species, watching the feeders has been a delight.
In Idaho, we have the possibility to see four different kinds of Chickadees. I have seen three of them at my feeder. The fourth can be found at higher elevations in the sub-alpine zone. The Black-capped chickadee is our most common and was our regular visitor in back in the northeast as well. But one day, I noticed a chickadee that didn’t quite look right. It had a stripe across its eye and less black on its chin. Turns out I was looking at a Mountain chickadee, and since my discovery, they have been around every day. One day last week, I saw what looked like a Black-capped with a brown back. Turns out, it was a Chestnut-backed chickadee. I only saw them the one day, during a cold snap, and they haven’t been back since. I’m hoping they’re secretly still around, but I have a feeling they prefer a more wooded environment than the other species and they were only here for a visit.
The other excitement on the feeder ar the Evening grossbeak. These dark birds have areas of brilliant yellow and a clean white patch on their wings. They are gorgeous, and they are also a dominant species. They don’t play well with others. We also have them in great numbers. I first discovered the grossbeaks in late Fall last year, and there were only one or two of them. Then they brought the crowd. Today, we had at least 30 of them eating the food, and when they’re on the feeder, no other birds are around. So they’re not the nicest of birds, but it is nice to have something colorful to look at, especially since we don’t have Cardinals out here.