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Feb 8, 2010

No Redpolls or Siskins this winter

I've had as many as 100 American Goldfinches at the feeders in the backyard this winter, but unlike last year, not one Redpoll or Pine Siskin. The picture above, of goldfinches, was taken about two months ago when we had lots of snow. Now, in early February, the snow is almost all gone and only about 25 to 35 goldfinches show up each day. The others are probably finding lots of natural seed that was previously under the snow. Last winter, at this time of year, I had about 50 Redpolls and 50 Pine Siskens that were at the feeders - this year, none. That's the way it goes. It's usually all about food supply. I suspect the seed and berry crops, up north, this past year, were plentiful and the many northern birds, including Crossbills and Grosbeaks, have not had to forage south. I have not seen a Sharp-shinned or Cooper's Hawk in my backyard this winter also, for which the smaller birds are grateful. Those hawks have to eat also, and they are handsome birds. The picture below, taken by friend, Geoff Simpson, shows a Cooper's Hawk flying off with a Mourning Dove in its talons. See another picture of this raptor and its prey, in my 4th blog previous to this one.

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